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Delaware Coastal Programs Section


The mission of the Delaware Coastal Programs Section is to preserve, protect, develop and enhance the resources of our state’s coastal zone through effective administration of the Delaware Coastal Management Program and the Delaware National Estuarine Research Reserve.

The Delaware Coastal Management Program (DCMP) is designed to protect, develop, and where possible, enhance the coastal resources of the state. Specifically, DCMP:

  • Manages coastal resources through innovative research projects, education and grant programs, and policy development 
  • Administers the Coastal Zone Federal Consistency Certification program
  • Provides special area management planning
  • Provides assistance to state and local governments for local land use planning
  • Offers other special on-the-ground projects related to Delaware's coastal resources

The Delaware National Estuarine Research Reserve (DNERR) is one of 28 National Estuarine Research Reserves across the country. Our mission is to preserve and manage the natural resources within the Reserve as a place for research, to provide education and outreach programs that promote better understanding of Delaware’s estuarine and coastal areas, and to promote informed coastal decision-making. Specifically, DNERR:

  • Manages estuarine resources through innovative research projects, education and grant programs for improved policy development.
  • Provides two sites totaling 6,206 acres in size at the St. Jones Reserve and Blackbird Creek Reserve for a place-based approach to research and education
  • Conducts and coordinates collaborative management-oriented research and monitoring to address priority coastal and estuarine issues 
  • Provides technical assistance and skill building opportunities to state and local governments on priority coastal and estuarine issues
  • Enhances public awareness and understanding of the value and functions of estuaries and coastal ecosystems

The Delaware Coastal and Estuarine Land Conservation Program (CELCP) is a land acquisition program funded by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.  It provides grants to eligible state agencies and local governments to acquire property or conservation easements from willing sellers within a state's coastal zone or coastal watershed boundary.

The CELCP program is administered as a three-stage process: development of a state CELCP plan, a state competitive process to identify top projects (run by the state's lead agency), and a national peer-review competition.

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Delaware Coastal Programs
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