The Coastal & Heartland National Estuary Partnership (CHNEP, formerly the Charlotte Harbor National Estuary Program) began when former Florida Governor Chiles submitted a nomination to U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to designate the greater Charlotte Harbor estuarine system as an estuary of national significance. On July 6, 1995, seven nominations were accepted, including the CHNEP.  Now the CHNEP is one of 28 organization nation-wide in the NEP; one of the four in Florida (along with Tampa Bay, Sarasota Bay, and Indian River Lagoon).