States / Maine


Coastal Management

The focus is on managing coastal areas to increase resilience, with an emphasis on balancing environmental, economic, and human wellbeing. Mandated by the Coastal Zone Management Act, the two federal programs designed for this task are the National Coastal Zone Management Program and the National Estuarine Research Reserve System. Programs are administered, on the federal side, by NOAA’s Office for Coastal Management, in partnership with the coastal states.

An aerial view of a marshy area of water winding through green landscape in front of the ocean as the sun rises after a storm.

State Programs

Coastal Zone Management

Maine Coastal Program. Established in 1978, the program is led by the Maine Department of Agriculture, Conservation, and Forestry. The coastal management program consists of four state agencies working in cooperation with local governments, nonprofit organizations, private businesses, and the public to improve management of coastal resources. Maine’s coastal zone extends to the inland boundary of all towns bordering tidal waters and includes all coastal islands.

National Estuarine Research Reserves

Wells National Estuarine Research Reserve. Designated in 1984 and protecting 2,250 acres, this fully solar-powered reserve is located in Wells, Maine. Reserve facilities are situated at historic Laudholm Farm, settled in 1642 and occupied by only four families over the ensuing 350 years. This reserve protects fields, forests, freshwater wetlands, salt marsh, and sandy beach on the densely populated southern coast of Maine. (See handout)