A Regional Approach to State Coastal Management

by Fara Courtney, Massachusetts Coastal Zone, Management Office, Boston, United States,

Document Type: Proceeding Paper

Part of: Coastal Zone '91


The Massachusetts Coastal Zone Management (MCZM) Program, which was federally approved thirteen years ago, has a long and impressive history of community, agency and legislative support. The high level of the program's success can be attributed in great part to the presence of MCZM regional offices and the sense of support and direct connection they foster with coastal municipalities. Much of the authority and ultimate responsibility to protect coastal resources lies in the hands of those working at the municipal level. By targeting staff to work in particular geographic areas, the MCZM Program can: 1) identify local issues more quickly; 2) be familiar with and therefore respond more effectively to community personality and political culture; 3) provide an accessible link between local decision-makers, activists and waterfront users, on the one hand, and state/federal environmental agencies, technical resources and regulatory programs, on the other; 4) develop opportunities for regional cooperation and information transfer among communities and 5) creatively support local initiatives and mobilize local expertise, particularly when state and federal funding is in short supply.

Subject Headings: Coastal management | Federal government | History | Legislation | Coastal environment | Political factors | Decision making | Local government | Massachusetts | United States

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