Coastal Zone Management Act

The U.S. Congress recognized the importance of meeting the challenge of continued growth in the coastal zone by passing the Coastal Zone Management Act (CZMA) in 1972. This act, administered by NOAA, provides for the management of the nation’s coastal resources, including the Great Lakes. The goal is to “preserve, protect, develop, and where possible, to restore or enhance the resources of the nation’s coastal zone.” The CZMA outlines three national programs, the National Coastal Zone Management Program, the National Estuarine Research Reserve System, and the Coastal and Estuarine Land Conservation Program (CELCP). The National Coastal Zone Management Program aims to balance competing land and water issues through state and territorial coastal management programs, the reserves serve as field laboratories that provide a greater understanding of estuaries and how humans impact them, and CELCP provides matching funds to state and local governments to purchase threatened coastal and estuarine lands or obtain conservation easements. Coastal Zone Management Act of 1972

Coastal Nonpoint Pollution Control Program

The Coastal Nonpoint Pollution Control Program, which was established in 1990 by Section 6217 of the Coastal Zone Act Reauthorization Amendments, is jointly administered by NOAA and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). The goal is to reduce polluted runoff to coastal waters. The program establishes a set of management measures for states to use in controlling runoff from six main sources: agriculture, forestry, urban areas, marinas, hydromodification (shoreline and stream channel modification), wetlands, and riparian and vegetated treatment systems. State authorities ensure implementation. All coastal and Great Lakes states and territories that participate in the National Coastal Zone Management Program are required to develop coastal nonpoint pollution control programs. Some of the land use practices recommended to reduce runoff include preserving natural vegetation, avoiding development within sensitive habitats and erosion-prone areas, and limiting impervious surfaces such as pavement, decking, and roof tops as much as possible.


Water Resources Development Act (WRDA)

Provide for the conservation and development of water and related resources, to authorize the Secretary of the Army to construct various projects for improvements to rivers and harbors of the United States, and for other purposes.


Clean Water Act

The Clean Water Act (CWA) establishes the basic structure for regulating discharges of pollutants into the waters of the United States and regulating quality standards for surface waters. The basis of the CWA was enacted in 1948 and was called the Federal Water Pollution Control Act, but the Act was significantly reorganized and expanded in 1972. “Clean Water Act” became the Act’s common name with amendments in 1972.

Section 404 of the CWA regulates the placement of dredged or fill material into wetlands, lakes, streams rivers, estuaries and certain other types of waters. The goal of Section 404 is to avoid and minimize losses to wetlands and other waters and to compensate for unavoidable loss through mitigation and restoration.  Section 404 is jointly implemented by EPA and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (Corps).  The Corps issues Section 404 permits and monitors compliance with the issued permits. Both the Corps and EPA are responsible for on-site investigations and enforcement of unpermitted discharges under CWA Section 404.  The joint implementation of the Section 404 enforcement program is outlined in a 1989 Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) between the agencies.


Marine Mammal Protection Act

The Marine Mammal Protection Act of 1972, Amended 1994. The U.S. Marine Mammal Protection Act (MMPA) protects all marine mammals, including cetaceans (whales, dolphins, and porpoises), pinnipeds (seals and sea lions), sirenians (manatees and dugongs), sea otters, and polar bears within the waters of the United States.


Endangered Species Act

The Endangered Species Act of 1973 (ESA) was signed on December 28, 1973, and provides for the conservation of species that are endangered or threatened throughout all or a significant portion of their range, and the conservation of the ecosystems on which they depend. The ESA replaced the Endangered Species Conservation Act of 1969. Congress has amended the ESA several times.