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Electronic Code of Federal Regulations

e-CFR Data is current as of October 30, 2014

Title 15Subtitle BChapter IXSubchapter B → Part 921


Title 15: Commerce and Foreign Trade


PART 921—NATIONAL ESTUARINE RESEARCH RESERVE SYSTEM REGULATIONS


Contents

Subpart A—General

§921.1   Mission, goals and general provisions.
§921.2   Definitions.
§921.3   National Estuarine Research Reserve System biogeographic classification scheme and estuarine typologies.
§921.4   Relationship to other provisions of the Coastal Zone Management Act, and to the Marine Protection, Research and Sanctuaries Act.

Subpart B—Site Selection, Post Site Selection and Management Plan Development

§921.10   General.
§921.11   Site selection and feasibility.
§921.12   Post site selection.
§921.13   Management plan and environmental impact statement development.

Subpart C—Acquisition, Development and Preparation of the Final Management Plan

§921.20   General.
§921.21   Initial acquisition and development awards.

Subpart D—Reserve Designation and Subsequent Operation

§921.30   Designation of National Estuarine Research Reserves.
§921.31   Supplemental acquisition and development awards.
§921.32   Operation and management: Implementation of the management plan.
§921.33   Boundary changes, amendments to the management plan, and addition of multiple-site components.

Subpart E—Ongoing Oversight, Performance Evaluation and Withdrawal of Designation

§921.40   Ongoing oversight and evaluations of designated National Estuarine Research Reserves.
§921.41   Withdrawal of designation.

Subpart F—Special Research Projects

§921.50   General.
§921.51   Estuarine research guidelines.
§921.52   Promotion and coordination of estuarine research.

Subpart G—Special Monitoring Projects

§921.60   General.

Subpart H—Special Interpretation and Education Projects

§921.70   General.

Subpart I—General Financial Assistance Provisions

§921.80   Application information.
§921.81   Allowable costs.
§921.82   Amendments to financial assistance awards.
Appendix I to Part 921—Biogeographic Classification Scheme
Appendix II to Part 921—Typology of National Estuarine Research Reserves

Authority: Section 315 of the Coastal Zone Management Act, as amended (16 U.S.C. 1461).

Source: 58 FR 38215, July 15, 1993, unless otherwise noted.

Subpart A—General

§921.1   Mission, goals and general provisions.

(a) The mission of the National Estuarine Research Reserve Program is the establishment and management, through Federal-state cooperation, of a national system (National Estuarine Research Reserve System or System) of estuarine research reserves (National Estuarine Research Reserves or Reserves) representative of the various regions and estuarine types in the United States. National Estuarine Research Reserves are established to provide opportunities for long-term research, education, and interpretation.

(b) The goals of the Program are to:

(1) Ensure a stable environment for research through long-term protection of National Estuarine Research Reserve resources;

(2) Address coastal management issues identified as significant through coordinated estuarine research within the System;

(3) Enhance public awareness and understanding of estuarine areas and provide suitable opportunities for public education and interpretation;

(4) Promote Federal, state, public and private use of one or more Reserves within the System when such entities conduct estuarine research; and

(5) Conduct and coordinate estuarine research within the System, gathering and making available information necessary for improved understanding and management of estuarine areas.

(c) National Estuarine Research Reserves shall be open to the public to the extent permitted under state and Federal law. Multiple uses are allowed to the degree compatible with each Reserve's overall purpose as provided in the management plan (see §921.13) and consistent with paragraphs (a) and (b) of this section. Use levels are set by the state where the Reserve is located and analyzed in the management plan. The Reserve management plan shall describe the uses and establish priorities among these uses. The plan shall identify uses requiring a state permit, as well as areas where uses are encouraged or prohibited. Consistent with resource protection and research objectives, public access and use may be restricted to certain areas or components within a Reserve.

(d) Habitat manipulation for research purposes is allowed consistent with the following limitations. Manipulative research activities must be specified in the management plan, be consistent with the mission and goals of the program (see paragraphs (a) and (b) of this section) and the goals and objectives set forth in the Reserve's management plan, and be limited in nature and extent to the minimum manipulative activity necessary to accomplish the stated research objective. Manipulative research activities with a significant or long-term impact on Reserve resources require the prior approval of the state and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). Manipulative research activities which can reasonably be expected to have a significant adverse impact on the estuarine resources and habitat of a Reserve, such that the activities themselves or their resulting short- and long-term consequences compromise the representative character and integrity of a Reserve, are prohibited. Habitat manipulation for resource management purposes is prohibited except as specifically approved by NOAA as: (1) A restoration activity consistent with paragraph (e) of this section; or (2) an activity necessary for the protection of public health or the preservation of other sensitive resources which have been listed or are eligible for protection under relevant Federal or state authority (e.g., threatened/endangered species or significant historical or cultural resources) or if the manipulative activity is a long-term pre-existing use (i.e., has occurred prior to designation) occurring in a buffer area. If habitat manipulation is determined to be necessary for the protection of public health, the preservation of sensitive resources, or if the manipulation is a long-term pre-existing use in a buffer area, then these activities shall be specified in the Reserve management plan in accordance with §921.13(a)(10) and shall be limited to the reasonable alternative which has the least adverse and shortest term impact on the representative and ecological integrity of the Reserve.

(e) Under the Act an area may be designated as an estuarine Reserve only if the area is a representative estuarine ecosystem that is suitable for long-term research. Many estuarine areas have undergone some ecological change as a result of human activities (e.g., hydrological changes, intentional/unintentional species composition changes—introduced and exotic species). In those areas proposed or designated as National Estuarine Research Reserves, such changes may have diminished the representative character and integrity of the site. Although restoration of degraded areas is not a primary purpose of the System, such activities may be permitted to improve the representative character and integrity of a Reserve. Restoration activities must be carefully planned and approved by NOAA through the Reserve management plan. Historical research may be necessary to determine the “natural” representative state of an estuarine area (i.e., an estuarine ecosystem minimally affected by human activity or influence). Frequently, restoration of a degraded estuarine area will provide an excellent opportunity for management oriented research.

(f) NOAA may provide financial assistance to coastal states, not to exceed, per Reserve, 50 percent of all actual costs or $5 million whichever amount is less, to assist in the acquisition of land and waters, or interests therein. NOAA may provide financial assistance to coastal states not to exceed 70 percent of all actual costs for the management and operation of, the development and construction of facilities, and the conduct of educational or interpretive activities concerning Reserves (see subpart I). NOAA may provide financial assistance to any coastal state or public or private person, not to exceed 70 percent of all actual costs, to support research and monitoring within a Reserve. Notwithstanding any financial assistance limits established by this Part, when financial assistance is provided from amounts recovered as a result of damage to natural resources located in the coastal zone, such assistance may be used to pay 100 percent of all actual costs of activities carrier out with this assistance, as long as such funds are available. Predesignation, acquisition and development, operation and management, special research and monitoring, and special education and interpretation awards are available under the National Estuarine Reserve Program. Predesignation awards are for site selection/feasibility, draft management plan preparation and conduct of basic characterization studies. Acquisition and development awards are intended primarily for acquisition of interests in land, facility construction and to develop and/or upgrade research, monitoring and education programs. Operation and management awards provide funds to assist in implementing, operating and managing the administrative, and basic research, monitoring and education programs, outlined in the Reserve management plan. Special research and monitoring awards provide funds to conduct estuarine research and monitoring projects with the System. Special educational and interpretive awards provide funds to conduct estuarine educational and interpretive projects within the System.

(g) Lands already in protected status managed by other Federal agencies, state or local governments, or private organizations may be included within National Estuarine Research Reserves only if the managing entity commits to long-term management consistent with paragraphs (d) and (e) of this section in the Reserve management plan. Federal lands already in protected status may not comprise a majority of the key land and water areas of a Reserve (see §921.11(c)(3)).

(h) To assist the states in carrying out the Program's goals in an effective manner, NOAA will coordinate a research and education information exchange throughout the National Estuarine Research Reserve System. As part of this role, NOAA will ensure that information and ideas from one Reserve are made available to others in the System. The network will enable Reserves to exchange information and research data with each other, with universities engaged in estuarine research, and with Federal, state, and local agencies. NOAA's objective is a system-wide program of research and monitoring capable of addressing the management issues that affect long-term productivity of our Nation's estuaries.

[58 FR 38215, July 15, 1993, as amended at 62 FR 12540, Mar. 17, 1997; 63 FR 26717, May 14, 1998]

§921.2   Definitions.

(a) Act means the Coastal Zone Management Act of 1972, as amended, 16 U.S.C. 1451 et seq.

(b) Assistant Administrator means the Assistant Administrator for Ocean Services and Coastal Zone Management or delegee.

(c) Coastal state means a state of the United States, in or bordering on, the Atlantic, Pacific, or Arctic Ocean, the Gulf of Mexico, Long Island Sound, or one or more of the Great Lakes. For the purposes of these regulations the term also includes Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands, Guam, the Commonwealth of the Northern Marianas Islands, the Trust Territories of the Pacific Islands, and American Samoa (see 16 U.S.C. 1453(4)).

(d) State agency means an instrumentality of a coastal state to whom the coastal state has delegated the authority and responsibility for the creation and/or management/operation of a National Estuarine Research Reserve. Factors indicative of this authority may include the power to receive and expend funds on behalf of the Reserve, acquire and sell or convey real and personal property interests, adopt rules for the protection of the Reserve, enforce rules applicable to the Reserve, or develop and implement research and education programs for the reserve. For the purposes of these regulations, the terms “coastal state” and “State agency” shall be synonymous.

