Washington Coastal Zone Management

We administer Washington's Coastal Zone Management Program, which meets the broader national interests of protecting, restoring, and responsibly developing the state's marine shorelines in Puget Sound and Pacific Ocean coast. The program applies to all the lands and waters in Washington's 15 coastal counties, and extends from the shoreline seaward three nautical miles. Federal and tribal lands are excluded. The state's coastal counties include:

  • Clallam County
  • Grays Harbor County
  • Island County
  • Jefferson County
  • King County
  • Kitsap County
  • Mason County
  • Pacific County
  • Pierce County
  • San Juan County
  • Skagit County
  • Snohomish County
  • Thurston County
  • Wahkiakum County
  • Whatcom County

Management Activities

We meet the goals of the federal law through a comprehensive approach to coastal resource management. This work requires us to balance the often competing — and occasionally conflicting — demands of coastal resources use, economic development, and conservation. We work with partners to achieve this mission and focus our efforts on these key priorities:

Federal incentives

By participating in this voluntary federal-state partnership, we work with NOAA's Office for Coastal Management to design and administer a program that best reflects our state needs and local circumstances. Our federally-approved program is important because it means we are eligible for federal coastal zone funding which support core management activities and special enchantment projects. Having a federally-approved program also provides the state the authority to review federal actions for consistency with the enforceable policies of the program. The federal consistency provisions of the federal Coastal Zone Management Act require that federal actions, including the issuance of federal licenses and permits be consistent with the enforceable policies of Washington’s Coastal Zone Management Program.

Our partnership with the federal government enhances our work by creating a mechanism for better agency coordination and collaboration, and it provides additional funding that strengthens our capacity to partner with, offer assistance to, and plan for the future needs of coastal communities.

Program administration Program evaluation & enhancement