Marine Environment and Resources Protection Programs with Their Missions

Federal Agency (U.S.)

Missions related to ecosystems

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)

Understand and predict changes in the Earth’s environment and conserve and manage coastal and marine resources to meet our nation’s economic, social and environmental needs

NOAA Fisheries Northeast Fisheries Science Center

Understand and predict changes to marine ecosystems and their subsystems affecting living marine resources, fisheries, habitats, ecosystem condition, productivity, aquaculture, and the generation of net National benefits.

NOAA National Centers for Coastal Ocean Science

Conduct and support research, monitoring, assessments, and technical assistance to meet NOAA’s coastal stewardship and management responsibilities

NOAA Office of Ocean and Coastal Resource Management (OCRM)

Provide national leadership, strategic direction, and guidance to state and territory coastal programs and estuarine research reserves

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers,

Water Resources

Support navigation by maintaining and improving channels; search for the most economical, environmentally sound and socially acceptable solutions to shore protection

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Environment

Restore ecosystems to re-establish the attributes of a natural, functioning and self- regulating system

U.S. Coast Guard

Contribute to the national well-being by shielding our ecologically rich and sensitive marine environment

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency

Strengthen its scientific basis to adequately assess and compare risks to ecosystems, to protect and restore them, and to track progress in terms of ecological outcomes

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency,

New England Regional Laboratory

Monitor and analyze the health of the New England environment and its impacts on residents

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Atlantic Ecology Division Laboratory

Develop and evaluate theory, methods, and data to improve understanding and quantify the environmental effects of anthropogenic stressors on the coastal waters and watershed of the Atlantic seaboard

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service,

Coastal Program

Identify the most important natural resource problems and solutions; influence the planning and decision-making processes of other agencies and organizations with the Service's living resource capabilities; implement solutions on-the-ground in partnership with others; and instill a stewardship ethic, and catalyze the public to help solve problems, change behaviors, and promote ecologically sound decisions

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service,


Manage over 270 National Wildlife Refuge Fishing Programs that include everything from saltwater fishing to using ice tip ups on high elevation lakes

U.S. Geological Survey USGS Science Center for Coastal and Marine Geology Located in Woods Hole, MA

Explore and study many aspects of the underwater areas between shorelines and the deep ocean, off the U.S. East Coast, the Gulf of Mexico, and in parts of the Caribbean and Great Lakes


NOAA Marine Sanctuary

Missions related to ecosystems

Stellwagen Bank National Marine Sanctuary

Enhance resource protection through comprehensive and coordinated conservation and management tailored to specific resources that complements existing regulatory authorities; support, promote, and coordinate scientific research on, and monitoring of, the site-specific marine resources to improve management decision-making in national marine sanctuaries; enhance public awareness, understanding, and wise use of the marine environment through public interpretive, educational, and recreational programs; and facilitate, to the extent compatible with the primary objective of resource protection, multiple uses of national marine sanctuaries


Federal Agency (Canada)

Missions related to ecosystems

Environment Canada

Ensure clean air, clean water; document impacts of climate change; protect endangered species, nature, and wildlife; conduct environmental assessment; and respond to emergencies

Fisheries and Oceans Canada

Protect and conserve fish and fish habitat and the sustainable use of fish and other living aquatic resources; conserve marine ecosystems; conduct research on safe and efficient navigation, role of the oceans in climate change, the impacts of climate change, and
oceanographic studies


State Agency (U.S.)

Missions related to ecosystems

Connecticut Department of Environmental Protection, Bureau of Water Management

Conserve, protect, and improve the natural resources and environment of the State

Connecticut Coastal Management Program

Preserves and protects Connecticut’s coast with programs that regulate coastal construction, advise municipal land-use commissions, and provide funding, technical and planning assistance.

Maine Department of Marine Resource

Set marine policy, manage marine resources, develop sustainable marine resources, and protect marine environment

Maine Department of Marine Resource, Bureau of Resource Management

Conduct assessment and statistics, biological monitoring, ecology, marine education, public health and stock enhancement

Maine Coastal Program

Undertake or support projects that promote sustainable economic development, encourage environmental stewardship and education, conserve and manage marine fisheries, reduce coastal hazards, and improve public access.

