Washington Coastal Zone Management
We administer Washington's Coastal Zone Management (CZM) Program, which meets the broader national interests of protecting, restoring, and responsibly developing the state's marine shorelines in Puget Sound and along the Pacific Ocean coast.
We meet the goals of the Coastal Zone Management Act 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:
- Protecting and restoring coastal wetlands
- Preventing or reducing threats from coastal hazards
- Attaining increased opportunities for public access
- Collaborating to manage the impacts of growth and development
- Planning for the use of ocean resources
- Building resilience to sea level rise and other climate impacts
- Mapping and monitoring the coastline to help communities make informed decisions
- Ensuring federal activities comply with state coastal policies
Washington's coastal zone
Washington's CZM program applies to the state's coastal zone, which is comprised of the 15 coastal counties with marine shorelines, including Wahkiakum. The coastal zone includes all lands and waters within these coastal counties, as well as submerged lands seaward out to three nautical miles (about 3.5 miles). The coastal zone is not limited to areas under Shoreline Management Act jurisdiction.
Excluded from Washington's coastal zone are tribal lands and lands the federal government owns, leases, holds in trust, or otherwise has the sole discretion to determine their use. These "excluded federal lands" include, but are not limited to:
- Tribal lands held in trust by the federal government.
- Military reservations or other defense installations (e.g., Joint Base Lewis-McChord and Naval Air Base Whidbey Island).
- All lands within national parks (e.g., Olympic National Park and Mount Rainier National Park).
- National forest lands and national recreation areas owned or leased by the federal government.
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.