The Coastal and Estuarine Land Conservation Program (CELCP) was established by Congress in 2002 "for the purpose of protecting important coastal and estuarine areas that have significant conservation, recreation, ecological, historical, or aesthetic values, or that are threatened by conversion from their natural or recreational state to other uses," giving priority to lands that can be effectively managed and protected and that have significant ecological value. Congress directed the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) to administer this program and to establish guidelines that would make CELCP project selection an objective and nationally competitive process. To meet this directive, NOAA developed CELCP guidelines that require states wanting to participate in this voluntary program to first prepare a Coastal and Estuarine Land Conservation Plan (CELC Plan). NOAA is expected at some future date to require approval of a CELC Plan for a state to be eligible to nominate grant applications to NOAA under the CELCP.

To take full advantage of CELCP land acquisition funding, and to help guide selection of state priority projects for nomination to NOAA, CZM drafted a state CELC Plan on behalf of the Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs (EEA), with close cooperation with the EEA Director of Land Policy and Division of Conservation Services. The Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation, Massachusetts Department of Fish and Game, and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service also participated extensively in developing the plan, and several major non-governmental land conservation organizations also reviewed and commented on the state's plan. The CELC Plan used many existing statewide planning efforts, such as the Statewide Land Conservation Plan and BioMap2 as building blocks, while adding new information and screening strategies. CZM submitted the Massachusetts CELC Plan to NOAA and it was formally approved by NOAA's Office of Ocean and Coastal Resource Management on February 8, 2008. A copy of the final approved Massachusetts CELC Plan is available below. This plan will help guide the state's selection of priority coastal and estuarine land conservation projects. Also available below is the geo-spacial data used to develop the CELC Plan's Map of potential "project areas." Municipalities are encouraged to download these GIS coverages and use them to help identify where potential CELCP priority project areas are located within their towns.

Current CELCP News and Information

Since the CELCP program began functioning under its current competitive format in the Federal Fiscal Year 2007, CZM has nominated approximately 10 projects to NOAA for consideration in its national ranking process. Two of these projects ranked high enough to be awarded CELCP funding. The Center Hill Beach Conservation Project, in Plymouth, was awarded $2,263,500 in FFY 2007, and the Great Neck Conservation Partnership Project, in Wareham, was awarded $1,986,500 in FFY 2009. While almost all of the remaining CZM nominated projects made it onto NOAA's list of projects eligible for CELCP funding, they did not rank high enough to receive funding. This underscores the highly competitive nature of the CELCP funding, and the high project quality needed to meet the Massachusetts standard for nomination to NOAA, and especially the national standard for competitiveness and funding. For this reason, CZM strongly encourages all project proponents to contact CZM early to discuss their prospective project and for ideas on how to best package the project to maximize its national competitiveness.

For the 2013 Federal Budget NOAA did not run the CELCP because of funding limitations. The Federal FY 2014 application period is closed.  

The following are examples of two high quality successful applications:

CZM CELCP Contact:

Dave Janik
Office of Coastal Zone Management
251 Causeway Street, Suite 800
Boston, MA  02114
(508) 291-3625 x12