About the Program

The Coast

The coastal zone is the area where the land meets the sea and includes both coastal waters and adjacent shorelands. These areas face increasing pressure from development, shoreline erosion, biodiversity losses and nonpoint source pollution. Pennsylvania has two coastal areas: 77 miles of coastline along Lake Erie and 112 miles of coastline along the Delaware Estuary.

The Lake Erie coastal zone is located within Erie County and includes the shorelines of major tributaries. The coastal zone also extends to the middle of the lake, to the boundary with Canada and inland an average of 1.4 miles. The Lake also contains Presque Isle State Park and is one of the state ports for international shipping.

The Delaware Estuary Coastal Zone lies within Bucks, Philadelphia, and Delaware counties. The coastal zone also contains islands, marshes and shorelands of tributary streams that are tidally influenced. The combined facilities of the Delaware Estuary comprise the largest freshwater port in the world.


Coastal Resources Management Program

In September 1980, the U.S. Department of Commerce approved Pennsylvania's Coastal Zone Management Plan under the authority of the federal Coastal Zone Management Act of 1972. The DEP's Water Planning Office coordinates and implements the Coastal Resources Management Program (CRM) to execute sound coastal management program policies in Pennsylvania's two coastal areas.

CRM receives funding from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) to administer the PA Coastal Resources Management Program and provide grants to local governments, state agencies and nonprofit organizations to undertake projects in the coastal zones. Since the program's federal approval in 1980, the Pennsylvania Coastal Resources Management Program has provided over 50 million dollars in funding for coastal zone projects that advance the following program policies listed below.


Program Policies


Work Activities

Program activities are reviewed and advice is given by the PA Coastal Zone Advisory Committee. CRM work activities include:

Links for more Information:

Lake Erie Boundary Expansion
Lake Erie Bluff Recession



Boundary Maps:

Delaware Estuary Coastal Zone (Section 306 area)
Lake Erie Coastal Zone (Section 306 area)
Southeastern PA and Lake Erie Coastal Nonpoint Program Areas (Section 6217 areas) (pdf)

Downloadable Materials:

2014 Funding Fact Sheet (pdf)
2013 Funding Fact Sheet (pdf)
2012 Funding Fact Sheet (pdf)