Policy Options

Coastal Resilience Policy Options



NCEL Point of Contact

Dylan McDowell
Executive Director



The America the Beautiful initiative sets the commitment to conserving at least 30% of lands and waters by 2030. The initiative is a national call for collaboration, and states have a major role to play when it comes to coastal conservation, adaptation, and restoration. The following list includes policies to advance these goals through state legislation, and ultimately help the U.S. conserve valuable marine and coastal habitats.

Policy Strategies

Coastal Conservation

  • California Marine Life Protection Act (2013) – Directs the state to redesign its system of marine protected areas (MPAs) to function as a network.
  • California S.B.1036 (2022) – Establishes the California Oceans Corps to organize and provide opportunities for young people to train and contribute to ocean conservation in the County of Orange. 
  • Georgia H.R.822 (2022) – Resolution stating opposition to the shark fin trade. 
  • Hawaii H.B.1019 (2021) – Establishes a fund to help implement Hawaii’s 30×30 marine management goals.
  • Hawaii H.B.1653 (2022) – Establishes an administrative and criminal fine system for aquatic life taken, killed, or injured. 
  • New York A.6326 (2021) – Establishes the Marine Life Protection Task Force within the department of environmental conservation.
  • New York A.4340 (2021) – Implements a comprehensive conservation and management plan prepared pursuant to the National Estuary Program and establishes the Peconic Region Maritime Reserve Council.
  • Washington S.B.5619/H.B. 1661 (2022) – Requires establishment of a Kelp Forest and Eelgrass Meadow Health and Conservation Plan.

Coastal Adaptation

  • Connecticut HJR 53 (2021): Long Island Sound Blue Plan: Implements a science-based planning tool that integrates all environmental, recreational and commercial uses of the Sound (active).
  • Hawaii S.B.474 (2021): Requires that mandatory seller disclosures in real estate transactions include identification of residential real properties lying within the sea level rise exposure area. 
  • Massachusetts H.D.4379 (2021): Establishes a “Blue Communities Program” that (1) incentivizes local action on nutrient pollution and ocean acidification; (2) sets guidelines for communities to qualify as a “Blue Community;” and (3) establishes a fund for the Program.
  • Maine L.D. 1572 (H.P. 1169)(2021): Requires agencies to review laws and rules and submit recommendations to incorporate sea level rise into administration of those.
  • New York S.6532A (2021): Permits kelp cultivation in underwater lands at Gardiner’s and Peconic bays.
  • Rhode Island S.B.35 (2021): Establishes the Ocean State Climate Adaptation and Resilience (OSCAR) fund as a long-term source of grant funding to allow coastal cities and towns to implement climate resilience projects (enacted). 
  • Virgina S.B.1374 (2021): Establishes an intergovernmental taskforce to study and submit a report on how to use state land and marine resources for carbon sequestration.
  • Washington H.B.1099 (2021): Requires updating shoreline master programs to include the impacts of sea level rise and increased storm severity on shoreline natural resources and coastal communities.
  • Other Policy Options: 
    • Establish a managed retreat policy and a state revolving fund for managed retreat in coastal areas. 
    • Establish moratorium on new development in floodplains and sea level rise areas.

Coastal Restoration

  • California S.B.1065 (2022): Establishes the California Abandoned and Derelict Commercial Vessel Program.
  • Hawaii S.B.2519 (2022): Requires an emergency permit for temporary shoreline hardening, limit the lifetime of such structure, and require a long-term solution to enable removal of the temporary structure.
  • New Hampshire S.B146 (2021): Adopts omnibus legislation that includes establishing a coastal program and a fund for derelict fishing gear and coastal cleanup.
  • New York A.6294 (2021): Requires the department of environmental conservation to prepare and annually update a marine and coastal debris action plan.
  • Other Policy Options: 
    • Prohibit repairs of armoring and require removal of illegal structures.
    • Establish a Blue Carbon Fund to protect and restore coastal habitats.


NCEL Resources

Online Resources

30x30 - NCEL

NCEL's webpage on the 30x30 movement with relevant facts and policies.

Go to resource
America the Beautiful - U.S. Department of Interior

An overview of the federal work to conserve at least 30% of lands and waters by 2030.

Go to resource

Empower State Environmental Champions

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