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National Environmental Policy Act and Environmental Compliance

The National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) of 1969 is the foundation of modern American environmental protection in the United States and its commonwealths, territories, and possessions. NEPA requires that federal agency decision-makers, in carrying out their duties, use all practicable means to create and maintain conditions under which people and nature can exist in productive harmony and fulfill the social, economic, and other needs of present and future generations of Americans. NEPA provides a mandate and a framework for federal agencies to consider all reasonably foreseeable environmental effects of their proposed actions and to involve and inform the public in the decision-making process.

NOAA’s requirements for implementing NEPA may be found at

Sea Grant, in partnership with NOAA Research and NOAA Fisheries, has prepared a Programmatic Environmental Assessment (PEA) to serve as a framework to analyze the potential impacts on the natural and human (social and economic) environment from aquaculture research and development projects funded by federal financial assistance award programs, including the anticipated environmental impacts of current and future related initiatives and decisions. Related documentation can be found in the list below.


Publicly Available Documentation:



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