Coastal Issues | Special Area Plans

Special Area Management Plans

Big Sur

Big Sur, located in Monterey County, CA, is famous for its spectacular beauty. Monterey County's Local Coastal Program includes goals and policies to protect and enhance visual and physical access to Big Sur.

Unlike the other issue sections, a special area management plan is a management tool for programs to address difficult resource management issues, or land/water use conflicts in a more integrated manner through the application of comprehensive land and water use planning and management.

"Special Area Management Plans" (SAMPs) are broadly defined in the Coastal Zone Management Act (CZMA) as "plans which provide for increased specificity in protecting significant natural resources, reasonable coastal-dependent economic growth, improved protection of life and property in hazardous areas, including those areas likely to be affected by land subsidence, sea level rise, or fluctuating water levels of the Great Lakes, and improved predictability in governmental decision making." The CZMA encourages states to prepare these types of plans.

SAMPs are resource management plans and implementation programs developed to improve the management of a discreet geographic area. SAMPs are employed most often to supplement existing management programs, in specific areas where the broad program policies are not working well, or where there is a need to better align coastal policy or to address complex multi-jurisdictional coastal issues.

A number of states have developed SAMPs or similar regional plans. What the plans share in common is their uniqueness—SAMPs can address a range of geographic areas, tackle a variety of issues, advance a number of differing objectives, and enlist an assortment of levels of governments and interest groups to develop and implement the plans. As a management tool, SAMPs have been used with varying degrees of success nation-wide.

In Depth: Understanding SAMPs

For more information contact Bill O'Beirne.