Coastal Renewal

There are often ongoing and well-established programs that can be overlooked simply because they've been around and people figure the funds are already allocated.

However, many of these programs get additional cash infusions or something comes along that creates funding opportunities for parks and recreation districts. Recently, we found an outlet for districts with coastlines. First, some background…

The Coastal Zone Management Program (CZMP) is authorized by the Coastal Zone Management Act of 1972 and supports states through financial assistance ($78.963 million in FY 2002), mediation, technical services and information, and participation in priority state, regional and local forums.

The program is a unique state-federal partnership between the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and 34 states and territories with federally approved coastal management programs. Currently, 95,331 national shoreline miles are managed through the program.

States that participate include Alabama, Alaska, California, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Indiana, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Puerto Rico, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Texas, Virginia, Washington and Wisconsin.

Finding Funding

Annual funding allocations vary from state to state. Project sponsors are expected to make the initial outlays for the project and then request reimbursement from OCMP.

Eligible project sponsors include: a) Units of local government, including municipalities, townships, counties and villages; b) Area-wide agencies, including county and regional planning agencies; c) State agencies whose activities affect or are affected by activities in the coastal area; d) Colleges, universities and other institutions of higher learning; e) School districts; f) Park districts, conservancy districts and port authorities; and g) non-profit organizations that are legally constituted as 501(c)(3) organizations and have been nominated to undertake the project by one of the other eligible entities listed above. Nonprofit organizations are only eligible for non-construction/non-acquisition projects.

Applications will be printed and distributed in September and are due in early December. Grant awards will be announced in March. Projects begin in July and must be completed by 15 months later in September of the following year

Comprehensive Community Planning is the priority for CMZ funding. This priority comes under the project category Coastal Land Use and Development. The goal is to promote community planning that will address enhanced public access, hazard mitigation, natural resource protection and restoration and sustainable coastal development issues.

There are six eligible project categories:

1) Water Resources and Watersheds;

2) Coastal Land Use and Development;

3) Coastal Habitat, Wetlands and Natural Areas;

4) Coastal Flooding and Erosion;

5) Recreational Opportunities;

6) Fisheries and Wildlife Resources.

There are several types of projects that are not eligible, including: restroom facilities, construction of erosion control structures, beach re-nourishment, maintenance, general recreational facilities such as playgrounds, ball fields and courts, road and parking lot construction, water and sewer line construction, and wetland or other habitat restoration that is required as a condition of a permit or other regulatory action.

If you are a coastal community, grants may be available if your project falls within the objectives of the grant program, which include:

(1) Protection, restoration, or enhancement of the existing coastal wetlands base, or creation of new coastal wetlands.

(2) Preventing or significantly reducing threats to life and destruction of property by eliminating development and redevelopment in high-hazard areas, managing development in other hazard areas, and anticipating and managing the effects of potential sea level rise and Great Lakes level rise.

(3) Attaining increased opportunities for public access, taking into account current and future public access needs, to coastal areas of recreational, historical, aesthetic, ecological or cultural value.

(4) Reducing marine debris entering the Nation's coastal and ocean environments by managing uses and activities that contribute to the entry of such debris.

(5) Development and adoption of procedures to assess, consider, and control cumulative and secondary impacts of coastal growth and development, including the collective effect on various individual uses or activities on coastal resources, such as coastal wetlands and fishery resources.

(6) Preparing and implementing special area management plans for important coastal areas.

(7) Planning for the use of ocean resources.

(8) Adoption of procedures and enforceable policies to help facilitate the siting of energy facilities and government facilities and energy-related activities and government activities which may be of greater than local significance.

(9) Adoption of procedures and policies to evaluate and facilitate the siting of public and private aquaculture facilities in the coastal zone, which will enable states to formulate, administer and implement strategic plans for marine aquaculture.

Funding Findings

Here are some excellent examples from grant projects that were successfully funded. The examples should help spawn ideas for programs specific to your area…

• A feasibility study to analyze the perceptions of current and potential tourists concerning a three-county area as a sustainable nature-based tourism destination. This feasibility plan will guide promotion of nature-based tourism and will be a model for other Lake Erie communities.

• Community Revitalization Plan for a Watershed, to complete the first of three phases in a comprehensive planning effort. The first phase will identify issues on stream recovery, streamside land uses, transportation and community development elements.

• Waterfront Feasibility Study. This feasibility study will determine how to best utilize the riverfront and lakefront of a downtown while preserving the historic area.

• Build the long-term capacity of watershed groups to develop community-based watershed action plans. This project assists that goal by producing a funding source compilation, topical workshops and networking meetings.

• County Coastal Comprehensive Plan. A comprehensive coastal plan will be produced for the communities and port authorities of a county, guiding future local government decisions. The comprehensive plan will include the following reports: an inventory, the plan, an implementation guide and associated maps. Promoting comprehensive multi-jurisdictional planning will benefit all the communities and the coastal resource.

• Recreational fishing opportunities for disabled citizens will be increased through the construction of two handicap accessible fishing stations.

• A feasibility study will assess the public access and commercial development potential of an iron ore pellet facility site located at the mouth a river. Priorities will be determined for recreational, waterfront and commercial uses. This plan will be a valuable first step to ultimately help assist in revitalizing a deteriorating downtown area.

• Overlook Beach Park Stairway. This project will provide safe, easy access to a Beach and correct a surface runoff problem that is causing erosion. The construction will include handicap access to the top of the bluff and provide maintenance access.

• Development of GIS Tools for Integration of Coastal Fish Habitat Management. Develop GIS-based maps that contain information on habitats located in watershed tributaries. These maps will then be used to assist in modeling the effects of upstream land-use changes and effects of non-point source pollution on downstream and coastal area fish productivity.

For more information, links to the individual state CMZ programs are located at

Betsy Bowe is grants and regulatory affairs manager for Environmental Design Group Inc., Akron, Ohio. For questions or comments, contact Betsy at (330) 375-1390 or e-mail

Bryan BuchkoComment