About | Authorities


The work the Office of Ocean and Coastal Resource Management (OCRM) performs is mandated under three principal authorities: the Coastal Zone Management Act, the Marine Protected Areas Presidential Executive Order, and the Coral Reef Conservation Act.  The Coastal and Estuarine Land Conservation Program was also codified under 16 USC § 1456d.

The Coastal Zone Management Act

Established by Congress in 1972 and administered by NOAA, the Coastal Zone Management Act provides for management of the nation’s coastal resources, including the Great Lakes, and balances economic development with environmental conservation. It establishes two national programs, the National Coastal Zone Management Program and the National Estuarine Research Reserve System.

The Marine Protected Areas Presidential Executive Order

In 2000, the Presidential Executive Order 13158 established the Marine Protected Areas (MPA) Center. The Executive Order calls for the MPA Center, in cooperation with the Department of Interior, to develop a framework for a national system of MPAs, and to provide federal, state, territorial, tribal, and local governments with the information, technologies, and strategies to support the system.

The Coral Reef Conservation Act

The purposes of the Coral Reef Conservation Act of 2000, among others, are to preserve, sustain, and restore the condition of coral reef ecosystems; to promote the wise management and sustainable use of coral reef ecosystems to benefit local communities and the Nation; and to develop sound scientific information on the condition of coral reef ecosystems and threats to these ecosystems. The Act also established the Coral Reef Conservation Program, a partnership that brings together multidisciplinary expertise from across NOAA.

The Coastal and Estuarine Land Conservation Program

U.S. Code Title 16 Section 1456d created the Coastal and Estuarine Land Conservation Program to protect important coastal and estuarine areas that have significant conservation, recreation, ecological, historical, or aesthetic values, or that are threatened by conversion from their natural or recreational state to other uses.

The Ocean Thermal Energy Conservation Act

The Ocean Thermal Energy Conversion Act (OTECA) authorized NOAA as the licensing authority for commercial scale Ocean Thermal Energy Conversion facilities in 1980. Under OTECA and the Ocean Thermal Energy Conversion Research, Development, and Demonstration Act (OTECRDDA) the U.S. Department of Energy may authorize demonstration projects which are exempt from the NOAA licensing requirements after consulting with NOAA.