Measuring Success | Evaluation

The Evaluation Process: Monitoring the Success of Coastal Management

When the Coastal Zone Management Act (CZMA) was signed into law in 1972, it created a unique opportunity and voluntary partnership between the coastal states and federal government. The CZMA provides states and territories the freedom to design coastal management programs that best fit their organizational structure, legal authorities, and coastal environments. The federal government provides grant funds, program oversight, and a national vision for managing the Nation's coastal and ocean areas.

Section 312 of the CZMA calls for periodic performance reviews of state and territorial coastal programs and reserves. Reviews include detailed analysis of documents and performance reports, site visits, information assessments, report preparations, and follow-ups. The process also includes the close participation of state and local stakeholders and other interested parties.

Coastal Management Program reviews cover overall program implementation (CZMA §306), small construction grants (CZMA §306A), program enhancement (CZMA §309) and document the state's efforts to control non-point source pollution (CZMA §6217). National Estuarine Research Reserve System (NERRS) reviews cover construction, operations, research and education (CZMA §315).

Evaluation findings are issued following each review and usually have one of two types of recommendations: necessary actions or program suggestions. Necessary actions must be undertaken by the state to address specific problems. NOAA usually recommends that states undertake program suggestions for program enhancement. Thus, the evaluations are a management tool that provides NOAA and states the opportunity to assess needs and future direction for federal assistance. Evaluations also provide an opportunity for fostering new and continuing partnerships between local, state, federal, and special interest groups that have an interest in our coast.