(e) Estuary means that part of a river or stream or other body of water having unimpaired connection with the open sea, where the sea water is measurably diluted with fresh water derived from land drainage. The term also includes estuary-type areas with measurable freshwater influence and having unimpaired connections with the open sea, and estuary-type areas of the Great Lakes and their connecting waters (see 16 U.S.C. 1453(7)).

(f) National Estuarine Research Reserve means an area that is a representative estuarine ecosystem suitable for long-term research, which may include all of the key land and water portion of an estuary, and adjacent transitional areas and uplands constituting to the extent feasible a natural unit, and which is set aside as a natural field laboratory to provide long-term opportunities for research, education, and interpretation on the ecological relationships within the area (see 16 U.S.C. 1453(8)) and meets the requirements of 16 U.S.C. 1461(b). This includes those areas designated as National Estuarine Sanctuaries or Reserves under section 315 of the Act prior to enactment of the Coastal Zone Act Reauthorization Amendments of 1990 and each area subsequently designated as a National Estuarine Research Reserve.

§921.3   National Estuarine Research Reserve System biogeographic classification scheme and estuarine typologies.

(a) National Estuarine Research Reserves are chosen to reflect regional differences and to include a variety of ecosystem types. A biogeographic classification scheme based on regional variations in the nation's coastal zone has been developed. The biogeographic classification scheme is used to ensure that the National Estuarine Research Reserve System includes at least one site from each region. The estuarine typology system is utilized to ensure that sites in the System reflect the wide range of estuarine types within the United States.

(b) The biogeographic classification scheme, presented in appendix I, contains 29 regions. Figure 1 graphically depicts the biogeographic regions of the United States.

(c) The typology system is presented in appendix II.

§921.4   Relationship to other provisions of the Coastal Zone Management Act, and to the Marine Protection, Research and Sanctuaries Act.

(a) The National Estuarine Research Reserve System is intended to provide information to state agencies and other entities involved in addressing coastal management issues. Any coastal state, including those that do not have approved coastal management programs under section 306 of the Act, is eligible for an award under the National Estuarine Research Reserve Program (see §921.2(c)).

(b) For purposes of consistency review by states with a federally approved coastal management program, the designation of a National Estuarine Research Reserve is deemed to be a Federal activity, which, if directly affecting the state's coastal zone, must be undertaken in a manner consistent to the maximum extent practicable with the approved state coastal management program as provided by section 1456(c)(1) of the Act, and implementing regulations at 15 CFR part 930, subpart C. In accordance with section 1456(c)(1) of the Act and the applicable regulations NOAA will be responsible for certifying that designation of the Reserve is consistent with the state's approved coastal management program. The state must concur with or object to the certification. It is recommended that the lead state agency for Reserve designation consult, at the earliest practicable time, with the appropriate state officials concerning the consistency of a proposed National Estuarine Research Reserve.

(c) The National Estuarine Research Reserve Program will be administered in close coordination with the National Marine Sanctuary Program (Title III of the Marine Protection, Research and Sanctuaries Act, as amended, 16 U.S.C. 1431-1445), also administered by NOAA. Title III authorizes the Secretary of Commerce to designate discrete areas of the marine environment as National Marine Sanctuaries to protect or restore such areas for their conservation, recreational, ecological, historical, research, educational or esthetic values. National Marine Sanctuaries and Estuarine Research Reserves may not overlap, but may be adjacent.

Subpart B—Site Selection, Post Site Selection and Management Plan Development

§921.10   General.

(a) A coastal state may apply for Federal financial assistance for the purpose of site selection, preparation of documents specified in §921.13 (draft management plan (DMP) and environmental impact statement (EIS)), and the conduct of limited basic characterization studies. The total Federal share of this assistance may not exceed $100,000. Federal financial assistance for preacquisition activities under §921.11 and §921.12 is subject to the total $5 million for which each Reserve is eligible for land acquisition. Notwithstanding the above, when financial assistance is provided from amounts recovered as a result of damage to natural resources located in the coastal zone, such assistance may be used to pay 100 percent of all actual costs of activities carried out with this assistance, as long as such funds are available. In the case of a biogeographic region (see appendix I) shared by two or more coastal states, each state is eligible for Federal financial assistance to establish a separate National Estuarine Research Reserve within their respective portion of the shared biogeographic region. Each separate National Estuarine Research Reserve is eligible for the full complement of funding. Financial assistance application procedures are specified in subpart I.

(b) In developing a Reserve program, a state may choose to develop a multiple-site Reserve reflecting a diversity of habitats in a single biogeographic region. A multiple-site Reserve allows the state to develop complementary research and educational programs within the individual components of its multi-site Reserve. Multiple-site Reserves are treated as one Reserve in terms of financial assistance and development of an overall management framework and plan. Each individual site of a proposed multiple-site Reserve shall be evaluated both separately under §921.11(c) and collectively as part of the site selection process. A coastal state may propose to establish a multiple-site Reserve at the time of the initial site selection, or at any point in the development or operation of the Reserve. If the state decides to develop a multiple-site National Estuarine Research Reserve after the initial acquisition and development award is made for a single site, the proposal is subject to the requirements set forth in §921.33(b). However, a state may not propose to add one or more sites to an already designated Reserve if the operation and management of such Reserve has been found deficient and uncorrected or the research conducted is not consistent with the Estuarine Research Guidelines referenced in §921.51. In addition, Federal funds for the acquisition of a multiple-site Reserve remain limited to $5,000,000 (see §921.20). The funding for operation of a multiple-site Reserve is limited to the maximum allowed for any one Reserve per year (see §921.32(c)) and preacquisition funds are limited to $100,000 per Reserve. Notwithstanding the above, when financial assistance is provided from amounts recovered as a result of damage to natural resources located in the coastal zone, such assistance may be used to pay 100 percent of all actual costs of activities carrier out with this assistance, as long as such funds are available.

[58 FR 38215, July 15, 1993, as amended at 63 FR 26717, May 14, 1998]

§921.11   Site selection and feasibility.

(a) A coastal state may use Federal funds to establish and implement a site selection process which is approved by NOAA.

(b) In addition to the requirements set forth in subpart I, a request for Federal funds for site selection must contain the following programmatic information:

(1) A description of the proposed site selection process and how it will be implemented in conformance with the biogeographic classification scheme and typology (§921.3);

(2) An identification of the site selection agency and the potential management agency; and

(3) A description of how public participation will be incorporated into the process (see §921.11(d)).

(c) As part of the site selection process, the state and NOAA shall evaluate and select the final site(s). NOAA has final authority in approving such sites. Site selection shall be guided by the following principles:

(1) The site's contribution to the biogeographical and typological balance of the National Estuarine Research Reserve System. NOAA will give priority consideration to proposals to establish Reserves in biogeographic regions or subregions or incorporating types that are not represented in the system. (see the biogeographic classification scheme and typology set forth in §921.3 and appendices I and II);

(2) The site's ecological characteristics, including its biological productivity, diversity of flora and fauna, and capacity to attract a broad range of research and educational interests. The proposed site must be a representative estuarine ecosystem and should, to the maximum extent possible, be an estuarine ecosystem minimally affected by human activity or influence (see §921.1(e)).

(3) Assurance that the site's boundaries encompass an adequate portion of the key land and water areas of the natural system to approximate an ecological unit and to ensure effective conservation. Boundary size will vary greatly depending on the nature of the ecosystem. Reserve boundaries must encompass the area within which adequate control has or will be established by the managing entity over human activities occurring within the Reserve. Generally, Reserve boundaries will encompass two areas: Key land and water areas (or “core area”) and a buffer zone. Key land and water areas and a buffer zone will likely require significantly different levels of control (see §921.13(a)(7)). The term “key land and water areas” refers to that core area within the Reserve that is so vital to the functioning of the estuarine ecosystem that it must be under a level of control sufficient to ensure the long-term viability of the Reserve for research on natural processes. Key land and water areas, which comprise the core area, are those ecological units of a natural estuarine system which preserve, for research purposes, a full range of significant physical, chemical and biological factors contributing to the diversity of fauna, flora and natural processes occurring within the estuary. The determination of which land and water areas are “key” to a particular Reserve must be based on specific scientific knowledge of the area. A basic principle to follow when deciding upon key land and water areas is that they should encompass resources representative of the total ecosystem, and which if compromised could endanger the research objectives of the Reserve. The term buffer zone refers to an area adjacent to or surrounding key land and water areas and essential to their integrity. Buffer zones protect the core area and provide additional protection for estuarine-dependent species, including those that are rare or endangered. When determined appropriate by the state and approved by NOAA, the buffer zone may also include an area necessary for facilities required for research and interpretation. Additionally, buffer zones should be established sufficient to accommodate a shift of the core area as a result of biological, ecological or geomorphological change which reasonably could be expected to occur. National Estuarine Research Reserves may include existing Federal or state lands already in a protected status where mutual benefit can be enhanced. However, NOAA will not approve a site for potential National Estuarine Research Reserve status that is dependent primarily upon the inclusion of currently protected Federal lands in order to meet the requirements for Reserve status (such as key land and water areas). Such lands generally will be included within a Reserve to serve as a buffer or for other ancillary purposes; and may be included, subject to NOAA approval, as a limited portion of the core area;

(4) The site's suitability for long-term estuarine research, including ecological factors and proximity to existing research facilities and educational institutions;

(5) The site's compatibility with existing and potential land and water uses in contiguous areas as well as approved coastal and estuarine management plans; and

(6) The site's importance to education and interpretive efforts, consistent with the need for continued protection of the natural system.

(d) Early in the site selection process the state must seek the views of affected landowners, local governments, other state and Federal agencies and other parties who are interested in the area(s) being considered for selection as a potential National Estuarine Research Reserve. After the local government(s) and affected landowner(s) have been contacted, at least one public meeting shall be held in the vicinity of the proposed site. Notice of such a meeting, including the time, place, and relevant subject matter, shall be announced by the state through the area's principal newspaper at least 15 days prior to the date of the meeting and by NOAA in the Federal Register.

(e) A state request for NOAA approval of a proposed site (or sites in the case of a multi-site Reserve) must contain a description of the proposed site(s) in relationship to each of the site selection principals (§921.11(c)) and the following information:

(1) An analysis of the proposed site(s) based on the biogeographical scheme/typology discussed in §921.3 and set forth in appendices I and II;

(2) A description of the proposed site(s) and its (their) major resources, including location, proposed boundaries, and adjacent land uses. Maps are required;

(3) A description of the public participation process used by the state to solicit the views of interested parties, a summary of comments, and, if interstate issues are involved, documentation that the Governor(s) of the other affected state(s) has been contacted. Copies of all correspondence, including contact letters to all affected landowners must be appended;

(4) A list of all sites considered and a brief statement of the reasons why a site was not preferred; and

(5) A nomination of the proposed site(s) for designation as a National Estuarine Research Reserve by the Governor of the coastal state in which the state is located.

(f) A state proposing to reactivate an inactive site, previously approved by NOAA for development as an Estuarine Sanctuary or Reserve, may apply for those funds remaining, if any, provided for site selection and feasibility (§921.11a)) to determine the feasibility of reactivation. This feasibility study must comply with the requirements set forth in §921.11 (c) through (e).

§921.12   Post site selection.

(a) At the time of the coastal state's request for NOAA approval of a proposed site, the state may submit a request for funds to develop the draft management plan and for preparation of the EIS. At this time, the state may also submit a request for the remainder of the predesignation funds to perform a limited basic characterization of the physical, chemical and biological characteristics of the site approved by NOAA necessary for providing EIS information to NOAA. The state's request for these post site selection funds must be accompanied by the information specified in subpart I and, for draft management plan development and EIS information collection, the following programmatic information:

(1) A draft management plan outline (see §921.13(a) below); and

(2) An outline of a draft memorandum of understanding (MOU) between the state and NOAA detailing the Federal-state role in Reserve management during the initial period of Federal funding and expressing the state's long-term commitment to operate and manage the Reserve.

(b) The state is eligible to use the funds referenced in §921.12(a) after the proposed site is approved by NOAA under the terms of §921.11.

§921.13   Management plan and environmental impact statement development.

(a) After NOAA approves the state's proposed site and application for funds submitted pursuant to §921.12, the state may begin draft management plan development and the collection of information necessary for the preparation by NOAA of an EIS. The state shall develop a draft management plan, including an MOU. The plan shall set out in detail:

(1) Reserve goals and objectives, management issues, and strategies or actions for meeting the goals and objectives;

(2) An administrative plan including staff roles in administration, research, education/interpretation, and surveillance and enforcement;

(3) A research plan, including a monitoring design;

(4) An education/interpretive plan;

(5) A plan for public access to the Reserve;

(6) A construction plan, including a proposed construction schedule, general descriptions of proposed developments and general cost estimates. Information should be provided for proposed minor construction projects in sufficient detail to allow these projects to begin in the initial phase of acquisition and development. A categorical exclusion, environmental assessment, or EIS may be required prior to construction;

(7)(i) An acquisition plan identifying the ecologically key land and water areas of the Reserve, ranking these areas according to their relative importance, and including a strategy for establishing adequate long-term state control over these areas sufficient to provide protection for Reserve resources to ensure a stable environment for research. This plan must include an identification of ownership within the proposed Reserve boundaries, including land already in the public domain; the method(s) of acquisition which the state proposes to use—acquisition (including less-than-fee simple options) to establish adequate long-term state control; an estimate of the fair market value of any property interest—which is proposed for acquisition; a schedule estimating the time required to complete the process of establishing adequate state control of the proposed research reserve; and a discussion of any anticipated problems. In selecting a preferred method(s) for establishing adequate state control over areas within the proposed boundaries of the Reserve, the state shall perform the following steps for each parcel determined to be part of the key land and water areas (control over which is necessary to protect the integrity of the Reserve for research purposes), and for those parcels required for research and interpretive support facilities or buffer purposes:

(A) Determine, with appropriate justification, the minimum level of control(s) required [e.g., management agreement, regulation, less-than-fee simple property interest (e.g., conservation easement), fee simple property acquisition, or a combination of these approaches]. This does not preclude the future necessity of increasing the level of state control;

(B) Identify the level of existing state control(s);

(C) Identify the level of additional state control(s), if any, necessary to meet the minimum requirements identified in paragraph (a)(7)(i)(A) of this section;

(D) Examine all reasonable alternatives for attaining the level of control identified in paragraph (a)(7)(i)(C) of this section, and perform a cost analysis of each; and

(E) Rank, in order of cost, the methods (including acquisition) identified in paragraph (a)(7)(i)(D) of this section.

(ii) An assessment of the relative cost-effectiveness of control alternatives shall include a reasonable estimate of both short-term costs (e.g., acquisition of property interests, regulatory program development including associated enforcement costs, negotiation, adjudication, etc.) and long-term costs (e.g., monitoring, enforcement, adjudication, management and coordination). In selecting a preferred method(s) for establishing adequate state control over each parcel examined under the process described above, the state shall give priority consideration to the least costly method(s) of attaining the minimum level of long-term control required. Generally, with the possible exception of buffer areas required for support facilities, the level of control(s) required for buffer areas will be considerably less than that required for key land and water areas. This acquisition plan, after receiving the approval of NOAA, shall serve as a guide for negotiations with landowners. A final boundary for the reserve shall be delineated as a part of the final management plan;

(8) A resource protection plan detailing applicable authorities, including allowable uses, uses requiring a permit and permit requirements, any restrictions on use of the research reserve, and a strategy for research reserve surveillance and enforcement of such use restrictions, including appropriate government enforcement agencies;

(9) If applicable, a restoration plan describing those portions of the site that may require habitat modification to restore natural conditions;

(10) If applicable, a resource manipulation plan, describing those portions of the Reserve buffer in which long-term pre-existing (prior to designation) manipulation for reasons not related to research or restoration is occurring. The plan shall explain in detail the nature of such activities, shall justify why such manipulation should be permitted to continue within the reserve buffer; and shall describe possible effects of this manipulation on key land and water areas and their resources;

(11) A proposed memorandum of understanding (MOU) between the state and NOAA regarding the Federal-state relationship during the establishment and development of the National Estuarine Research Reserve, and expressing a long-term commitment by the state to maintain and manage the Reserve in accordance with section 315 of the Act, 16 U.S.C. 1461, and applicable regulations. In conjunction with the MOU, and where possible under state law, the state will consider taking appropriate administrative or legislative action to ensure the long-term protection and operation of the National Estuarine Research Reserve. If other MOUs are necessary (such as with a Federal agency, another state agency or private organization), drafts of such MOUs must be included in the plan. All necessary MOU's shall be signed prior to Reserve designation; and

(12) If the state has a federally approved coastal management program, a certification that the National Estuarine Research Reserve is consistent to the maximum extent practicable with that program. See §§921.4(b) and 921.30(b).

(b) Regarding the preparation of an EIS under the National Environmental Policy Act on a National Estuarine Research Reserve proposal, the state and NOAA shall collect all necessary information concerning the socioeconomic and environmental impacts associated with implementing the draft management plan and feasible alternatives to the plan. Based on this information, the state will draft and provide NOAA with a preliminary EIS.

(c) Early in the development of the draft management plan and the draft EIS, the state and NOAA shall hold a scoping meeting (pursuant to NEPA) in the area or areas most affected to solicit public and government comments on the significant issues related to the proposed action. NOAA will publish a notice of the meeting in the Federal Register at least 15 days prior to the meeting. The state shall be responsible for publishing a similar notice in the local media.

(d) NOAA will publish a Federal Register notice of intent to prepare a draft EIS. After the draft EIS is prepared and filed with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), a Notice of Availability of the draft EIS will appear in the Federal Register. Not less than 30 days after publication of the notice, NOAA will hold at least one public hearing in the area or areas most affected by the proposed national estuarine research reserve. The hearing will be held no sooner than 15 days after appropriate notice of the meeting has been given in the principal news media by the state and in the Federal Register by NOAA. After a 45-day comment period, a final EIS will be prepared by the state and NOAA.

Subpart C—Acquisition, Development and Preparation of the Final Management Plan

§921.20   General.

The acquisition and development period is separated into two major phases. After NOAA approval of the site, draft management plan and draft MOU, and completion of the final EIS, a coastal state is eligible for an initial acquisition and development award(s). In this initial phase, the state should work to meet the criteria required for formal research reserve designation; e.g., establishing adequate state control over the key land and water areas as specified in the draft management plan and preparing the final management plan. These requirements are specified in §921.30. Minor construction in accordance with the draft management plan may also be conducted during this initial phase. The initial acquisition and development phase is expected to last no longer than three years. If necessary, a longer time period may be negotiated between the state and NOAA. After Reserve designation, a state is eligible for a supplemental acquisition and development award(s) in accordance with §921.31. In this post-designation acquisition and development phase, funds may be used in accordance with the final management plan to construct research and educational facilities, complete any remaining land acquisition, for program development, and for restorative activities identified in the final management plan. In any case, the amount of Federal financial assistance provided to a coastal state with respect to the acquisition of lands and waters, or interests therein, for any one National Estuarine Research Reserve may not exceed an amount equal to 50 percent of the costs of the lands, waters, and interests therein or $5,000,000, whichever amount is less, except when the financial assistance is provided from amounts recovered as a result of damage to natural resources located in the coastal zone, in which case the assistance may be used to pay 100 percent of all actual costs of activities carrier out with this assistance, as long as such funds are available.

