Rhode Island Coastal Resources Management Council
In 1971, the Rhode Island General Assembly passed legislation that created the Coastal Resources Management Council (CRMC). The CRMC is a management agency with regulatory functions, tasked with continual planning and management of the coastal region and resources and with coordinating these tasks with local, state, and federal governments. Its primary responsibilities revolve around the preservation, protection, development, and restoration of Rhode Island's coastal areas through its comprehensive and integrated Special Area Management Plans (SAMPs). The CRMC stands as an example for other coastal state policymakers of a successful state-level approach to managing and prioritizing coastal resources in a thorough way, while also engaging key stakeholders from many levels of society.
The regulatory authority of the CRMC extends from three miles offshore to 200 feet inland from any coastal features, including beaches, dunes, barriers, wetlands, cliffs, etc. Within this zone, the CRMC has broad responsibilities around planning, coordinating, and managing coastal resources. Such duties include planning policy and drafting regulation, reviewing and approving permits for development, and investigating infractions of coastal laws, permits, and regulations. And the agency is responsible for designating all public rights-of-way to tidal areas.
The CRMC also has numerous coordination and leadership duties, including identifying and resolving new coastal issues and advising the Governor and the General Assembly in all coastal matters. But in addition, it must also coordinate and oversee actions of other state agencies and local governments which do not inherently deal with coastal management issues. And the agency acts as a binding arbitrator in coastal resource disputes between any municipalities or state agencies.
The CRMC is organized into two groups, a Council, and its staff. Its 16 Council Members are appointed by the Governor for three-year terms. Membership must include the Director of the Department of Environmental Management, representation from the general public, from coastal communities, and from state and local government officials. Broader CRMC staff include engineers, biologists, and environmental and marine scientists and specialists.
Phone: (401) 783-3370
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