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Section 309 Assessment & Strategy

The Coastal Zone Enhancement Program, established under Section 309 of the Coastal Zone Management Act (CZMA), encourages state coastal management programs (CMPs) to strengthen and improve their federally approved programs in one or more of nine enhancement areas.

These enhancement areas are:

  • Wetlands
  • Coastal hazards
  • Public access
  • Marine debris
  • Cumulative and secondary impacts
  • Special area management plans (SAMPs)
  • Oceans and Great Lakes resources
  • Energy and government facility siting
  • Aquaculture

Each participating state must evaluate its coastal management program in these nine enhancement areas every five years through a self-assessment and then must develop multi-year strategies to address the priority needs within one or more of the enhancement areas.

On October 1, 2019, the NJCMP began the assessment and strategy process for the 2021-2025 enhancement cycle. The draft of the Section 309 Assessment and Strategy document was submitted on May 1, 2020, and the final document is due on September 1, 2020.

Stakeholder and public involvement in the development of this document is an integral part of the process. Therefore, the NJCMP is providing a 30-day public comment period from May 1-June 1, 2020. In addition to the complete assessment and strategy document, the NJCMP has also prepared a slideshow that summarizes the Section 309 Enhancement Program and provides an overview of the NJCMP’s strategies for the 2021-2025 enhancement cycle. All comments and questions should be submitted to Jill Aspinwall at by June 1, 2020.

Projects of Special Merit

To encourage each CMP to continually improve its program in the nine enhancement areas, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) awards additional competitive funding under Section 309 of the CZMA each year for Projects of Special Merit (PSM). PSM funding is intended to help CMPs develop innovative projects that further their approved enhancement area strategies and focus on national enhancement area priorities.

The NJCMP’s current Projects of Special Merit awarded by NOAA are:


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Last Updated: April 27, 2020