The Coastal and Estuarine Land Conservation Program

The Coastal and Estuarine Land Conservation Program (CELCP) provides matching funds to state and local governments to purchase threatened coastal and estuarine lands or obtain conservation easements. To be considered, the land must be important ecologically or possess other coastal conservation values, such as historic features, scenic views, or recreational opportunities.

CELCP is designed to further the following goals of the Coastal Zone Management Act:

  • Protect coastal ecosystems, wetlands, corals, and natural shorelines
  • Preserve natural features that provide storm protection, such as dunes and barrier islands
  • Minimize loss of life and property by directing development out of high-risk areas
  • Safeguard coastal water quality
  • Preserve historic, cultural, and archaeological features
  • Protect aesthetic coastal features and scenic vistas
  • Provide opportunities for public access to the coast

Since 2002, CELCP (pronounced “kelp”) has protected more than 100,000 acres of land nationally with CELCP funding and over 16,000 more as in-kind match for CELCP funds. Many CELCP projects also protect critical habitat for species under NOAA’s jurisdiction under the Coral Reef Conservation Act, Endangered Species Act, and Magnuson-Stevens Fisheries Conservation Act.

The CELCP partnership between NOAA and participating coastal states and territories is voluntary. Participants develop conservation plans that identify conservation priorities. These plans are used to select which projects get national funding. A competitive merit review is used to evaluate and rank projects. NOAA administers the process each year that funding is available.

For more information, contact us.

See how CELCP projects in the Great Lakes are helping to advance the goals of the Coastal Zone Management Act in this new story map, “Preserving the Pristine.”

Screenshot of ESRI Basemap
Use this map to find the location and more information about CELCP sites in each state.