Alaska Coastal Management Program: Development of the Coastal Zone Boundary

by Glenn A. Seaman, Alaska Dept of Fish and Game, Anchorage, United States,

Document Type: Proceeding Paper

Part of: Coastal Zone '91


The Coastal Zone Management Act of 1972 required participating states to identify areas subject to a state management program, or delineate a coastal zone boundary. Alaska's size and diversity warranted a multiple-step approach to delineate its coastal zone boundary. The process started with the identification of zones based on biological and physical interactions between the marine and terrestrial environments, the selection of an initial or interim coastal zone boundary, and the establishment of a final boundary during the development and approval of local coastal district plans. This boundary approach may be unique to Alaska; few states have given local districts a major role in delineating a state coastal zone boundary. The final inland boundary of Alaska's coastal zone ranges from less than 2000 feet to up to 250 miles from the shoreline. Proposals to expand the inland boundaries by some local districts were controversial, which prompted an evaluation of both the intent and application of state and federal boundary requirements. This paper describes the biophysical, initial, and final coastal zone boundaries in Alaska, how these boundaries were developed, and the State of Alaska's experiences in obtaining final federal approval.

Subject Headings: Coastal processes | Coastal management | Domain boundary | Biological processes | Federal government | Sea water | Water pollution | Seas and oceans | Alaska | United States

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