NOAA Coastal Zone Management grants -- Section 306/306a

NOAA provides formula grant funding to coastal states to support administration and specific projects to implement each state’s coastal management plan under Sections 306 and 306a of the Coastal Zone Management Act (CFDA Number: 11.419). 

Purpose:  Section 306 funds support administration and implementation of a state’s approved coastal management plan; Section 306a funds support specific projects to meet the objectives of the state’s coastal management program.  The objectives of the coastal management program are to preserve or restore specific coastal resources or areas; to redevelop urban waterfronts and ports; to provide public access; and to coordinate permitting of aquaculture activities.

Eligible Uses: Section 306 funds can be used to fund staff and administrative costs of administering the state’s coastal management program, such as costs to enforce policies within the CMP. Section 306a funds can be used to acquire land, construct projects, revitalize and rehabilitate waterfront infrastructure and facilities; and provide educational and management costs.

Potential Adaptation Uses:  In recent years, NOAA has encouraged states to better leverage CZMA funding in ways that can help achieve NOAA’s strategic priorities, which include improving resilience of coastal communities and adaptation to climate change hazards, and improving understanding of sea-level rise and other climate change risks, among other priorities. Grants can be used to both plan for the impacts of climate change on coastal areas and to implement specific adaptation projects.  Many coastal states have supported adaptation planning with CZM funding.

Eligible Grantees:  Formula grants are made to coastal states that have approved coastal management programs on a proportional basis (based upon length of shoreline and population in the coastal zone).  The state agency charged with administering the state’s coastal zone management program can make subgrants or subawards to local governments, “regional or areawide agencies,” “interstate entities.”[4] Some states also allow subwards to educational institutions.  Section 306a funds cannot be allocated to non-profit organizations, but states can contract with non-profits including land trusts. 

Process and Requirements:  States must have a NOAA-approved state coastal management program that includes specific statutorily-required elements. Section 306 and 306a funds are allocated on a formula basis and generally require 1-to-1 state matching.  Section 306a projects must be consistent with the state’s Coastal Management Plan. Funds must be used for public benefit and cannot be used to improve private property.


The Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance (CFDA) provides up to date information on recent appropriations to this program from Congress, the average size of grants, and matching requirements.  A summary is included here, but check the CFDA for more up to date information:

  • Recent Obligations: Funds are issued through cooperative agreements.  Past and projected obligations for recent fiscal years include: $66,687,490 (FY 2015); $77,533,049 (FY 2016 est); and $77,533,049 (FY 2017 est)


Authorization: Coastal Zone Management Act, 16 U.S.C. § 1451 et seq. [specific sections: 16 U.S.C §§ 1455 (§306), 1455a (§306a)]; program regulations can be found at 15 CFR Part 923.

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