NERRS Friends & Foundations Network

Many Reserves benefit from a nonprofit friends group that actively supports their mission and work. NERRA teams up with these groups to form the NERRS Friends and Foundations Network, which works to protect all Reserves.

 Speak up for your Reserve!

We need your voice.

It’s time to tell Congress to support funding for America’s National Estuarine Research Reserve System!

As friends, you know the value of your Reserve. It’s more than a more than a living laboratory for research and monitoring. Your Reserve is a place to hike and fish, hunt or paddle, watch wildlife or simply be. As part of your community, it supports the economy, provides data and training to manage local lands and waters, and offers science eduction and outdoor learning to thousands of educators and students.

The FY 2025 federal budgeting process is underway, and your elected officials need to hear directly from you how much you value your Reserve. Please join NERRA in urging your Members of Congress to invest in your Reserve and in the entire System at no less than $47 million for NERRS operations and $10 million for NERRS infrastructure.

It could not be easier to show your support. A simple email or letter with a few sentences expressing your support is all it takes.

Stay informed

Sign up today for Good To Know, NERRA’s quarterly e-brief with tips tools and news from friends and foundation groups around the Reserve System.

Latest Issues

How You Can Help

It’s that time of year again!

Participate in this year’s Season of Gratitude campaign by sending a letter to your member of congress. Questions? Contact Rebecca Roth for more details.

 Resources for Friends & Foundations

Members Only

NERRA maintains an archive of resources to support Friends and Foundations groups in strengthening their administrations, increase fundraising, make their communications more effective, and support national efforts to advocate for the NERRS. The archive includes resources like….

  • Templates for one pagers and presentations
  • A national friends contact database
  • Letter and email templates for engaging Congress 
  • Ideas for supporting a Reserve impacted by natural disaster
  • Communications plan examples with tools to help you develop your own
  • Presentation slide deck to support communicating about NERRA & the NERRS (New!)

All of these resources are available through our password-protected Members Only page. To get the password, please contact

National Assistance Program

NERRA is committed to supporting Friends and Foundations in the excellent work they do for their Reserves. To that end, we provide a number of small grants and targeted assistance through our National Assistance Program, designed to grow the capacity of Friends and Foundations groups.

The 2024 FFN National Assistance Program RFP is live and applications are due April 5th. Learn more.

Funding for the National Assistance Program is support by the Office for Coastal Management (OCM). For more information, contact Some outcomes of past projects are listed below. 

Speaking of awesome newsletters...

The Friends of the Lake Superior Reserve’s latest edition of “Where the River Meets the Lake” has us wondering if we have time for a quick visit to Superior! According to new Board Member Will Mowchan, the St. Louis Estuary has a way of growing on you. We love how the Friends have leveraged a NERRA’s National Assistance Program grant to tell the story of their Reserve.


Find a Friends Group

Stories from our Friends and Foundation Network

Friends Support Bird’s Eye View of Rookery Bay

Friends Support Bird’s Eye View of Rookery Bay

The Rookery Bay Reserve welcomed their 2024 “avian” intern, Zach Matchinski, thanks to the new Sue Miller Memorial Scholarship Fund. Established by the Friends of Rookery Bay to memorialize Miller’s many contributions …

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Protecting the Weeks Bay Watershed

Protecting the Weeks Bay Watershed

Protecting an estuary in a rapidly developing coastal area is like putting together a jigsaw puzzle when the pieces are changing shape. Sound impossible? When you live in Alabama’s fastest growing county, it’s a challenge you get used to.

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Rebuilding the ARK

Rebuilding the ARK

When Hurricane Harvey hit the Mission-Aransas Reserve in 2017, one of the many casualties was the ARK. Today, thanks to the support of NOAA and friends, the ARK is returning about 500 turtles and 1000 birds to their native habitats every year.

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Friends & Foundations