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State Facts

Miles of Coast: 3,359

Coastal Population (2000): 6,121,490

Lead Coastal Management Agency: General Land Office

Approval Date: 1996

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Ocean and Coastal Management in Texas

Texas' Coastal Program

The Texas Coastal Program, approved by NOAA in 1996, is comprised of a network of agencies under the jurisdiction of the Coastal Coordination Council. The Council is chaired by the Commissioner of the General Land Office and is composed of 12 members; seven agency heads, four citizen members from the coast and a representative of the Texas Sea Grant College Program as a non-voting member. The Texas General Land Office is the designated lead coastal management agency. The Coastal Coordination Act is the primary authority for the Texas Coastal Program.

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Many energy facilities are located along the Texas coast. To address national energy needs, reduce coastal use conflicts, and preserve coastal resources, the Texas Coastal Program has policies and a planning processes to address energy and government facility siting.

The Texas coastal zone is generally the area seaward of the Texas coastal facility designation line, up to three marine leagues into the Gulf of Mexico. The Texas coastal facility designation line roughly follows roads that are parallel to coastal waters and wetlands generally within one mile of tidal rivers. The boundary encompasses all or portions of 18 coastal counties.

The Coastal Program provides coastal enhancement grants to state and local entities to increase and improve public access, protect and restore critical areas, such as wetlands, improve water quality, improve natural hazards response, improve information and data availability, and to conduct public education and outreach activities. The Coastal Program also operates a Permit Service Center for individuals, small businesses and local governments to provide technical guidance for permits within the coastal boundary.

Texas’ National Estuarine Research Reserve

Mission-Aransas is the newest National Estuarine Research Reserve, designated in May 2006 and the lead management agency is the University of Texas at Austin. The Mission-Aransas Reserve is an 185,708-acre natural area located 30 miles north-east of Corpus-Christi. The Reserve is composed of coastal prarie with unique oak motte habitats, riparian habitats, and fresh and salt water marshes. Within the water areas, the bays are large, open and include extensive tidal flats, seagrass meadows, mangroves, and oyster reefs.

The Reserve is implementing the NERR system-wide monitoring, and collaborating with the Coastal Bend Bays and Estuaries Program, to monitor microbiological TMDL parameters in the Copano Bay area of the reserve. The Reserve's inter-disciplinary education program reaches a variety of student and adult audiences, teaching participants about estuarine and marine sciences.

Program Achievements

The Texas Coastal Watershed Program

Gulf of Mexico Alliance


Texas Coastal Program — The website provides information on the Program’s activities, including the coastal management grant program, permitting assistance, and coastal nonpoint program.

Texas Coastal and Estuarine Land Conservation Program Plan (2010) — Texas has developed a Coastal and Estuarine Land Conservation Plan that provides an assessment of priority conservation needs and guidance for nominating and selecting land conservation projects to OCRM's Coastal and Estuarine Land Conservation Program competition.

Mission-Aransas National Estuarine Research Reserve — The website provides information on the designation of the nation's newest National Estuarine Research Reserve.

Mission-Aransas National Estuarine Research Reserve Evaluation (2011)— NOAA's Office of Ocean and Coastal Resource Management conducts periodic performance reviews of estuarine research reserves.

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

Texas 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.

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

Texas 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 Texas’ Programs

Coastal Management Program
PO Box 12873
Austin, TX 78711
(800) 998-4456 or (512) 463-9212

Mission-Aransas National Estuarine Research Reserve
University of Texas at Austin
Marine Science Institute
750 Channel View Drive
Port Aransas, TX 78373
(361) 749-6771