Office of Ocean and Coastal Resource Management (OCRM) joins state and federal partners in marking the 40th anniversary of the landmark Coastal Zone Management Act (CZMA). The act was established by Congress on October 27, 1972, to preserve, protect, develop, enhance and restore the nation’s coastal resources.
The CZMA began a new era in the United States and for NOAA, by recognizing the importance of safeguarding our nation’s coasts, estuaries and oceans. Under the CZMA, NOAA established the OCRM, which works with state partners to balance economic development and environmental conservation, and ensure future generations have access to our nation’s nearly 100,000 miles of shoreline.
"The programs, policies, innovative decision-making tools, and scientific study that followed CZMA have led to a better use of our coastal lands and waters," said Margaret Davidson OCRM acting director. "America’s future depends on healthy and resilient coasts. The act remains one of the best legislative tools we have for coastal management and is a prime example of the value of federal-state partnerships."
The CZMA also created two cornerstone national programs in OCRM to better understand and manage our coastal areas: the National Coastal Zone Management Program and the National Estuarine Research Reserve System. Over the past forty years, OCRM has partnered with coastal and Great Lakes states and territories to address critical coastal issues, and has invested more than $1 billion in federal funds, matched by state funding, to develop and implement 35 state coastal management programs. OCRM has also established and funds 28 estuarine research reserves which are managed by a lead state agency or University, with input from local partners. The reserves have preserved more than 1.3 million acres of coastal habitat and provide ongoing vital research, education and stewardship activities and programs.
The CZMA federal-state partnership has increased public access to our coasts, protected and restored coastal habitat, and minimized the risk of coastal communities to coastal hazards. It has also helped coastal communities manage development to promote healthy economies and people, and reduced polluted runoff, resulting in safe, swimmable, and fishable coastal waters.
America’s economic and environmental prosperity is directly linked to the health and resiliency of our coasts. It is estimated that by 2025, nearly 75 percent of the U.S. population, over 250 million people, will live within 50 miles of the coast.
The U.S. coastal zone supports valuable coastal and ocean resources, including fisheries, marine mammals, minerals, oil, gas, and other energy resources, marine transportation, tourism, recreation and military operations. America’s coastal regions are economic engines that provide for 40 percent of all U.S. jobs and provide over $214 billion annually in leisure and hospitality jobs, according to the National Ocean Economics Program.
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For more information on the Coastal Zone Management Act, visit www.coastalmanagement.noaa.gov.