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State Facts

Miles of Coast: 607

Coastal Population (2000): 595,257

Lead Coastal Management Agency: Department of Conservation and Natural Resources

Approval Date: 1979

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Ocean and Coastal Management in Alabama

Alabama’s Coastal Program

The Alabama Coastal Area Management Program, approved by NOAA in 1979, is administered by two state agencies: The Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources is responsible for planning, fiscal management, public education and research management; and the Alabama Department of Environmental Management carries out permitting, regulatory, and enforcement functions. The primary authority for the Coastal Program is the Alabama Coastal Area Act of 1976 (Act 534). The Alabama coastal zone extends inland to the continuous 10-foot contour in Mobile and Baldwin Counties.

Photo of Alabama autumn

The Alabama Coastal Program works with local governments to protect water quality through watershed planning.


Alabama’s coastal counties are experiencing high growth and development rates, and the Coastal Program works closely with local governments to address the impacts of growth in the coastal zone through watershed planning, water quality monitoring, technical training, and initiatives such as the Alabama-Mississippi Clean Marina Program. The Coastal Program also prioritizes projects to mitigate coastal hazards and increase public access to coastal resources. In addition, the Coastal Program supports numerous public outreach projects such the annual Alabama Coastal Cleanup and the Sea Turtle Volunteer Program at the Bon Secour National Wildlife Refuge.

Alabama’s National Estuarine Research Reserve

The Weeks Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve, a 6,016 acre natural area, is located near Mobil Bay’s eastern shore in Baldwin County, approximately 40 miles southeast of Mobile. The Reserve was designated in 1986 and encompasses the water bottoms of Weeks Bay, Fish River, Magnolia River and a small portion of Mobile Bay and includes over 1,600 acres of swamp, marsh and upland areas. The Reserve supports and coordinates research, education, and stewardship programs that promote a scientific and public understanding of estuaries and contribute to improved estuarine management.

Program Achievements

Alabama and Mississippi Launch Clean Marina Program

Gulf of Mexico Alliance

Links

Alabama Coastal Program — The web site provides information on the Program’s activities including coastal permitting information and beach water quality monitoring.

Weeks Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve — The Reserve’s web site provides information on their many education, research and stewardship activities.

Cooperative Institute for Coastal and Estuarine Environmental Technology — This program brief describes investments in technology development and research projects for the state of Alabama.

Marine Protected Areas — Search for marine protected areas in Alabama.

Alabama Coastal Nonpoint Program Conditional Approval Document —The Coastal Nonpoint Pollution Control Program encourages better coordination between state coastal zone managers and water quality experts to reduce polluted runoff in the coastal zone.

Alabama Coastal Program Evaluation (2008) — The Office of Ocean and Coastal Resource Management conducts periodic performance reviews of federally approved state coastal management programs.

Alabama Coastal Zone Enhancement Program Assessment and Strategy (2011-2016) — Every five years, the Coastal Zone Management Act encourages states and territories to conduct self-evaluations of their coastal management programs to assess significant changes in the state’s coastal resources and management practices, identify critical needs, and prioritize areas for enhancement under the Coastal Zone Enhancement Program.

Weeks Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve Evaluation (2007) — The Office of Ocean and Coastal Resource Management conducts periodic performance reviews of estuarine research reserves.

Contact Information for Alabama’s Programs

Department of Conservation and Natural Resources
State Lands Division, Coastal Section
5 Rivers - Alabama's Delta Resource Center
3115 5 Rivers Blvd Spanish Fort, AL 36527
(251) 621-1216

Alabama Department of Environmental Management
Attn: Coastal Program
4171 Commanders Drive
Mobile, Alabama 36615-1421
(251) 432-6533

Weeks Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve
11300 U.S. Highway 98
Fairhope, AL 36532
(251) 928-9792