A Brief History

The Coastal and Estuarine Land Conservation Program (CELCP) was established in 2002 as a companion to the Coastal Zone Management Act (CZMA). Congress recognized a need for more tools to help states manage the growing pressures on the nation’s coasts, already the most densely populated areas in the country.  Congress also recognized that there was no Federal program explicitly focused on conservation of coastal lands, where the needs are greatest, and the pressure to develop remaining pristine areas is increasing. (Congressional Record, June 2002)

NOAA published CELCP final guidelines for the program in the Federal Register in 2003 after seeking public comment.

The Omnibus Public Land Management Act of 2009 made CELCP a part of the CZMA and authorizes Congress to appropriate up to $60 million for the program annually.

CELCP helps advance the national goals and priorities of the CZMA, including

Many CELCP projects also support NOAA’s mission to protect critical habitat for threatened and endangered species under the Endangered Species Act and essential fish habitat for species managed under the Magnuson-Stevens Fisheries Conservation Act.


How CELCP Works

CELCP is a voluntary partnership between NOAA and coastal states and territories. 

Coastal states and territories first develop CELCP plans which identify their conservation priorities for the program. They then use their CELCP plans to select projects for the national competition.
On an annual basis:


For more information, contact Elaine Vaudreuil at (301) 713-3155 ext. 103.