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Coastal Program Assessment and Enhancement Strategy:
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 OCRM guidance provides a recommended format to address each enhancement area in the document. The most recent guidance was issued on July 29, 2009. Generally the format consists of a characterization of the issue, a series of questions concerning the status of the issue and changes related to the issue that have occurred since the last Assessment (or in this case Program Approval), a concluding statement that identifies any program "gaps", and the priority level (high/medium/low) assigned to the enhancement area by the coastal program. If applicable, a section may include a multi-year Strategy that addresses selected "gaps."
Funding is made available 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 raised at the Public Input meeting on April 21 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, as defined in 15 CFR 923.123, includes the following: