309 Needs Assessment and Strategy
Coastal Program Assessment and Enhancement Strategy:
Over the last year the Indiana Lake Michigan Coastal Program working with partners and public input crafted the 2016-2020 Section 309 Assessment and Multi Year Strategy. The final document incorporates input from NOAA and staff review. The Program staff will work with partners to fully develop and implement the strategies over the next five years. Final strategy tasks are subject to change and dependent upon availability of funding.
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:
- Public access
- Coastal hazards
- Cumulative and secondary impacts
- Energy and government facility siting
- Lake debris
- Lake resources
- Special area management plans
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 of 2014. The current guidance included a new process and templates for developing the state plan and introduces the concept of “areas of national importance.” In the 2016-2020 guidance, the NOAA identified the Coastal Hazard and Ocean and Great Lakes Resources (with a focus on comprehensive planning) enhancement areas as the “areas of national importance.”
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 Hazard and Ocean and Great Lakes Resources (with a focus on comprehensive planning) enhancement areas that can be submitted to the NOAA Project of Special Merit (PSM) competition.
Funding is made available to the LMCP each year to implement 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:
- A change to coastal zone boundaries that will improve a state’s ability to achieve one or more of the enhancement objectives.
- New or revised authorities, including statutes, regulations, enforceable policies, administrative decisions, executive orders, and memoranda of agreement or understanding, that will improve a state’s ability to achieve one or more of the enhancement objectives.
- New or revised local coastal programs and implementing ordinances that will improve a state’s ability to achieve one or more of the enhancement objectives.
- New or revised coastal land acquisition, management, and restoration programs that improve a state’s ability to attain one or more of the enhancement objectives.
- New or revised special area management plans or plans for areas of particular concern (APC), including enforceable policies and other necessary implementing mechanisms or criteria and procedures for designating and managing APCs that will improve a state’s ability to achieve one or more of the enhancement objectives.
- New or revised guidelines, procedures, and policy documents that are formally adopted by a state and provide specific interpretations of enforceable coastal policies to applicants, local governments, and other agencies that will result in meaningful improvements in coastal resource management and that will improve a state’s ability to attain one or more of the enhancement objectives.