The Tillamook Estuaries Partnership (TEP) is a non-profit organization dedicated to the conservation and restoration of the five Tillamook County estuaries and the watersheds that sustain them.
As one of 28 National Estuary Projects throughout the country, TEP relies on a broad partnership of individuals and organizations representing numerous stakeholders and interested parties. TEP's Bylaws establish a 9 seat Board of Directors. In April 2009, TEP formed an Advisory Committee that seats representatives from private businesses, public agencies, special districts, non-profit organizations, and citizen stakeholders.
Pacific harbor seals (photo courtesy Jim Young)
This diverse board convenes around the commonly-held goals of improving water quality, restoring native salmonid populations, reducing the frequency and impacts of flooding, and encouraging resource stewardship while promoting regional economic development. Working with TEP's many partners , a staff of nine full and part-time employees carries out the day to day operations of the organization.
TEP's history dates back to 1992 when a group of citizens, who were concerned about the decline of natural resources locally, nominated Tillamook Bay to EPA for designation as "an estuary of national significance."
In 1994, the Tillamook Bay National Estuary Project kicked off a five year planning and research effort that would result in publication of the Tillamook Bay Comprehensive Conservation and Management Plan, or CCMP. Upon completion of the CCMP and its approval by the State of Oregon and EPA, the Tillamook Bay National Estuary Project renamed itself the "Tillamook Estuaries Partnership". The change reflected not only the organization's shift from planning to implementation, but also a commitment to apply the lessons learned in the Tillamook Bay to Tillamook County's four other estuarine systems.
California brown pelicans
(photo courtesy Jim Young)
Today the Tillamook Estuaries Partnership undertakes collaborative restoration, research, and education projects throughout five watersheds encompassing over 1,800 square miles in northwest Oregon.