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Coastal Program Assessment and Enhancement Strategy:
Over the last several months the Indiana Lake Michigan Coastal Program, working with partners and public input, crafted the 2016-2020 Section 309 Assessment and Multi-Year Strategy. This draft document is now available for public review and comment.
The public review date commences Feb. 2, 2015 and closes March 3, 2015. Comments should be directed to: coastal@dnr.IN.gov. Please provide specific comments related to the content of the document and the relevant page number.
Section 309 of the Coastal Zone Management Act (CZMA), as amended in 1990 and again in 1996, establishes a voluntary grants program to encourage states and territories with approved programs to develop program enhancements in one or more of the following areas:
The NOAA Office for Coastal Management (OCM) guidance provides a recommended format to address each enhancement area in the document. The most recent guidance was issued in June 2014. The current guidance included a new process and templates for developing the state plan and introduced the concept of “areas of national importance.” In the 2016-2020 guidance, the NOAA identified the Coastal Hazard enhancement area as the “area of national importance.” The program is encouraged to develop a strategy that addresses the Coastal Hazard enhancement area.
The Section 309 process consists of three mandatory and one optional step. The LMCP and other Coastal Management Programs (CMP) are to conduct a Phase I (High Level) Assessment for each of the nine enhancement areas. If an enhancement area receives a ranking of “High” priority, the CMP is to conduct a Phase II (In-depth) Assessment for the enhancement area. The CMP may then develop a strategy for an enhancement area, in order to address the issues identified in the Phase II Assessment. In addition, the CMP may opt to develop a strategy for Coastal Hazards that can be submitted to the NOAA Project of Special Merit (PSM) competition.
Funding is made available to the LMCP each year to carry out these strategies. As such, it is important that the planning document include an accurate portrayal of the existing programs and enhancement needs. One item of note: The 309 process requires that any projects developed result in a program change. As such, some project ideas provided during the public and Advisory Board input process are not included as strategies due to the fact that they do not meet the program-change criteria as defined by NOAA (see below for more details):
A program change is a change to a state’s or territory’s federally approved coastal management program. Defined in 15 CFR 923.123, program changes include the following: