CCMP cover photo: “Unplanned Deviation,” used with permission of Greg Molyneux Photography.

2021 Comprehensive Conservation and Management Plan for the Barnegat Bay – Little Egg Harbor Estuary

The BBP has revised its long-term plan for protecting and restoring clean water and healthy living resources in the bay and its watershed. The 2021 Comprehensive Conservation and Management Plan for the Barnegat Bay – Little Egg Harbor Estuary is a roadmap for the agencies, organizations, and local communities working collectively to improve the condition of this nationally significant estuary.

Over the last 50 years, the watershed has experienced a tremendous increase in population and development, leading to increased pollution loads, stressed water supplies, and loss of fish and wildlife habitat. These changes in the bay’s condition have environmental, cultural, and economic impacts to local communities and the entire region.

The 2021 CCMP replaces the original plan, which has guided the actions of the BBP and its partners since 2002. The revised plan reflects an increase in scientific knowledge about the Barnegat Bay and addresses new challenges, such as climate change and sea level rise. It reviews the progress made over the past 19 years, reassesses priorities, and focuses the collective efforts of BBP partners over the next 10 years or more.

The 2021 CCMP establishes four main priority areas for action: water quality, water supply, living resources, and land use. For each priority, the plan specifies one or more goals, several objectives, and multiple actions to achieve those objectives. It also sets eight ecosystem targets – specific environmental outcomes which combine actions across multiple priorities and can be monitored to measure progress (e.g., increasing the acreage of key habitats, such as submerged aquatic vegetation, and increasing the number of hard clams in Little Egg Harbor).

Climate change and sea level rise are already impacting the bay and its watershed. The CCMP identifies the actions in the plan that are most vulnerable to climate change risks and the strategies for minimizing the impacts. Another important component of the CCMP is education and community participation in stewardship actions, which are critical to the plan’s success. 

Download the BBP’s summary brochure about the 2021 CCMP to get a brief overview of the plan.

George Murnyak, BBP Citizen Representative, speaks at the CCMP Signing Ceremony.

CCMP Signing Ceremony Event

On October 26th, the Barnegat Bay Partnership hosted a CCMP signing ceremony at the new Conference Center on the campus of Ocean County College. It was a hybrid event with both in person and virtual attendees. During the ceremony, BBP partners re-affirmed their commitment to implementing the actions and achieving the goals of the revised plan. The event included presentations by partners about the plan’s four priorities and remarks by members of the BBP’s Policy Committee.

View a recording of the signing ceremony event (use this password to view the recording: CCMP2021event).

View and/or download the PowerPoint presentations about the plan’s priorities:
Water Quality (Kimberly Cenno, NJ Department of Environmental Protection)
Water Supply (Rob Karl, Brick Township Municipal Utilities Authority)
Living Resources (Dr. Elizabeth Lacey, Stockton University)
Land Use (Mark Villinger, Ocean County Department of Planning)

Development of the CCMP

Estuaries are natural resources increasingly threatened by pollution, habitat loss, development, and resource conflicts. Congress established the National Estuary Program (NEP) in 1987 to pioneer a broad and innovative approach to respond to these threats. Each program convenes a Management Conference to provide a forum for consensus building and problem solving among interested agencies and user groups. The Management Conference identifies the estuary’s environmental problems, evaluates the existing management framework, and recommends priority corrective actions. The goal of the conference is to develop a Comprehensive Conservation and Management Plan (CCMP) for the estuary.

Using this consensus-building approach, the BBP partners reviewed and revised the original 2002 CCMP to reflect the changes in the Barnegat Bay’s condition and emerging threats, such as climate change and sea level rise. The BBP welcomed input from user groups, stakeholders, and the public throughout the CCMP revision process.

2002 CCMP

Below are links to the original CCMP for the Barnegat Bay – Little Egg Harbor estuary. The 2002 plan has been replaced by the 2021 CCMP.