Coastal Management Program
The Coastal Zone Management Act (CZMA), originally passed in 1972, enables coastal states, including Great Lakes states, to develop a coastal management program to improve protection of sensitive shoreline resources, to identify coastal areas appropriate for development, to designate areas hazardous to development and to improve public access to the coastline.
Michigan was among the first states to have its coastal program approved in 1978. The program is administered by the Office of Great Lakes (OGL). The program includes local pass through grants and administration of coastal related sections of the Natural Resource and Environmental Protection Act, 1994 PA 451. Review of federal agency activities for consistency with Michigan's approved program is performed by the Surface Water Assessment Section in the Water Resources Division (WRD).
The Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) receives approximately $2.8 million per year which is matched 1:1 with state and local funds. The federal money is used by the OGL and WRD to support the administration of several state programs, including Great Lakes Submerged Lands, Shorelands Protection and Management, Sand Dune Protection and Management, Inland Lakes and Streams, and Wetlands Protection.
Approximately one third of the grant is passed through each year to local communities and non-profit organizations located on the Great Lakes shoreline for a variety of projects. All of the approximately 300 shoreline communities that are located within the coastal boundary are eligible to participate in the program. Michigan's coastal zone boundary generally extends a minimum of 1,000 feet inland from the Ordinary High Water Mark of the Great Lakes and connecting channels, or further to include coastal lakes, river mouths and bays, floodplains, coastal wetlands, designated sand dune areas, public parks, recreation and natural areas and urban areas. Each year, OGL sends a notice to each coastal community inviting them to apply for grants. An estimated 40 projects are approved for funding each year, ranging up to $50,000 of federal funding.
Section 306 and 306A of the CZMA are the two most common types of grants available through the Coastal Program and require match in an amount equal to the grant. Project selection is competitive and is based on how well each project meets Coastal Program objectives. The Coastal Program generally passes through approximately one third of the grant annually for coastal related projects.
Section 306 funds are used for planning activities, site design, engineering, feasibility and natural features studies, historic preservation projects, coastal education materials, developing portions of local zoning ordinances, master planning of coastal significance, and waterfront redevelopment studies.
Section 306A funds are used for low-cost construction projects such as resource protection, trails, boardwalks, scenic overlooks, education and/or interpretive displays, restoration of historic coastal structures, and barrier-free retrofitting.
Michigan has a legacy of managing and protecting its valuable Great Lakes coastal resources and benefits substantially through implementation of the Michigan Coastal Management Program. The coastal program has allowed the DEQ to improve the administration of state coastal regulatory programs and provide financial and technical assistance to local units of government to address shoreline issues and improve their coastal resources.