The Delaware Coastal Management Program

From the Delaware Bay to the Atlantic Ocean, Delaware’s coastal resources contribute to its economy, environment, and quality of life. DNREC’s Delaware Coastal Management Program (DCMP) is a networked program that works to preserve, protect, develop, enhance, and resolve conflicts related to the state’s coastal resources.


The Coastal Zone Management Act (CZMA) of 1972 authorized a voluntary partnership between the federal government and coastal states to address national coastal issues with a local focus.

The Delaware Coastal Management Program was approved in 1979, and is a cooperative program between the State of Delaware and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, balancing coastal resource use, economic development and conservation to address a wide range of issues including coastal hazards, habitat protection, coastal development, water quality, public access, energy facility siting, and ocean planning.

Federal Consistency

Coastal Programs coordinates the Federal Consistency review process as authorized under the Coastal Zone Management Act. This provision allows the State to review federal actions that may affect Delaware’s coastal uses and/or resources.

Coastal Zone Enhancement

Improvements to state and territory coastal management programs are encouraged through NOAA’s Coastal Zone Enhancement Program. The focus is on nine enhancement areas: wetlands, coastal hazards, public access, marine debris, cumulative and secondary impacts, special area management plans, ocean resources, energy and government facility siting and aquaculture.

Every five years, states and territories review their programs to identify priority needs and opportunities for improvement. The programs then work with NOAA to develop multi-year improvement strategies that focus on one or more of the priority enhancement goals.

Read the complete Delaware Coastal Management Program’s Section 309 Enhancement Program 2021-2025 Assessment and Strategy.

Policy Development

Coastal Programs scientists and planners work with programs throughout DNREC, with other state and federal agencies, and with county and local governments to develop policies to help manage Delaware’s coastal and ocean resources.

Applied Coastal Science

The DCMP supports innovative research and monitoring projects to provide the best available science in decision-making.

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