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New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services

The New Hampshire Coastal Program is one of 34 federally approved coastal programs authorized under the Coastal Zone Management Act and is administered by NHDES. The Coastal Program provides funding and staff assistance to towns and cities, and other local and regional groups who protect clean water, restore coastal habitats, and help make communities more resilient to flooding and other natural hazards. The Coastal Program supports the region's economy by helping to preserve the environmental health of the coast and Great Bay and Hampton-Seabrook estuaries for fishing and shellfishing, and assisting with the maintenance of our ports, harbors and tidal rivers for commercial and recreational uses.

The New Hampshire Coastal Program’s mission is to balance the preservation of natural resources of the coast with the social and economic needs of this and succeeding generations. To accomplish this mission, the Coastal Program focuses on six primary goals:

  • To prevent and abate water pollution.
  • To improve and sustain public access to lands and waters.
  • To foster community stewardship and awareness of coastal resources.
  • To protect and restore natural resources.
  • To encourage a viable economy with adequate infrastructure.
  • To increase community awareness and resilience to natural hazards

In 1972, Congress passed the Coastal Zone Management Act (CZMA) in recognition of the importance of the nation's coastal resources. The NH Coastal Program gained federal approval in 1982. It is administered by the NH Department of Environmental Services.

Seventeen communities in the coastal zone Adobe Acrobat Reader Symboland 25 communities in the coastal watershed Adobe Acrobat Reader Symbolshare in the work of the NH Coastal Program.

Section 309 Assessment and Strategy

The Coastal Program has developed a five-year strategy under Section 309 of the Coastal Zone Management Act (CZMA).  Under the CZMA program, the Secretary of Commerce is authorized to make financial awards to support the attainment of one or more coastal management objectives.  Section 309 further requires that the National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration Office for Coastal Management work closely with NHCP on priority management needs and strategies. The strategy is developed every five years and was last developed in 2010. 

NHCP’s current revision of the Section 309 Assessment and Strategy Adobe Acrobat Reader Symbol identifies coastal hazards, cumulative and secondary impacts of development, and wetland protection and restoration as high priority issues. The strategy identifies specific projects for addressing these priorities. For additional information please contact Coastal Program Administrator Steve Couture at (603) 559-0027 or



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NH Department of Environmental Services | 29 Hazen Drive | PO Box 95 | Concord, NH 03302-0095
(603) 271-3503 | TDD Access: Relay NH 1-800-735-2964 | Hours: M-F, 8am-4pm

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