Our Programs

NOAA's Office of Ocean and Coastal Resource Management (OCRM) oversees six major programs within its six divisions. Each program has a national reach but is designed to account for local resources and needs.

Coastal Zone Management Program

The Coastal Management Program is a partnership between OCRM and 34 coastal and Great Lakes states, territories and commonwealths. The partnership works to preserve, protect, develop and, where possible, restore and enhance the nation's coastal zone resources.


The Coral Reef Conservation Program supports effective management and sound science to preserve, sustain and restore valuable coral reef ecosystems.


The National Estuarine Research Reserve System (NERRS) is a NOAA-state partnership that oversees 28 research reserves which have been established for the purpose of research, education and coastal stewardship.


The Coastal and Estuarine Land Conservation Program (CELCP) protects coastal and estuarine lands considered important for their conservation, recreation, ecologic, historic or aesthetic values by providing funding to purchase significant coastal and estuarine lands, or conservation easements on these lands, from willing sellers.


The National Marine Protected Areas (MPA) Center uses science, technology and training to plan, manage, and evaluate the nation’s system of marine protected areas that include not only marine ecosystems, but also an array of cultural and historical artifacts found underneath the surface, including shipwrecks.

OCRM oversees the licensing of Ocean Thermal Energy Conversion projects, a renewable energy technology that uses temperature gradients in the ocean water to generate electricity.

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