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Future Designations

The following policies apply to potential designations.

  1. NOAA is committed to completion of a system of reserves representing the diverse biogeographic and typological character of the estuaries of the United States and estuarine-like systems of the Great Lakes, consistent with available resources.

  2. The first priority for use of NOAA funding is to support the operation of designated reserves, system-wide projects benefiting designated reserves, and development of reserves in states that currently have a formal commitment from NOAA to proceed with the designation process.

  3. Additional reserves (beyond the existing 30 designated and two proposed reserves) will be considered by NOAA only when (a) sufficient funds are available to provide reserves continuing operations support after designation and (b) sufficient federal staff and resources are available to adequately support new designation and operation activities.

  4. Priorities for accepting new nominations are as follows:

    • First priority will be given to nominations that incorporate both a biogeographic subregion and an estuary type not represented by existing or developing reserves (see NOAA regulations at 15 CFR.921).

    • Second priority may be given to nominations that incorporate either a biogeographic subregion or an estuary type not represented by existing or developing reserves.

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