[58 FR 38215, July 15, 1993, as amended at 62 FR 12540, Mar. 17, 1997; 63 FR 26717, May 14, 1998]

§921.21   Initial acquisition and development awards.

(a) Assistance is provided to aid the recipient prior to designation in:

(1) Acquiring a fee simple or less-than-fee simple real property interest in land and water areas to be included in the Reserve boundaries (see §921.13(a)(7); §921.30(d));

(2) Minor construction, as provided in paragraphs (b) and (c) of this section;

(3) Preparing the final management plan; and

(4) Initial management costs, e.g., for implementing the NOAA approved draft management plan, hiring a Reserve manager and other staff as necessary and for other management-related activities. Application procedures are specified in subpart I.

(b) The expenditure of Federal and state funds on major construction activities is not allowed during the initial acquisition and development phase. The preparation of architectural and engineering plans, including specifications, for any proposed construction, or for proposed restorative activities, is permitted. In addition, minor construction activities, consistent with paragraph (c) of this section also are allowed. The NOAA-approved draft management plan must, however, include a construction plan and a public access plan before any award funds can be spent on construction activities.

(c) Only minor construction activities that aid in implementing portions of the management plan (such as boat ramps and nature trails) are permitted during the initial acquisition and development phase. No more than five (5) percent of the initial acquisition and development award may be expended on such activities. NOAA must make a specific determination, based on the final EIS, that the construction activity will not be detrimental to the environment.

(d) Except as specifically provided in paragraphs (a) through (c) of this section, construction projects, to be funded in whole or in part under an acquisition and development award(s), may not be initiated until the Reserve receives formal designation (see §921.30). This requirement has been adopted to ensure that substantial progress in establishing adequate state control over key land and water areas has been made and that a final management plan is completed before major sums are spent on construction. Once substantial progress in establishing adequate state control/acquisition has been made, as defined by the state in the management plan, other activities guided by the final management plan may begin with NOAA's approval.

(e) For any real property acquired in whole or part with Federal funds for the Reserve, the state shall execute suitable title documents to include substantially the following provisions, or otherwise append the following provisions in a manner acceptable under applicable state law to the official land record(s):

(1) Title to the property conveyed by this deed shall vest in the [recipient of the award granted pursuant to section 315 of the Act, 16 U.S.C. 1461 or other NOAA approved state agency] subject to the condition that the designation of the [name of National Estuarine Reserve] is not withdrawn and the property remains part of the federally designated [name of National Estuarine Research Reserve]; and

(2) In the event that the property is no longer included as part of the Reserve, or if the designation of the Reserve of which it is part is withdrawn, then NOAA or its successor agency, after full and reasonable consultation with the State, may exercise the following rights regarding the disposition of the property:

(i) The recipient may retain title after paying the Federal Government an amount computed by applying the Federal percentage of participation in the cost of the original project to the current fair market value of the property;

(ii) If the recipient does not elect to retain title, the Federal Government may either direct the recipient to sell the property and pay the Federal Government an amount computed by applying the Federal percentage of participation in the cost of the original project to the proceeds from the sale (after deducting actual and reasonable selling and repair or renovation expenses, if any, from the sale proceeds), or direct the recipient to transfer title to the Federal Government. If directed to transfer title to the Federal Government, the recipient shall be entitled to compensation computed by applying the recipient's percentage of participation in the cost of the original project to the current fair market value of the property; and

(iii) Fair market value of the property must be determined by an independent appraiser and certified by a responsible official of the state, as provided by Department of Commerce regulations at 15 CFR part 24, and Uniform Relocation Assistance and Real Property Acquisition for Federal and Federally assisted programs at 15 CFR part 11.

(f) Upon instruction by NOAA, provisions analogous to those of §921.21(e) shall be included in the documentation underlying less-then-fee-simple interests acquired in whole or part with Federal funds.

(g) Federal funds or non-Federal matching share funds shall not be spent to acquire a real property interest in which the state will own the land concurrently with another entity unless the property interest has been identified as a part of an acquisition strategy pursuant to §921.13(7) which has been approved by NOAA prior to the effective date of these regulations.

(h) Prior to submitting the final management plan to NOAA for review and approval, the state shall hold a public meeting to receive comment on the plan in the area affected by the estuarine research reserve. NOAA will publish a notice of the meeting in the Federal Register at least 15 days prior to the public meeting. The state shall be responsible for having a similar notice published in the local newspaper(s).

Subpart D—Reserve Designation and Subsequent Operation

§921.30   Designation of National Estuarine Research Reserves.

(a) The Under Secretary may designate an area proposed for designation by the Governor of the state in which it is located, as a National Esturaine Research Reserve if the Under Secretary finds:

(1) The area is a representative estuarine ecosystem that is suitable for long-term research and contributes to the biogeographical and typological balance of the System;

(2) Key land and water areas of the proposed Reserve, as identified in the management plan, are under adequate state control sufficient to provide long-term protection for reserve resources to ensure a stable environment for research;

(3) Designation of the area as a Reserve will serve to enhance public awareness and understanding of estuarine areas, and provide suitable opportunities for public education and interpretation;

(4) A final management plan has been approved by NOAA;

(5) An MOU has been signed between the state and NOAA ensuring a long-term commitment by the state to the effective operation and implementation of the area as a National Estuarine Research Reserve;

(6) All MOU's necessary for reserve management (i.e., with relevant Federal, state, and local agencies and/or private organizations) have been signed; and

(7) The coastal state in which the area is located has complied with the requirements of subpart B.

(b) NOAA will determine whether the designation of a National Estuarine Research Reserve in a state with a federally approved coastal zone management program directly affects the coastal zone. If the designation is found to directly affect the coastal zone, NOAA will make a consistency determination pursuant to §307(c)(1) of the Act, 16 U.S.C. 1456, and 15 CFR part 930, subpart C. See §921.4(b). The results of this consistency determination will be published in the Federal Register when the notice of designation is published. See §921.30(c).

(c) NOAA will publish the notice of designation of a National Estuarine Research Reserve in the Federal Register. The state shall be responsible for having a similar notice published in the local media.

(d) The term state control in §921.30(a)(3) does not necessarily require that key land and water areas be owned by the state in fee simple. Acquisition of less-than-fee simple interests e.g., conservation easements) and utilization of existing state regulatory measures are encouraged where the state can demonstrate that these interests and measures assure adequate long-term state control consistent with the purposes of the research reserve (see also §§921.13(a)(7); 921.21(g)). Should the state later elect to purchase an interest in such lands using NOAA funds, adequate justification as to the need for such acquisition must be provided to NOAA.

§921.31   Supplemental acquisition and development awards.

After National Estuarine Research Reserve designation, and as specified in the approved management plan, a coastal state may request a supplemental acquisition and/or development award(s) for acquiring additional property interests identified in the management plan as necessary to strengthen protection of key land and water areas and to enhance long-term protection of the area for research and education, for facility and exhibit construction, for restorative activities identified in the approved management plan, for administrative purposes related to acquisition and/or facility construction and to develop and/or upgrade research, monitoring and education/interpretive programs. Federal financial assistance provided to a National Estuarine Research Reserve for supplemental development costs directly associated with facility construction (i.e., major construction activities) may not exceed 70 percent of the total project cost, except when the financial assistance is provided from amounts recovered as a result of damage to natural resources located in the coastal zone, in which case the assistance may be used to pay 100 percent of the costs. NOAA must make a specific determination that the construction activity will not be detrimental to the environment. Acquisition awards for the acquisition of lands or waters, or interests therein, for any one reserve may not exceed an amount equal to 50 percent of the costs of the lands, waters, and interests therein of $5,000,000, whichever amount is less, except when the financial assistance is provided from amounts recovered as result of damage to natural resources located in the coastal zone, in which case the assistance may be used to pay 100 percent of all actual costs of activities carrier out with this assistance, as long as such funds are available. In the case of a biogeographic region (see appendix I) shared by two or more states, each state is eligible independently for Federal financial assistance to establish a separate National Estuarine Research Reserve within their respective portion of the shared biogeographic region. Application procedures are specified in subpart I. Land acquisition must follow the procedures specified in §§921.13(a)(7), 921.21(e) and (f) and 921.81.

[58 FR 38215, July 15, 1993, as amended at 62 FR 12540, Mar. 17, 1997; 63 FR 26717, May 14, 1998]

§921.32   Operation and management: Implementation of the management plan.

(a) After the Reserve is formally designated, a coastal state is eligible to receive Federal funds to assist the state in the operation and management of the Reserve including the management of research, monitoring, education, and interpretive programs. The purpose of this Federally funded operation and management phase is to implement the approved final management plan and to take the necessary steps to ensure the continued effective operation of the Reserve.

(b) State operation and management of the Reserves shall be consistent with the mission, and shall further the goals of the National Estuarine Research Reserve program (see §921.1).

(c) Federal funds are available for the operation and management of the Reserve. Federal funds provided pursuant to this section may not exceed 70 percent of the total cost of operating and managing the Reserve for any one year, except when the financial assistance is provided from amounts recovered as a result of damage to natural resources located in the coastal zone, in which case the assistance may be used to pay 100 percent of the costs. In the case of a biogeographic region (see Appendix I) shared by two or more states, each state is eligible for Federal financial assistance to establish a separate Reserve within their respective portion of the shared biogeographic region (see §921.10).

(d) Operation and management funds are subject to the following limitations:

(1) Eligible coastal state agencies may apply for up to the maximum share available per Reserve for that fiscal year. Share amounts will be announced annually by letter from the Sanctuary and Reserves Division to all participating states. This letter will be provided as soon as practicable following approval of the Federal budget for that fiscal year.

