CZM Program

What is the CZM Program?

whoCoastal Zone Management (CZM) is a concept also known by other terms. Comprehensive resource management, integrated resource management, ecosystem management, and place based management are a few. It is about looking at an ecosystem as an interrelated whole rather than at the individual species, resources, or uses. In a system, everything interrelates. Nothing is mutually exclusive, or independent. CZM is also about balancing the needs of economic development and conservation of resources in a sustainable manner.

The Federal CZM Program was created through passage of the CZM Act of 1972. Since approval of Hawaii’s program in 1977 (Chapter 205A, Hawaii Revised Statutes), remarkable results have been achieved. This unique federal-state partnership provides a proven basis for protecting, restoring and responsibly developing the nation’s important and diverse coastal communities and resources.

Hawaii ‘s CZM Program was enacted to provide a common focus for state and county actions dealing with land and water uses and activities. As the State’s resource management policy umbrella, it is the guiding perspective for the design and implementation of allowable land and water uses and activities throughout the state. In finding that the state was overregulated and undermanaged, and that laws, ordinances, and rules dealing with coastal resources needed a more effective and coordinated focus, the Legislature also observed that the various regulatory mechanisms were too functional and often duplicative or in conflict with each other. So, it made a purpose of CZM to encourage agencies to look at resources in a different way. Agencies must now look at resources from a broader ecosystem perspective, instead of the individual species or resources. In addition, rather than duplicating or usurping the authorities and responsibilities of the state and county agencies, the CZM law builds upon them, forming a team or network. To effectuate this network concept, Chapter 205A requires legal and operational compliance with its objectives and policies. Within the scopes of their authorities, all agencies must assure their statutes, ordinances, rules, and actions comply with the CZM objectives and policies. In this way, a network of state and county agencies bound by the statute helps carry out CZM’s multi-functional purposes and requirements.

The CZM area encompasses the entire state. Because there is no point of land more than 30 miles from the ocean, a definite land-sea connection exists throughout the state. So, designating the entire state as the CZM area was logical. What occurs on land, even on the mountains, will impact and influence the quality of the coastal waters and marine resources. The CZM area also extends seaward to the limit of the State’s police power and management authority, to include the territorial sea. This legal seaward boundary definition is consistent with Hawaii ‘s historic claims over the Hawaiian archipelagic waters based on ancient transportation routes and submerged lands.

What We Do

Unlike single-purpose programs, the Hawaii CZM Program focuses its work on the complex resource management problems of coastal areas in the part of the State that is under the highest stress. Within a framework of cooperation among federal, state, and local levels, the Hawaii CZM Program employs a wide variety of regulatory and non-regulatory techniques to address coastal issues and uphold environmental law. Among them are stewardship, planning, permitting, education and outreach, technical assistance to local governments and permit applicants, policy development and implementation, and identification of emerging issues and exploration of solutions.