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State Facts

Miles of Coast: 618

Coastal Population (2000): 2,219,037

Lead Coastal Management Agency: Department of Energy and Environmental Protection

Approval Date: 1980

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Ocean and Coastal Management in Connecticut


Many coastal programs around the nation work to preserve not only natural, but also cultural and historical sites. New Haven Lighthouse Point Park.

Connecticut's Coastal Program

Connecticut’s Coastal Management Program, led by the Office of Long Island Sound Programs within the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection, was approved in 1980.  The Connecticut Coastal Management Act of 1980 provides the primary authority for the state’s comprehensive Coastal Management Program.

Connecticut has a two-tiered coastal zone.  The first tier "Coastal Boundary" generally extends inland 1,000 feet from the shore.  The second tier "Coastal Area" includes all of the state’s thirty-six coastal municipalities.  The Office of Long Island Sound Programs oversees regulatory, planning, technical assistance, outreach, and consistency activities to address a broad range of community development, economic, and natural resource issues at the state and local level within the coastal zone.

Coastal zone management has been a Connecticut success story. All along the coastline, there has been a renaissance of urban waterfront development that has been both environmentally sound and economically beneficial to coastal municipalities.  At the same time, great strides have been made in protecting fragile natural resources, preserving and encouraging water dependent activities, restoring wetlands, and providing public access to the coast.

Program Achievements

Connecticut Increases Public Access through Permit Reviews


Connecticut Coastal Management Program — The website provides information on the Program's activities, including permitting, coastal planning and technical assistance programs. 

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

Connecticut Coastal Nonpoint Program Conditional and Final Approval Documents — 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. The state received full approval in 2003.

Connecticut Coastal Program Evaluation (2007) — The Office of Ocean and Coastal Resource Management conducts periodic performance reviews of federally approved state coastal management programs. 

Connecticut 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.

Connecticut Coastal Access Guide — A searchable, online guide to Connecticut’s shore helps identify sites open to the public for boating, swimming, fishing, hiking, and other outdoor activities.

Contact Information for Connecticut’s Program

Office of Long Island Sound Programs
Department of Environment and Environmental Protection
79 Elm Street
Hartford, CT 06106
(860) 424-3034