(2) No more than ten percent of the total amount (state and Federal shares) of each operation and management award may be used for construction-type activities.

[58 FR 38215, July 15, 1993, as amended at 62 FR 12541, Mar. 17, 1997]

§921.33   Boundary changes, amendments to the management plan, and addition of multiple-site components.

(a) Changes in the boundary of a Reserve and major changes to the final management plan, including state laws or regulations promulgated specifically for the Reserve, may be made only after written approval by NOAA. NOAA may require public notice, including notice in the Federal Register and an opportunity for public comment before approving a boundary or management plan change. Changes in the boundary of a Reserve involving the acquisition of properties not listed in the management plan or final EIS require public notice and the opportunity for comment; in certain cases, a categorical exclusion, an environmental assessment and possibly an environmental impact statement may be required. NOAA will place a notice in the Federal Register of any proposed changes in Reserve boundaries or proposed major changes to the final management plan. The state shall be responsible for publishing an equivalent notice in the local media. See also requirements of §§921.4(b) and 921.13(a)(11).

(b) As discussed in §921.10(b), a state may choose to develop a multiple-site National Estuarine Research Reserve after the initial acquisition and development award for a single site has been made. NOAA will publish notice of the proposed new site including an invitation for comments from the public in the Federal Register. The state shall be responsible for publishing an equivalent notice in the local newspaper(s). An EIS, if required, shall be prepared in accordance with section §921.13 and shall include an administrative framework for the multiple-site Reserve and a description of the complementary research and educational programs within the Reserve. If NOAA determines, based on the scope of the project and the issues associated with the additional site(s), that an environmental assessment is sufficient to establish a multiple-site Reserve, then the state shall develop a revised management plan which, concerning the additional component, incorporates each of the elements described in §921.13(a). The revised management plan shall address goals and objectives for all components of the multi-site Reserve and the additional component's relationship to the original site(s).

(c) The state shall revise the management plan for a Reserve at least every five years, or more often if necessary. Management plan revisions are subject to (a) above.

(d) NOAA will approve boundary changes, amendments to management plans, or the addition of multiple-site components, by notice in the Federal Register. If necessary NOAA will revise the designation document (findings) for the site.

Subpart E—Ongoing Oversight, Performance Evaluation and Withdrawal of Designation

§921.40   Ongoing oversight and evaluations of designated National Estuarine Research Reserves.

(a) The Sanctuaries and Reserve Division shall conduct, in accordance with section 312 of the Act and procedures set forth in 15 CFR part 928, ongoing oversight and evaluations of Reserves. Interim sanctions may be imposed in accordance with regulations promulgated under 15 CFR part 928.

(b) The Assistant Administrator may consider the following indicators of non-adherence in determining whether to invoke interim sanctions:

(1) Inadequate implementation of required staff roles in administration, research, education/interpretation, and surveillance and enforcement. Indicators of inadequate implementation could include: No Reserve Manager, or no staff or insufficient staff to carry out the required functions.

(2) Inadequate implementation of the required research plan, including the monitoring design. Indicators of inadequate implementation could include: Not carrying out research or monitoring that is required by the plan, or carrying out research or monitoring that is inconsistent with the plan.

(3) Inadequate implementation of the required education/interpretation plan. Indicators of inadequate implementation could include: Not carrying out education or interpretation that is required by the plan, or carrying out education/interpretation that is inconsistent with the plan.

(4) Inadequate implementation of public access to the Reserve. Indicators of inadequate implementation of public access could include: Not providing necessary access, giving full consideration to the need to keep some areas off limits to the public in order to protect fragile resources.

(5) Inadequate implementation of facility development plan. Indicators of inadequate implementation could include: Not taking action to propose and budget for necessary facilities, or not undertaking necessary construction in a timely manner when funds are available.

(6) Inadequate implementation of acquisition plan. Indicators of inadequate implementation could include: Not pursuing an aggressive acquisition program with all available funds for that purpose, not requesting promptly additional funds when necessary, and evidence that adequate long-term state control has not been established over some core or buffer areas, thus jeopardizing the ability to protect the Reserve site and resources from offsite impacts.

(7) Inadequate implementation of Reserve protection plan. Indicators of inadequate implementation could include: Evidence of non-compliance with Reserve restrictions, insufficient surveillance and enforcement to assure that restrictions on use of the Reserve are adhered to, or evidence that Reserve resources are being damaged or destroyed as a result of the above.

(8) Failure to carry out the terms of the signed Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between the state and NOAA, which establishes a long-term state commitment to maintain and manage the Reserve in accordance with section 315 of the Act. Indicators of failure could include: State action to allow incompatible uses of state-controlled lands or waters in the Reserve, failure of the state to bear its fair share of costs associated with long-term operation and management of the Reserve, or failure to initiate timely updates of the MOU when necessary.

§921.41   Withdrawal of designation.

The Assistant Administrator may withdraw designation of an estuarine area as a National Estuarine Research Reserve pursuant to and in accordance with the procedures of section 312 and 315 of the Act and regulations promulgated thereunder.

Subpart F—Special Research Projects

§921.50   General.

(a) To stimulate high quality research within designated National Estuarine Research Reserves, NOAA may provide financial support for research projects which are consistent with the Estuarine Research Guidelines referenced in §921.51. Research awards may be awarded under this subpart to only those designated Reserves with approved final management plans. Although research may be conducted within the immediate watershed of the Reserve, the majority of research activities of any single research project funded under this subpart may be conducted within Reserve boundaries. Funds provided under this subpart are primarily used to support management-related research projects that will enhance scientific understanding of the Reserve ecosystem, provide information needed by Reserve management and coastal management decision-makers, and improve public awareness and understanding of estuarine ecosystems and estuarine management issues. Special research projects may be oriented to specific Reserves; however, research projects that would benefit more than one Reserve in the National Estuarine Reserve Research System are encouraged.

(b) Funds provided under this subpart are available on a competitive basis to any coastal state or qualified public or private person. A notice of available funds will be published in the Federal Register. Special research project funds are provided in addition to any other funds available to a coastal state under the Act. Federal funds provided under this subpart may not exceed 70 percent of the total cost of the project, consistent with §921.81(e)(4) (“allowable costs”), except when the financial assistance is provided from amounts recovered as a result of damage to natural resources located in the coastal zone, in which case the assistance may be used to pay 100 percent of the costs.

[58 FR 38215, July 15, 1993, as amended at 62 FR 12541, Mar. 17, 1997]

§921.51   Estuarine research guidelines.

(a) Research within the National Estuarine Research Reserve System shall be conducted in a manner consistent with Estuarine Research Guidelines developed by NOAA.

(b) A summary of the Estuarine Research Guidelines is published in the Federal Register as a part of the notice of available funds discussed in §921.50(c).

(c) The Estuarine Research Guidelines are reviewed annually by NOAA. This review will include an opportunity for comment by the estuarine research community.

§921.52   Promotion and coordination of estuarine research.

(a) NOAA will promote and coordinate the use of the National Estuarine Research Reserve System for research purposes.

(b) NOAA will, in conducting or supporting estuarine research other than that authorized under section 315 of the Act, give priority consideration to research that make use of the National Estuarine Research Reserve System.

(c) NOAA will consult with other Federal and state agencies to promote use of one or more research reserves within the National Estuarine Research Reserve System when such agencies conduct estuarine research.

Subpart G—Special Monitoring Projects

§921.60   General.

(a) To provide a systematic basis for developing a high quality estuarine resource and ecosystem information base for National Estuarine Research Reserves and, as a result, for the System, NOAA may provide financial support for basic monitoring programs as part of operations and management under §921.32. Monitoring funds are used to support three major phases of a monitoring program:

(1) Studies necessary to collect data for a comprehensive site description/characterization;

(2) Development of a site profile; and

(3) Formulation and implementation of a monitoring program.

(b) Additional monitoring funds may be available on a competitive basis to the state agency responsible for Reserve management or a qualified public or private person or entity. However, if the applicant is other than the managing entity of a Reserve that applicant must submit as a part of the application a letter from the Reserve manager indicating formal support of the application by the managing entity of the Reserve. Funds provided under this subpart for special monitoring projects are provided in addition to any other funds available to a coastal state under the Act. Federal funds provided under this subpart may not exceed 70 percent of the total cost of the project, consistent with §921.81(e)(4) (“allowable costs”), except when the financial assistance is provided from amounts recovered as a result of damage to natural resources located in the coastal zone, in which case the assistance may be used to pay 100 percent of the costs.

(c) Monitoring projects funded under this subpart must focus on the resources within the boundaries of the Reserve and must be consistent with the applicable sections of the Estuarine Research Guidelines referenced in §921.51. Portions of the project may occur within the immediate watershed of the Reserve beyond the site boundaries. However, the monitoring proposal must demonstrate why this is necessary for the success of the project.

[58 FR 38215, July 15, 1993, as amended at 62 FR 12541, Mar. 17, 1997]

Subpart H—Special Interpretation and Education Projects

§921.70   General.

(a) To stimulate the development of innovative or creative interpretive and educational projects and materials to enhance public awareness and understanding of estuarine areas, NOAA may fund special interpretive and educational projects in addition to those activities provided for in operations and management under §921.32. Special interpretive and educational awards may be awarded under this subpart to only those designated Reserves with approved final management plans.

(b) Funds provided under this subpart may be available on a competitive basis to any state agency. However, if the applicant is other than the managing entity of a Reserve, that applicant must submit as a part of the application a letter from the Reserve manager indicating formal support of the application by the managing entity of the Reserve. These funds are provided in addition to any other funds available to a coastal state under the Act. Federal funds provided under this subpart may not exceed 70 percent of the total cost of the project, consistent with §921.81(e)(4) (“allowable costs”), except when the financial assistance is provided from amounts recovered as a result of damage to natural resources located in the coastal zone, in which case the assistance may be used to pay 100 percent of the costs.

