Our Programs | CZM

Coastal Programs: Partnering with States to Manage Our Coastline

Razor Clamming

The National Coastal Zone Management Program balances coastal resource use and preservation so that people will continue benefit from the rich resources the coast provides.

Our nation’s coastal zone is vital to the well-being of our country. It is home to roughly half of the nation’s population and supports ecologically important habitats and natural resources. It also boasts vibrant ports and harbors and many other important industries. According to the National Ocean Economics Program, in 2007, the coastal zone contributed $6.7 trillion to the U.S. economy. The National CZM Program is working with coastal states to address some of today’s most pressing national coastal issues including climate change, ocean planning, and planning for energy facilities and development.

The National Coastal Zone Management (CZM) Program is a voluntary partnership between the federal government and U.S. coastal and Great Lake states and territories (states) authorized by the Coastal Zone Management Act (CZMA) of 1972 to address national coastal issues. The Act provides the basis for protecting, restoring, and responsibly developing our nation’s diverse coastal communities and resources. To meet the goals of the CZMA, the National CZM Program takes a comprehensive approach to coastal resource management—balancing the often competing and occasionally conflicting demands of coastal resource use, economic development, and conservation. Some of the key elements of the National CZM Program include:


Prioritizing water-dependent uses along the coast, such as fishing infrastructure, is an important element of the National CZM Program.

Partnerships in Action
The National Coastal Zone Management Program is an innovative voluntary federal-state partnership. Effective implementation of the CZMA requires close collaboration between federal and state governments. NOAA’s Office of Ocean and Coastal Resource Man­agement administers the program at the federal level. By using both federal and state funds, the program strengthens the capabilities of each partner to address coastal issues. While the Act includes basic requirements for state partners, it also gives them the flexibility to design programs that best address their unique coastal challenges and laws and regulations.

Thirty-four states have approved coastal management programs that ad­dress a wide range of issues, including coastal develop­ment, water quality, public access, habitat protection, energy facility siting, ocean governance and planning, coastal hazards, and climate change.

National Program Components
Highlights of the National CZM Program include the following: