Washington State Coastal Zone Management (CZM) Program

Washington State’s coastal zone management program was approved by the federal government in 1976, making it the first to be approved. The program applies to the fifteen coastal counties which front on salt water.

The terms and features of a state’s approved CZM program are provided in what is commonly known as a state’s “CZM Program Document.” Washington’s program document, Managing Washington’s Coast was most recently updated in 2003.

One of the features of the federal CZM program important to the states is “Federal Consistency.” This simply means that any public federal project carried out by a federal agency, or private project licensed or permitted by a federal agency, or carried out with a federal grant, must be determined to be consistent with the state's CZM program.

The federal Coastal Zone Management Act also provides the states with special funding to assist in making improvements to their state CZM Program. Washington State participates in this voluntary CZM Improvement Grants Program which also goes by the shorter, but more bureaucratic name, Section 309 Program, after its section in the Coastal Zone Management Act. Washington State has used these funds primarily to update and amend the Shoreline Master Program Guidelines under the state’s Shoreline Management Act.

Coastal water quality has always been an important part of the federal – state coastal zone management program. In 1992 Congress provided for increased emphasis on coastal nonpoint pollution. Washington, along with other states in the national CZM program is developing a Coastal Nonpoint Pollution Management plan.

Washington State also participates in the federal Coastal and Estuarine Land Conservation Program (CELCP). The purpose of CELCP is to protect important coastal and estuarine areas having significant conservation, recreation, ecological, historical, or aesthetic values, and threatened by conversion. Although dedicated grant funds have not yet been authorized by Congress, a state plan has been drafted to assure Washington's eligibility for future participation.

To inquire about a Federal Consistency Determination, send an email to the Federal Consistency Coordinator, or telephone (360) 407-6068.

To ask a question about Washington’s Coastal Zone Management Program, send an email to Brian Lynn