(c) Applicants for education/interpretive projects that NOAA determines benefit the entire National Estuarine Research Reserve System may receive Federal assistance of up to 100% of project costs.

[58 FR 38215, July 15, 1993, as amended at 62 FR 12541, Mar. 17, 1997]

Subpart I—General Financial Assistance Provisions

§921.80   Application information.

(a) Only a coastal state may apply for Federal financial assistance awards for preacquisition, acquisition and development, operation and management, and special education and interpretation projects under subpart H. Any coastal state or public or private person may apply for Federal financial assistance awards for special estuarine research or monitoring projects under subpart G. The announcement of opportunities to conduct research in the System appears on an annual basis in the Federal Register. If a state is participating in the national Coastal Zone Management Program, the applicant for an award under section 315 of the Act shall notify the state coastal management agency regarding the application.

(b) An original and two copies of the formal application must be submitted at least 120 working days prior to the proposed beginning of the project to the following address: Sanctuaries and Reserves Division Ocean and Coastal Resource Management, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, 1825 Connecticut Avenue, NW., suite 714, Washington, DC 20235. Application for Federal Assistance Standard Form 424 (Non-construction Program) constitutes the formal application for site selection, post-site selection, operation and management, research, and education and interpretive awards. The Application for Federal Financial Assistance Standard Form 424 (Construction Program) constitutes the formal application for land acquisition and development awards. The application must be accompanied by the information required in subpart B (predesignation), subpart C and §921.31 (acquisition and development), and §921.32 (operation and management) as applicable. Applications for development awards for construction projects, or restorative activities involving construction, must include a preliminary engineering report, a detailed construction plan, a site plan, a budget and categorical exclusion check list or environmental assessment. All applications must contain back up data for budget estimates (Federal and non-Federal shares), and evidence that the application complies with the Executive Order 12372, “Intergovernmental Review of Federal Programs.” In addition, applications for acquisition and development awards must contain:

(1) State Historic Preservation Office comments;

(2) Written approval from NOAA of the draft management plan for initial acquisition and development award(s); and

(3) A preliminary engineering report for construction activities.

§921.81   Allowable costs.

(a) Allowable costs will be determined in accordance with applicable OMB Circulars and guidance for Federal financial assistance, the financial assistant agreement, these regulations, and other Department of Commerce and NOAA directives. The term “costs” applies to both the Federal and non-Federal shares.

(b) Costs claimed as charges to the award must be reasonable, beneficial and necessary for the proper and efficient administration of the financial assistance award and must be incurred during the award period.

(c) Costs must not be allocable to or included as a cost of any other Federally-financed program in either the current or a prior award period.

(d) General guidelines for the non-Federal share are contained in Department of Commerce Regulations at 15 CFR part 24 and OMB Circular A-110. Copies of Circular A-110 can be obtained from the Sanctuaries and Reserves Division; 1825 Connecticut Avenue, NW., suite 714; Washington, DC 20235. The following may be used in satisfying the matching requirement:

(1) Site selection and post site selection awards. Cash and in-kind contributions (value of goods and services directly benefiting and specifically identifiable to this part of the project) are allowable. Land may not be used as match.

(2) Acquisition and development awards. Cash and in-kind contributions are allowable. In general, the fair market value of lands to be included within the Reserve boundaries and acquired pursuant to the Act, with other than Federal funds, may be used as match. However, the fair market value of real property allowable as match is limited to the fair market value of a real property interest equivalent to, or required to attain, the level of control over such land(s) identified by the state and approved by the Federal Government as that necessary for the protection and management of the National Estuarine Research Reserve. Appraisals must be performed according to Federal appraisal standards as detailed in Department of Commerce regulations at 15 CFR part 24 and the Uniform Relocation Assistance and Real Property Acquisition for Federal land Federally assisted programs in 15 CFR part 11. The fair market value of privately donated land, at the time of donation, as established by an independent appraiser and certified by a responsible official of the state, pursuant to 15 CFR part 11, may also be used as match. Land, including submerged lands already in the state's possession, may be used as match to establish a National Estuarine Research Reserve. The value of match for these state lands will be calculated by determining the value of the benefits foregone by the state, in the use of the land, as a result of new restrictions that may be imposed by Reserve designation. The appraisal of the benefits foregone must be made by an independent appraiser in accordance with Federal appraisal standards pursuant to 15 CFR part 24 and 15 CFR part 11. A state may initially use as match land valued at greater than the Federal share of the acquisition and development award. The value in excess of the amount required as match for the initial award may be used to match subsequent supplemental acquisition and development awards for the National Estuarine Research Reserve (see also §921.20). Costs related to land acquisition, such as appraisals, legal fees and surveys, may also be used as match.

(3) Operation and management awards. Generally, cash and in-kind contributions (directly benefiting and specifically identifiable to operations and management), except land, are allowable.

(4) Research, monitoring, education and interpretive awards. Cash and in-kind contributions (directly benefiting and specifically identifiable to the scope of work), except land, are allowable.

§921.82   Amendments to financial assistance awards.

Actions requiring an amendment to the financial assistance award, such as a request for additional Federal funds, revisions of the approved project budget or original scope of work, or extension of the performance period must be submitted to NOAA on Standard Form 424 and approved in writing.

Appendix I to Part 921—Biogeographic Classification Scheme

Acadian

1. Northern of Maine (Eastport to the Sheepscot River.)

2. Southern Gulf of Maine (Sheepscot River to Cape Cod.)

Virginian

3. Southern New England (Cape Cod to Sandy Hook.)

4. Middle Atlantic (Sandy Hook to Cape Hatteras.)

5. Chesapeake Bay.

Carolinian

6. North Carolinas (Cape Hatteras to Santee River.)

7. South Atlantic (Santee River to St. John's River.)

8. East Florida (St. John's River to Cape Canaveral.)

West Indian

9. Caribbean (Cape Canaveral to Ft. Jefferson and south.)

10. West Florida (Ft. Jefferson to Cedar Key.)

Louisianian

11. Panhandle Coast (Cedar Key to Mobile Bay.)

12. Mississippi Delta (Mobile Bay to Galveston.)

13. Western Gulf (Galveston to Mexican border.)

Californian

14. Southern California (Mexican border to Point Conception.)

15. Central California (Point Conception to Cape Mendocino.)

16. San Francisco Bay.

Columbian

17. Middle Pacific (Cape Mendocino to the Columbia River.)

18. Washington Coast (Columbia River to Vancouver Island.)

19. Puget Sound.

Great Lakes

20. Lake Superior (including St. Mary's River.)

21. Lakes Michigan and Huron (including Straits of Mackinac, St. Clair River, and Lake St. Clair.)

22. Lake Erie (including Detroit River and Niagara Falls.)

23. Lake Ontario (including St. Lawrence River.)

Fjord

24. Southern Alaska (Prince of Wales Island to Cook Inlet.)

25. Aleutian Island (Cook Inlet Bristol Bay.)

Sub-Arctic

26. Northern Alaska (Bristol Bay to Damarcation Point.)

Insular

27. Hawaiian Islands.

28. Western Pacific Island.

29. Eastern Pacific Island.

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Appendix II to Part 921—Typology of National Estuarine Research Reserves

This typology system reflects significant differences in estuarine characteristics that are not necessarily related to regional location. The purpose of this type of classification is to maximize ecosystem variety in the selection of national estuarine reserves. Priority will be given to important ecosystem types as yet unrepresented in the reserve system. It should be noted that any one site may represent several ecosystem types or physical characteristics.

Class I—Ecosystem Types

Group I—Shorelands

A. Maritime Forest-Woodland. That have developed under the influence of salt spray. It can be found on coastal uplands or recent features such as barrier islands and beaches, and may be divided into the following biomes:

1. Northern coniferous forest biome: This is an area of predominantly evergreens such as the sitka spruce (Picea), grand fir (Abies), and white cedar (Thuja), with poor development of the shrub and herb leyera, but high annual productivity and pronounced seasonal periodicity.

2. Moist temperate (Mesothermal) coniferous forest biome: Found along the west coast of North America from California to Alaska, this area is dominated by conifers, has relatively small seasonal range, high humidity with rainfall ranging from 30 to 150 inches, and a well-developed understory of vegetation with an abundance of mosses and other moisture-tolerant plants.

3. Temperate deciduous forest biome: This biome is characterized by abundant, evenly distributed rainfall, moderate temperatures which exhibit a distinct seasonal pattern, well-developed soil biota and herb and shrub layers, and numerous plants which produce pulpy fruits and nuts. A distinct subdivision of this biome is the pine edible forest of the southeastern coastal plain, in which only a small portion of the area is occupied by climax vegetation, although it has large areas covered by edaphic climax pines.

4. Broad-leaved evergreen subtropical forest biome: The main characteristic of this biome is high moisture with less pronounced differences between winter and summer. Examples are the hammocks of Florida and the live oak forests of the Gulf and South Atlantic coasts. Floral dominants include pines, magnolias, bays, hollies, wild tamarine, strangler fig, gumbo limbo, and palms.

B. Coast shrublands. This is a transitional area between the coastal grasslands and woodlands and is characterized by woody species with multiple stems and a few centimeters to several meters above the ground developing under the influence of salt spray and occasional sand burial. This includes thickets, scrub, scrub savanna, heathlands, and coastal chaparral. There is a great variety of shrubland vegetation exhibiting regional specificity:

1. Northern areas: Characterized by Hudsonia, various erinaceous species, and thickets of Myricu, prunus, and Rosa.

2. Southeast areas: Floral dominants include Myrica, Baccharis, and Iles.

3. Western areas: Adenostoma, arcotyphylos, and eucalyptus are the dominant floral species.

C. Coastal grasslands. This area, which possesses sand dunes and coastal flats, has low rainfall (10 to 30 inches per year) and large amounts of humus in the soil. Ecological succession is slow, resulting in the presence of a number of seral stages of community development. Dominant vegetation includes mid-grasses (5 to 8 feet tall), such as Spartina, and trees such as willow (Salix sp.), cherry (Prunus sp.), and cottonwood (Pupulus deltoides.) This area is divided into four regions with the following typical strand vegetation:

1. Arctic/Boreal: Elymus;

2. Northeast/West: Ammophla;

3. Southeast Gulf: Uniola; and

4. Mid-Atlantic/Gulf: Spartina patens.

D. Coastal tundra. This ecosystem, which is found along the Arctic and Boreal coasts of North America, is characterized by low temperatures, a short growing season, and some permafrost, producing a low, treeless mat community made up of mosses, lichens, heath, shrubs, grasses, sedges, rushes, and herbaceous and dwarf woody plants. Common species include arctic/alpine plants such as Empetrum nigrum and Betula nana, the lichens Cetraria and Cladonia, and herbaceous plants such as Potentilla tridentata and Rubus chamaemorus. Common species on the coastal beach ridges of the high arctic desert include Bryas intergrifolia and Saxifrage oppositifolia. This area can be divided into two main subdivisions:

1. Low tundra: Characterized by a thick, spongy mat of living and undecayed vegetation, often with water and dotted with ponds when not frozen; and

2. High Tundra: A bare area except for a scanty growth of lichens and grasses, with underlaying ice wedges forming raised polygonal areas.

E. Coastal cliffs. This ecosystem is an important nesting site for many sea and shore birds. It consists of communities of herbaceous, graminoid, or low woody plants (shrubs, heath, etc.) on the top or along rocky faces exposed to salt spray. There is a diversity of plant species including mosses, lichens, liverworts, and “higher” plant representatives.

Group II—Transition Areas

A. Coastal marshes. These are wetland areas dominated by grasses (Poacea), sedges (Cyperaceae), rushes (Juncaceae), cattails (Typhaceae), and other graminoid species and is subject to periodic flooding by either salt or freshwater. This ecosystem may be subdivided into: (a) Tidal, which is periodically flooded by either salt or brackish water; (b) nontidal (freshwater); or (c) tidal freshwater. These are essential habitats for many important estuarine species of fish and invertebrates as well as shorebirds and waterfowl and serve important roles in shore stabilization, flood control, water purification, and nutrient transport and storage.

B. Coastal swamps. These are wet lowland areas that support mosses and shrubs together with large trees such as cypress or gum.

C. Coastal mangroves. This ecosystem experiences regular flooding on either a daily, monthly, or seasonal basis, has low wave action, and is dominated by a variety of salt-tolerant trees, such as the red mangrove (Rhizophora mangle), black mangrove (Avicennia Nitida), and the white mangrove (Laguncularia racemosa.) It is also an important habitat for large populations of fish, invertebrates, and birds. This type of ecosystem can be found from central Florida to extreme south Texas to the islands of the Western Pacific.

D. Intertidal beaches. This ecosystem has a distinct biota of microscopic animals, bacteria, and unicellular algae along with macroscopic crustaceans, mollusks, and worms with a detritus-based nutrient cycle. This area also includes the driftline communities found at high tide levels on the beach. The dominant organisms in this ecosystem include crustaceans such as the mole crab (Emerita), amphipods (Gammeridae), ghost crabs (Ocypode), and bivalve mollusks such as the coquina (Donax) and surf clams (Spisula and Mactra.)

E. Intertidal mud and sand flats. These areas are composed of unconsolidated, high organic content sediments that function as a short-term storage area for nutrients and organic carbons. Macrophytes are nearly absent in this ecosystem, although it may be heavily colonized by benthic diatoms, dinoflaggellates, filamintous blue-green and green algae, and chaemosynthetic purple sulfur bacteria. This system may support a considerable population of gastropods, bivalves, and polychaetes, and may serve as a feeding area for a variety of fish and wading birds. In sand, the dominant fauna include the wedge shell Donax, the scallop Pecten, tellin shells Tellina, the heart urchin Echinocardium, the lug worm Arenicola, sand dollar Dendraster, and the sea pansy Renilla. In mud, faunal dominants adapted to low oxygen levels include the terebellid Amphitrite, the boring clam Playdon, the deep sea scallop Placopecten, the Quahog Mercenaria, the echiurid worm Urechis, the mud snail Nassarius, and the sea cucumber Thyone.

F. Intertidal algal beds. These are hard substrates along the marine edge that are dominated by macroscopic algae, usually thalloid, but also filamentous or unicellular in growth form. This also includes the rocky coast tidepools that fall within the intertidal zone. Dominant fauna of these areas are barnacles, mussels, periwinkles, anemones, and chitons. Three regions are apparent:

1. Northern latitude rocky shores: It is in this region that the community structure is best developed. The dominant algal species include Chondrus at the low tide level, Fucus and Ascophylium at the mid-tidal level, and Laminaria and other kelplike algae just beyond the intertidal, although they can be exposed at extremely low tides or found in very deep tidepools.

2. Southern latitudes: The communities in this region are reduced in comparison to those of the northern latitudes and possesses algae consisting mostly of single-celled or filamentour green, blue-green, and red algae, and small thalloid brown algae.

3. Tropical and subtropical latitudes: The intertidal in this region is very reduced and contains numerous calcareous algae such as Porolithon and Lithothamnion, as well and green algae with calcareous particles such as Halimeda, and numerous other green, red, and brown algae.

Group III—Submerged Bottoms

A. Subtidal hardbottoms. This system is characterized by a consolidated layer of solid rock or large pieces of rock (neither of biotic origin) and is found in association with geomorphological features such as submarine canyons and fjords and is usually covered with assemblages of sponges, sea fans, bivalves, hard corals, tunicates, and other attached organisms. A significant feature of estuaries in many parts of the world is the oyster reef, a type of subtidal hardbottom. Composed of assemblages of organisms (usually bivalves), it is usually found near an estuary's mouth in a zone of moderate wave action, salt content, and turbidity. If light levels are sufficient, a covering of microscopic and attached macroscopic algae, such as keep, may also be found.

B. Subtidal softbottoms. Major characteristics of this ecosystem are an unconsolidated layer of fine particles of silt, sand, clay, and gravel, high hydrogen sulfide levels, and anaerobic conditions often existing below the surface. Macrophytes are either sparse or absent, although a layer of benthic microalgae may be present if light levels are sufficient. The faunal community is dominated by a diverse population of deposit feeders including polychaetes, bivalves, and burrowing crustaceans.

C. Subtidal plants. This system is found in relatively shallow water (less than 8 to 10 meters) below mean low tide. It is an area of extremely high primary production that provides food and refuge for a diversity of faunal groups, especially juvenile and adult fish, and in some regions, manatees and sea turtles. Along the North Atlantic and Pacific coasts, the seagrass Zostera marina predominates. In the South Atlantic and Gulf coast areas, Thalassia and Diplanthera predominate. The grasses in both areas support a number of epiphytic organisms.

Class II—Physical Characteristics

Group I—Geologic

A. Basin type. Coastal water basins occur in a variety of shapes, sizes, depths, and appearances. The eight basic types discussed below will cover most of the cases:

1. Exposed coast: Solid rock formations or heavy sand deposits characterize exposed ocean shore fronts, which are subject to the full force of ocean storms. The sand beaches are very resilient, although the dunes lying just behind the beaches are fragile and easily damaged. The dunes serve as a sand storage area making them chief stabilizers of the ocean shorefront.

2. Sheltered coast: Sand or coral barriers, built up by natural forces, provide sheltered areas inside a bar or reef where the ecosystem takes on many characteristics of confined waters-abundant marine grasses, shellfish, and juvenile fish. Water movement is reduced, with the consequent effects pollution being more severe in this area than in exposed coastal areas.

3. Bay: Bays are larger confined bodies of water that are open to the sea and receive strong tidal flow. When stratification is pronounced the flushing action is augmented by river discharge. Bays vary in size and in type of shorefront.

4. Embayment: A confined coastal water body with narrow, restricted inlets and with a significant freshwater inflow can be classified as an embayment. These areas have more restricted inlets than bays, are usually smaller and shallower, have low tidal action, and are subject to sedimentation.

5. Tidal river: The lower reach of a coastal river is referred to as a tidal river. The coastal water segment extends from the sea or estuary into which the river discharges to a point as far upstream as there is significant salt content in the water, forming a salt front. A combination of tidal action and freshwater outflow makes tidal rivers well-flushed. The tidal river basin may be a simple channel or a complex of tributaries, small associated embayments, marshfronts, tidal flats, and a variety of others.

6. Lagoon: Lagoons are confined coastal bodies of water with restricted inlets to the sea and without significant freshwater inflow. Water circulation is limited, resulting in a poorly flushed, relatively stagnant body of water. Sedimentation is rapid with a great potential for basin shoaling. Shores are often gently sloping and marshy.

7. Perched coastal wetlands: Unique to Pacific islands, this wetland type found above sea level in volcanic crater remnants forms as a result of poor drainage characteristics of the crater rather than from sedimentation. Floral assemblages exhibit distinct zonation while the faunal constituents may include freshwater, brackish, and/or marine species. Example: Aunu's Island, American Samoa.

