States / Maryland


Coastal Management

The focus is on managing coastal areas to increase resilience, with an emphasis on balancing environmental, economic, and human wellbeing. Mandated by the Coastal Zone Management Act, the two federal programs designed for this task are the National Coastal Zone Management Program and the National Estuarine Research Reserve System. Programs are administered, on the federal side, by NOAA’s Office for Coastal Management, in partnership with the coastal states.

A fenceline disappears into the distance with grass on the right side meeting a line of rocks and the ocean’s shore.

State Programs

Coastal Zone Management

Office of Coastal and Ocean Management. Established in 1978, the Department of Natural Resources acts as the lead agency. The coastal management program is composed of several state planning and regulatory programs whose goal is to protect coastal resources and manage coastal uses, including the Chesapeake Bay Critical Areas Protection Program, whose goal is to protect coastal resources and manage coastal uses. Maryland’s coastal zone follows the inland boundary of the counties (and Baltimore City) bordering the Atlantic Ocean, Chesapeake Bay, and the Potomac River (as far as the municipal limits of Washington, D.C.).

National Estuarine Research Reserves

Chesapeake Bay-Maryland National Estuarine Research Reserve. Designated in 1985 and protecting 6,249 acres, this reserve is located in three areas. The Jug Bay component is located 20 miles from Washington, D.C.; the Otter Point Creek component is 19 miles northeast of Baltimore, Maryland; and the Monie Bay component is located 20 miles from Salisbury, Maryland. These sites reflect the diversity of estuarine habitats found within the Maryland portion of the Chesapeake Bay, which is the largest estuary in the United States and one of the most productive water bodies in the world. These tributaries are an important component of the overall health of the Chesapeake Bay ecosystem. (See handout)