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Indiana Department of Natural Resources

Lake Michigan Coastal Program > Coastal Issues > 309 Needs Assessment and Strategy 309 Needs Assessment and Strategy

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:

  • Wetlands
  • Public access
  • Coastal hazards
  • Cumulative and secondary impacts
  • Energy and government facility siting
  • Lake debris
  • Lake resources
  • Special Area Management Plans
  • Aquaculture

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:

  • 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/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 APC that will improve a State’s ability to achieve one or more of the enhancement objectives.
  • New or revised guidelines, procedures, and policy documents which are formally adopted by a State and provide specific interpretations of enforceable CZM 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.