Massachusetts Division of Marine Fisheries

Manage the Commonwealth's living marine resources and the harvesting of those resources by the commercial and recreational fisheries, while maintaining a diverse number of self-sustaining fish populations at healthy levels of abundance in balance with the ecosystem

Massachusetts Water Resources Authority

Environmental Quality Division

Monitor and report on the water quality impacts of the Massachusetts Water Resources Authority (MWRA) sewer system that discharges unto Massachusetts Bay

Massachusetts Office of Coastal Zone Management (CZM)

Balance the impacts of human activity with the protection of coastal and marine resources

New Hampshire Fish and Game Department

Conserve, manage and protect fish resources and their habitats

New Hampshire Coastal Program

Balance the preservation of coastal resources with the social and economic needs of this and succeeding generations

New York State Department of Environmental Conservation

Division of Water

Protect and conserve the water resources of New York State

New York Coastal Resources

Work with communities throughout New York State to help them make the most of what their waterfronts have to offer

Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management (DEM)

Preserve the quality of Rhode Island's environment, maintain the health and safety of its residents, and protect the natural systems upon which life depends

Rhode Island Coastal Resources Management Council

Preserve and protect coastal resources, and develop the restoration of the coastal areas of the state via the issuance of permits for work within the coastal zone of the state


Provincial Agency (Canada)

Missions related to ecosystems

New Brunswick Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Aquaculture

Support for New Brunswick aquaculture and testing for fish health (and some marine related activities)

Nova Scotia Agriculture and Fisheries

Foster prosperous and sustainable agriculture and fisheries of all Nava Scotian


Research Funding Agency

Missions related to ecosystems

National Science Foundation

Fund research and education in most fields in science and engineering

Northeast Consortium

Encourage and fund cooperative research and monitoring projects in the Gulf of Maine and Georges Bank that have effective, equal partnerships among fishermen, scientists, educators, and marine resource managers

The Cooperative Institute for Coastal and Estuarine Environmental Technology (a partnership between NOAA, UNH)

Support scientific development of innovative technologies for understanding and revising the import of coastal and estuarine contamination and degradation


Research Center

Missions related to ecosystems

Center for Coastal and Ocean Mapping

Develop and evaluate a wide range of hydrographic and ocean mapping technologies and applications

Coastal Ocean Observing and Analysis

Develop and implement new methodologies for coastal ocean observing across the spectrum from data acquisition, analysis, integration and synthesis


International Research Program

Missions related to ecosystems

Census of Marine Life

Gulf of Maine Project

Assess and explain the diversity, distribution, and abundance of marine life in the oceans – past, present, and future

Commission for Environmental Cooperation

Address regional environmental concerns in North America, prevent potential trade and environmental conflicts, and promote the effective enforcement of environmental law, all as part of its mandate under the North American Agreement on Environmental Cooperation (NAAEC)

Millennium Ecosystem Assessment

Provide scientific information concerning the consequences of ecosystem change for human well-being and options for responding to those changes to meet the needs of decision-makers and the public


Federal Research Program

Missions related to ecosystems

Commission on Ocean Policy

Submit recommendations for a coordinated and comprehensive national ocean policy to the President and Congress. The Commission's final report, "An Ocean Blueprint for the 21st Century," contains 212 recommendations addressing all aspects of ocean and coastal policy.

National Ecological Observatory Network

Enable the integration of research and education from natural to human systems, and from genomes to the biosphere; plan and design and participate as observatory users; enable studies on major environmental challenges at regional to continental scales through a continental scale research instrument consisting of geographically distributed infrastructure, networked via state-of-the-art communications


National Estuary Program (NEP)

Missions related to ecosystems

Buzzard Bay Project

Protect and restore water quality and living resources in Buzzards Bay and its surrounding watershed through the implementation of the Buzzards Bay Comprehensive Conservation and Management Plan.

Casco Bay Estuary Partnership

Provide scientific basis for implementing a management plan to protect the waters and ecological integrity of Casco Bay and its watershed

Hudson River Estuary Program

Protect, conserve, restore, and enhance the estuary; coordinate public input with the expertise of professionals throughout New York State's Department of Environmental Conservation and other agencies

Long Island Sound

Protect and improve the health of the Sound by implementing the Sound’s Comprehensive Conservation and Management Plan completed in 1994

Massachusetts Bays Program

Provide scientific basis for implementing a management plan to protect the waters and ecological integrity of Massachusetts Bay and its watershed

Narragansett Bay Program

Protect and preserve Narragansett Bay through partnerships that conserve and restore natural resources, enhance water quality and promote community involvement

New Hampshire /Great Bay Program

Protect areas established for long-term research, education and stewardship; partnership program between NOAA and the coastal states protects more than one million acres of estuarine land and water which provides essential habitat for wildlife; offer educational opportunities for students, teachers and the public; and serve as living laboratories for scientists

New York/ New Jersey Estuary Program

Develop and implement a plan to protect, conserve, and restore the estuary

Peconic Estuary Program

Develop and implement a watershed-based comprehensive management plan


National Estuarine Research Reserve

Missions related to ecosystems

Great Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve (NERRS)

Promote the wise use and management of the Great Bay Estuary

South Shore Estuary Reserve

Oversee preparation of a Comprehensive Management Plan (CMP) for the Reserve for the purpose of establishing a consensus-based blueprint for the protection and restoration of the estuary's natural, cultural and economic-related resources.

Wells National Estuarine Research Reserve

Understand the processes and functions of estuarine habitats in order to support sustainable management and restoration


Regional Science Program

Missions related to ecosystems

Gulf of Maine Mapping Initiative

Conduct comprehensive seafloor imaging, mapping, and biological and geological surveys through a U.S.-Canadian partnership of government and non-government organizations

Gulf of Maine Ocean Data Partnership

Promote and coordinate the sharing, linking, electronic dissemination, and use of data on the Gulf of Maine region

Gulf of Maine Ocean Observing System

Bring hourly oceanographic data from the Gulf of Maine to all those who need it

New England Fisheries Management Council

Address heavy foreign fishing, promote the development of a domestic fleet and link the fishing community more directly to the management process.

Northeast Observing System

Establish a network of integrated ocean observing systems that provides the northeast region with a sampling and sensing capability to meet the needs of coastal ocean users and managers

U.S. GLOBEC Georges Bank Program

Understand the population dynamics of key species on the Bank to be able to predict changes in the distribution and abundance of these species as a result of changes in their environment in respond to climate change

The Ecology and Oceanography of Harmful Algal Blooms (ECOHAB)

Utilize a combination of numerical modeling, hydrographic, chemical, and biological measurements, moored and drifting current measurements, and satellite imagery; characterize the structure, variability and autecology of the major Alexandrium habitats in the Gulf of Maine


Sea Grant Program

Missions related to ecosystems

Connecticut Sea Grant (CTSG)

Collaborate with maritime industries and coastal communities to identify needs, and fund research, outreach, and educational activities that have special relevance to Connecticut and Long Island Sound

Maine Sea Grant

Collaborate with communities to address problems and respond to opportunities in three major areas: ecosystem health, aquaculture, and fisheries

MIT Sea Grant College Program

Promote a sustainable environment and economy and a fuller understanding these critical issues through research, education, and outreach

New Hampshire Sea Grant College Program

Focus on marine economic development and coastal ecosystem health and safety

New York Sea Grant

Focus the talents of university scientists and extension specialists on research and the transfer of science-based information to a great variety of coastal user groups, which include businesses and industries, federal, state and local government decision-makers and agency managers, the media and the interested public

Rhode Island Sea Grant College Program

Offer research, education, outreach, legal, and communications programs that address two core themes—Sustainable Coastal Communities & Ecosystems and Sustainable Fisheries

WHOI Sea Grant Program

Supports research, education, and extension projects that encourage environmental stewardship, long-term economic development, and responsible use of the nation’s coastal and ocean resources


Non-government Organization (NGO)

Missions related to ecosystems

Conservation Law Foundation

Protect New England's people, natural resources and communities as a leading environmental advocacy organization. Program areas include: Clean Energy & Climate Change, Clean Water & Healthy Forests, Healthy Oceans and Smart Growth

Gulf of Maine Council on the Marine Environment

Provide grants to support a strategic approach to marine, coastal, and riverine habitat restoration in Maine, Massachusetts, and New Hampshire, in partnership with the NOAA Community-based Restoration Program

Gulf of Maine Research Institute

Educate Maine residents and visitors about Maine's fresh and saltwater resources, convene the interested public to discuss, debate and resolve aquatic resource conflicts, and conduct collaborative research to improve our understanding of the Gulf of Maine and its watershed

Maine Audubon

Conserve Maine’s wildlife and wildlife habitat by engaging people of all ages in education, conservation and action

Mass Audubon

Protects land/wildlife habitat, conducts nature education

New England Aquarium

Address aquatic conservation problems, locally and globally by creating and linking community efforts with research, policy, and public awareness

Mystic Aquarium & Institute for Exploration

Provide a diverse range of age-specific educational programs and engaging tours

Ocean Conservancy

Promote healthy and diverse ocean ecosystems; oppose practices that threaten ocean life and human life through research, education, and science-based advocacy; inform, inspire, and empower people to speak and act on behalf of the oceans

Regional Association for Research in the Gulf of Maine

Advocate and facilitate a coherent program of regional research to promote science quality and to provide a communication vehicle among scientists and the public

The Nature Conservancy in Maine

Preserve the plants and natural communities that represent the diversity of life on earth by protecting the lands and waters they need to survive

Union of Concerned Scientists

Combine independent scientific research and citizen action to develop innovative, practical solutions, and to secure responsible changes in government policy and corporate practices and consumer choices