The Sarasota Bay Estuary Program was established in 1989 to assist the Sarasota Bay area in developing a comprehensive plan to restore and protect Sarasota Bay. The SBEP is governed by a Policy Board and advised by a Management Board. The parties to the SBEP's 2004 interlocal agreement have approved and adopted the goals and priorities for Sarasota Bay laid out in the SBEP's Comprehensive Conservation and Management Plan.
The SBEP is a partnership among citizens, resource managers, scientists, and policy makers. The program's four committees ensure input and guidance from essential Bay stakeholders. Members of all committees serve without compensation.
The Policy Board sets policy for the SBEP. Membership consists of one voting member representing each of the parties to the SBEP interlocal agreement.
The Management Board advises the SBEP on program activities. Membership includes one representative from each of the parties to the SBEP interlocal agreement plus the chairs of the Technical and Citizens Advisory Committees.
The Technical Advisory Committee (TAC) provides technical peer review and input to SBEP for various projects and programs. TAC members include local and regional environmental managers and researchers who are familiar with the Sarasota Bay estuarine system. The TAC initiates technical studies, assists SBEP with restoration and management plans, and reviews projects recommended by the Citizens Advisory Committee (CAC) and other groups.
The Citizens Advisory Committee (CAC) provides citizen input to SBEP and assists the Program in sharing information with the public. The CAC also develops action plans to support SBEP programs and projects in an effort to influence public policies that impact on the Bay and its resources.