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State Facts

Miles of Coast: 45

Coastal Population (2000): 771,815

Lead Coastal Management Agency: Indiana Department of Natural Resources, Division of Nature Preserves

Approval Date: 2002

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Ocean and Coastal Management in Indiana

Indiana's Coastal Program

The Indiana Department of Natural Resources is the lead agency administering Indiana's Lake Michigan Coastal Program. The State’s Coastal Program received approval in 2002 and is a networked program built upon a framework of state laws and authorities addressing key coastal priorities. The Indiana coastal zone is based on watershed boundaries and varies between a little less than two miles to 17 miles from the shore. The coastal zone is an important part of Indiana’s economy; steel making is a dominant industrial use on the Lake Michigan shoreline and the coastal transporation network, including the Port of Indiana, provides significant economic contributions to the state. Indiana's Lake Michigan coastal area also includes noteworthy natural resources such as the ridge and swale dunes at Indiana Dunes State Park and numerous inland palustrine wetland complexes.

Photo of Indiana Coast

The Indiana Coastal Program works to reduce nonpoint pollution and improve the water quality of Lake Michigan.

The Coastal Program works to establish a comprehensive, coordinated approach for the protection, preservation, and orderly development of the state’s coastal resources. Indiana’s most challenging coastal issues include public access to the shore, beach closures, water quality, brownfields, dredging, shoreline erosion, and preservation of natural areas. The Coastal Program assists local communities with developing watershed management plans and also provides grant support for local governments and nonprofit organizations working on coastal priority issues. The Coastal Program organizes educational programs such as Coast Weeks, an annual coastal educational festival.

Program Achievements

Lake Michigan Coastal Advisory Board



Indiana Lake Michigan Coastal Program — The website provides information on the Indiana Lake Michigan Coastal Program.

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

Indiana 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. 

Indiana Coastal Program Evaluation (2006) — The Office of Ocean and Coastal Resource Management conducts periodic performance reviews of federally approved state coastal management programs.

Indiana 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.

Contact Information for Indiana's Coastal Program

Lake Michigan Coastal Program
Division of Nature Preserves
Department of Natural Resources
402 W. Washington, Rm W267
Indianapolis, IN 46204