Coastal Management Program

Big Sable Lighthouse

Bordered by four Great Lakes, Michigan is graced with the world's longest freshwater coastline. The Michigan Coastal Zone Management (CZM) Program, housed in the Office of the Great Lakes, promotes wise management of the cultural and natural resources of Michigan's Great Lakes coast. The program supports healthy and productive coastal ecosystems, resilient coastal communities, and vibrant and sustainable coastal communities.

Michigan's CZM Program was established in 1978 as a state/federal partnership with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). The CZM Program focuses on three central goals:

  • Improving the administration of existing state shoreline statutes (e.g. Shorelands Act, Submerged Land Act, Sand Dunes Act and Wetlands Act)
  • Providing substantial technical and financial assistance to local partners for creative coastal projects
  • Improving governmental coordination to reduce delays, duplication and conflicts in coastal management decision making.


Michigan's coastal boundary generally extends approximately 1,000 feet inland from the ordinary high water mark. The boundary extends farther inland in some locations to encompass important coastal features such as coastal wetlands, drowned river mouths, bays, dunes and natural areas. The CZM Program consists of five focus areas, including public access, water quality, coastal habitat, coastal hazards and coastal community development.

The CZM Program strives to provide strong leadership and advocacy for our coastal resources by fostering environmental stewardship, encouraging innovative methods for understanding and communicating coastal challenges, and serving as partners in economic development.

Public Access:
The Great Lakes are vital places for recreation and tourism in Michigan. The CZM Program protects, restores, creates and enhances public access to the Great Lakes using approaches that support coastal communities and foster appreciation of our natural resources. The CZM Program supports a variety of projects to ensure the public has adequate access to the Great Lakes while protecting the natural integrity of our coast.
Contact: Cheri Meyer, 517-290-2110

Water Quality:
The CZM Program is committed to the protection of high quality waters, which offer important benefits and potential cost savings . Protection, restoration and enhancement of critical coastal resources such as wetlands and beaches are essential for the protection of high quality waters.
Contact: Cheri Meyer, 517-290-2110

Coastal Habitat:
The CZM Program is committed to protecting, managing and restoring sensitive coastal habitats, including wetlands and sand dunes. Coastal wetlands serve as spawning and nesting habitat for a variety of animals, help maintain water quality, provide erosion control, and offer recreation and tourism opportunities. Michigan is also home to the world’s largest expanse of freshwater sand dunes and the protection of these resources and habitat remains a significant focus for the program.
Contact: Karen Boase, 517-284-5037

Coastal Hazards:
The CZM Program supports efforts that increase coastal communities’ resilience by fostering understanding of the impacts, both natural and human, of coastal hazards and climate change through the development of adaptation strategies. The CZM Program also works with state and federal partners to minimize the loss of life and property caused by dangerous currents through support for creative local efforts that increase scientific knowledge and public awareness of coastal hazards.
Contact: Matt Warner, 517-284-5051

Coastal Community Development:
The CZM Program promotes wise management of the Great Lakes water and coastal resources through the development of vibrant and resilient coastal communities. Managed well, our coast supports resilient communities with healthy natural ecosystems that provide the economic, social and ecological foundations for a high quality of life.
Contact: Matt Smar, 517-284-5049 This page can be accessed as