Coastal Zone Management Act

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The Coastal Zone Management Act of 1972 (CZMA; Pub.L. 92–583, 86 Stat. 1280, enacted October 27, 1972, 16 U.S.C. §§ 1451–1464, Chapter 33) is an Act of Congress passed in 1972 to encourage coastal states to develop and implement coastal zone management plans (CZMPs) (Wikipedia, 2020)


  • CZMA is administered by NOAA Office of Coastal Management, which is in the National Ocean Service Line Office. Most OCM staff are in Portland.
  • Part of CZMA is that it establishes a relationship between states and federal authority in coastal areas. Certain state laws such as Shoreline Management Act govern the shoreline, and as an approved Coastal Zone Management Plan, then govern federal actions.
  • NOAA gives small grants to the states to administer their CZMP (in the neighborhood of $100k a year, enough to sustain a full time staff position at the state).
  • However for NOAA to approve the CZMP of the state, it must be consistent with federal law, including ESA. This is one of the few places where SMP implementation, typically delegated to Counties might fall under a Federal Nexus.
  • Generally, approval of CZMP has been routine. With increasing concerns about Salish Sea health, this routine federal approval of state shoreline management has become an object of scrutiny.