8. Anchialine systems: These small coastal exposures of brackish water form in lava depressions or elevated fossil reefs have only a subsurface connection in the ocean, but show tidal fluctuations. Differing from true estuaries in having no surface continuity with streams or ocean, this system is characterized by a distinct biotic community dominated by benthis algae such as Rhizoclonium, the mineral encrusting Schiuzothrix, and the vascular plant Ruppia maritima. Characteristic fauna which exhibit a high degree of endemicity, include the mollusks Theosoxus neglectus and Tcariosus. Although found throughout the world, the high islands of the Pacific are the only areas within the U.S. where this system can be found.

B. Basin structure. Estuary basins may result from the drowning of a river valley (coastal plains estuary), the drowning of a glacial valley (fjord), the occurrence of an offshore barrier (bar-bounded estuary), some tectonic process (tectonic estuary), or volcanic activity (volcanic estuary).

1. Coastal plains estuary: Where a drowned valley consists mainly of a single channel, the form of the basin is fairly regular forming a simple coastal plains estuary. When a channel is flooded with numerous tributaries an irregular estuary results. Many estuaries of the eastern United States are of this type.

2. Fjord: Estuaries that form in elongated steep headlands that alternate with deep U-shaped valleys resulting from glacial scouring are called fjords. They generally possess rocky floors or very thin veneers of sediment, with deposition generally being restricted to the head where the main river enters. Compared to total fjord volume river discharge is small. But many fjords have restricted tidal ranges at their mouths due to sills, or upreaching sections of the bottom which limit free movement of water, often making river flow large with respect to the tidal prism. The deepest portions are in the upstream reaches, where maximum depths can range from 800m to 1200m while sill depths usually range from 40m to 150m.

3. Bar-bounded estuary: These result from the development of an offshore barrier such as a beach strand, a line of barrier islands, reef formations a line of moraine debris, or the subsiding remnants of a deltaic lobe. The basin is often partially exposed at low tide and is enclosed by a chain of offshore bars of barrier islands broken at intervals by inlets. These bars may be either deposited offshore or may be coastal dunes that have become isolated by recent seal level rises.

4. Tectonic estuary: These are coastal indentures that have formed through tectonic processes such as slippage along a fault line (San Francisco Bay), folding or movement of the earth's bedrock often with a large inflow of freshwater.

5. Volcanic estuary: These coastal bodies of open water, a result of volcanic processes are depressions or craters that have direct and/or subsurface connections with the ocean and may or may not have surface continuity with streams. These formations are unique to island areas of volcanic orgin.

C. Inlet type. Inlets in various forms are an integral part of the estuarine environment as they regulate to a certain extent, the velocity and magnitude of tidal exchange, the degree of mixing, and volume of discharge to the sea.

1. Unrestricted: An estuary with a wide unrestricted inlet typically has slow currents, no significant turbulence, and receives the full effect of ocean waves and local disturbances which serve to modify the shoreline. These estuaries are partially mixed, as the open mouth permits the incursion of marine waters to considerable distances upstream, depending on the tidal amplitude and stream gradient.

2. Restricted: Restrictions of estuaries can exist in many forms: Bars, barrier islands, spits, sills, and more. Restricted inlets result in decreased circulation, more pronounced longitudinal and vertical salinity gradients, and more rapid sedimentation. However, if the estuary mouth is restricted by depositional features or land closures, the incoming tide may be held back until it suddenly breaks forth into the basin as a tidal wave, or bore. Such currents exert profound effects on the nature of the subtrate, turbidity, and biota of the estuary.

3. Permanent: Permanent inlets are usually opposite the mouths of major rivers and permit river water to flow into the sea.

4. Temporary (Intermittent): Temporary inlets are formed by storms and frequently shift position, depending on tidal flow, the depth of the sea, and sound waters, the frequency of storms, and the amount of littoral transport.

D. Bottom composition. The bottom composition of estuaries attests to the vigorous, rapid, and complex sedimentation processes characteristic of most coastal regions with low relief. Sediments are derived through the hydrologic processes of erosion, transport, and deposition carried on by the sea and the stream.

1. Sand: Near estuary mouths, where the predominating forces of the sea build spits or other depositional features, the shore and substrates of the estuary are sandy. The bottom sediments in this area are usually coarse, with a graduation toward finer particles in the head region and other zones of reduced flow, fine silty sands are deposited. Sand deposition occurs only in wider or deeper regions where velocity is reduced.

2. Mud: At the base level of a stream near its mouth, the bottom is typically composed of loose muds, silts, and organic detritus as a result of erosion and transport from the upper stream reaches and organic decomposition. Just inside the estuary entrance, the bottom contains considerable quantities of sand and mud, which support a rich fauna. Mud flats, commonly built up in estuarine basins, are composed of loose, coarse, and fine mud and sand, often dividing the original channel.

3. Rock: Rocks usually occur in areas where the stream runs rapidly over a steep gradient with its coarse materials being derived from the higher elevations where the stream slope is greater. The larger fragments are usually found in shallow areas near the stream mouth.

4. Oyster shell: Throughout a major portion of the world, the oyster reef is one of the most significant features of estuaries, usually being found near the mouth of the estuary in a zone of moderate wave action, salt content, and turbidity. It is often a major factor in modifying estuarine current systems and sedimentation, and may occur as an elongated island or peninsula oriented across the main current, or may develop parallel to the direction of the current.

Group II—Hydrographic

A. Circulation. Circulation patterns are the result of combined influences of freshwater inflow, tidal action, wind and oceanic forces, and serve many functions: Nutrient transport, plankton dispersal, ecosystem flushing, salinity control, water mixing, and more.

1. Stratified: This is typical of estuaries with a strong freshwater influx and is commonly found in bays formed from “drowned” river valleys, fjords, and other deep basins. There is a net movement of freshwater outward at the top layer and saltwater at the bottom layer, resulting in a net outward transport of surface organisms and net inward transport of bottom organisms.

2. Non-stratified: Estuaries of this type are found where water movement is sluggish and flushing rate is low, although there may be sufficient circulation to provide the basis for a high carrying capacity. This is common to shallow embayments and bays lacking a good supply of freshwater from land drainage.

3. Lagoonal: An estuary of this type is characterized by low rates of water movement resulting from a lack of significant freshwater influx and a lack of strong tidal exchange because of the typically narrow inlet connecting the lagoon to the sea. Circulation whose major driving force is wind, is the major limiting factor in biological productivity within lagoons.

B. Tides. This is the most important ecological factor in an estuary as it affects water exchange and its vertical range determines the extent of tidal flats which may be exposed and submerged with each tidal cycle. Tidal action against the volume of river water discharged into an estuary results in a complex system whose properties vary according to estuary structure as well as the magnitude of river flow and tidal range. Tides are usually described in terms of the cycle and their relative heights. In the United States, tide height is reckoned on the basis of average low tide, which is referred to as datum. The tides, although complex, fall into three main categories:

1. Diurnal: This refers to a daily change in water level that can be observed along the shoreline. There is one high tide and one low tide per day.

2. Semidiurnal: This refers to a twice daily rise and fall in water that can be observed along the shoreline.

3. Wind/Storm tides: This refers to fluctuations in water elevation to wind and storm events, where influence of lunar tides is less.

C. Freshwater. According to nearly all the definitions advanced, it is inherent that all estuaries need freshwater, which is drained from the land and measurably dilutes seawater to create a brackish condition. Freshwater enters an estuary as runoff from the land either from a surface and/or subsurface source.

1. Surface water: This is water flowing over the ground in the form of streams. Local variation in runoff is dependent upon the nature of the soil (porosity and solubility), degree of surface slope, vegetational type and development, local climatic conditions, and volume and intensity of precipitation.

2. Subsurface water: This refers to the precipitation that has been absorbed by the soil and stored below the surface. The distribution of subsurface water depends on local climate, topography, and the porosity and permeability of the underlying soils and rocks. There are two main subtypes of surface water:

a. Vadose water: This is water in the soil above the water table. Its volume with respect to the soil is subject to considerable fluctuation.

b. Groundwater: This is water contained in the rocks below the water table, is usually of more uniform volume than vadose water, and generally follows the topographic relief of the land being high hills and sloping into valleys.

Group III—Chemical

A. Salinity. This reflects a complex mixture of salts, the most abundant being sodium chloride, and is a very critical factor in the distribution and maintenance of many estuarine organisms. Based on salinity, there are two basic estuarine types and eight different salinity zones (expressed in parts per thousand-ppt.)

1. Positive estuary: This is an estuary in which the freshwater influx is sufficient to maintain mixing, resulting in a pattern of increasing salinity toward the estuary mouth. It is characterized by low oxygen concentration in the deeper waters and considerable organic content in bottom sediments.

2. Negative estuary: This is found in particularly arid regions, where estuary evaporation may exceed freshwater inflow, resulting in increased salinity in the upper part of the basin, especially if the estuary mouth is restricted so that tidal flow is inhibited. These are typically very salty (hyperhaline), moderately oxygenated at depth, and possess bottom sediments that are poor in organic content.

3. Salinity zones (expressed in ppt):

a. Hyperhaline—greater than 40 ppt.

b. Euhaline—40 ppt to 30 ppt.

c. Mixhaline—30 ppt to 0.5 ppt.

(1) Mixoeuhaline—greater than 30 ppt but less than the adjacent euhaline sea.

(2) Polyhaline—30 ppt to 18 ppt.

(3) Mesohaline—18 ppt to 5 ppt.

(4) Oligohaline—5 ppt to 0.5 ppt.

d. Limnetic: Less than 0.5 ppt.

B. pH Regime: This is indicative of the mineral richness of estuarine waters and falls into three main categories:

1. Acid: Waters with a pH of less than 5.5.

2. Circumneutral: A condition where the pH ranges from 5.5 to 7.4.

3. Alkaline: Waters with a pH greater than 7.4.



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