The process for federal designation of a National Estuarine Research Reserve has many steps and involves many individuals and organizations. Reserves are based on partnerships, with NOAA serving as the lead federal partner. Other partners include state agencies, non-profit groups, universities and members of the local community. It takes the support from all partners to designate and operate a reserve.
Each reserve is managed locally, and that is where the designation process begins. The state must take the first step in seeking federal designation as a National Estuarine Research Reserve. NOAA works with the state at each step along the way.
NOTE: This is an overview of the designation process. Situations may vary within a state or NOAA, resulting in slight modifications to some of the designation steps. More detailed information on the designation process is available from NOAA and in the reserve regulations. Prior to undertaking any step, please contact NOAA staff to discuss logistics and timelines.