States / New Hampshire

New Hampshire

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 sunrise over the beach.

State Programs

Coastal Zone Management

New Hampshire Coastal Program. The New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services leads the implementation of the state’s coastal program, which was established in 1982. The program protects clean water, restores coastal habitats, and helps make communities more resilient to flooding and other natural hazards through staff assistance and funding to 42 coastal towns and cities.

National Estuarine Research Reserves

Great Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve. Designated in 1989 and protecting 10,235 acres, this reserve is located 10 miles inland from the coast of the New Hampshire and Maine border. The reserve is a complex embayment and New Hampshire’s largest estuarine system, encompassing all of Great Bay and Little Bay, as well as the tidal portions of five major river systems: Bellamy, Oyster, Lamprey, Squamscott, and Winnicut. The Great Bay Reserve includes diverse land and water areas, such as upland forest, salt marsh, mudflats, tidal creeks, rocky intertidal, eelgrass beds, and upland field habitats. Great Bay's cultural heritage is equally diverse, from paleo-Indian villages dating to 6,000 years ago and colonial transportation and industrial use, to a proposed oil refinery in 1973 (See handout)