Coastal Zone Management Act

50 Years of Progress

The Coastal Zone Management Act, signed into law on October 27, 1972, is designed to preserve, protect, develop, enhance, and restore the nation’s coastal resources.

From Our Director

Since 1972, the nation’s Coastal Zone Management Act has provided states and territories with a robust framework to address the most pressing issues impacting their coastal communities and economies. From development pressure to wetland loss and sea level rise, this visionary legislation has stood the test of time for meeting the coastal challenges of yesterday, today, and also tomorrow.

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Cape Cod walkway in Massachusetts, fringed by native beach plums

Local in Approach, National in Scope

The versatility of the Coastal Zone Management Act, and the federal and state partnership approach, is what makes it all work.

Learn how the programs work in each state and read stories to see coastal management in action.

More 50th Birthdays

1972 was a banner year in terms of coastal conservation.

In response to growing public concern about the state of the environment, Congress enacted powerful legislation designed to protect the nation’s ocean and coasts.

  • Coastal Zone Management Act
  • National Marine Sanctuaries Act
  • Marine Mammal Protection Act
  • Clean Water Act

Learn more about each one, and participate in our joint “50 Ways to Love Our Ocean and Coasts” campaign.

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