By Susan Bady. Many regulations govern the development of coastal areas. Following is a brief description of significant state and federal agencies and legislation.

Shoreline development in Florida has been regulated since 1971 under the Coastal Construction Control Line Program, the National Flood Insurance Program, and the Coastal Protection Act. They establish setbacks and building requirements and indicate what areas have the greatest potential for flooding.

The federal Coastal Zone Management Act (CZMA) of 1972 created the Coastal Zone Management Program and the National Estuarine Research Reserve System, which protect and manage the nation's ocean and coastal resources. The CZMA was most recently amended in 1996 to allow the Secretary of Commerce to provide grants to states to develop their own coastal management programs. It is currently due for reauthorization, and legislation is pending in Congress.

The California Coastal Commission, established in 1972, controls all coastal zones in California except the San Francisco Bay Area, which has its own, separate agency.

The South Carolina Coastal Tidelands and Wetlands Act (1977) gives the federal Office of Ocean and Coastal Resource Management responsibility for protecting the state's beaches and coastline.

The Coastal Barrier Resources Act (1982) restricts federal expenditures and financial assistance that would encourage development of coastal barriers — the beaches, dunes, wetlands, and barrier islands that protect waterfront communities and provide wildlife habitats. The Coastal Barrier Improvement Act (1990) tripled the size of the barrier system to nearly 1.3 million acres.

Back to Beachfront Blockade

Published in BIG BUILDER Magazine, September 2002