A Guide to the Connecticut Coastal Management Program Requirements, Process, and Compliance

The Connecticut Coastal Management Program (CCMP) plays a crucial role in balancing economic development, public access, and the protection of the state's invaluable coastal resources. This comprehensive guide provides a clear and concise overview of the CCMP, focusing on the key aspects that developers and environmental consultants must understand to navigate the complex regulatory landscape successfully. By exploring the program's applicability and scope, compliance obligations, enforcement mechanisms, and recent developments, readers will gain a solid foundation in the CCMP's structure, standards, and limitations. The guide also highlights the importance of proactive engagement with relevant agencies and offers additional resources to help stakeholders stay informed and adapt to the evolving regulatory context. With this knowledge, developers and consultants will be well-equipped to manage coastal development projects responsibly, minimize environmental impacts, and contribute to the sustainable future of Connecticut's coastal communities.


Key Details of the Connecticut Coastal Management Program

Issuing Agency: Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP)
Year Established: 1980
Last Amended: 2012
Statutory Authority: The Connecticut Coastal Management Act
Primary Legal Reference: Connecticut General Statutes, Sections 22a-90 through 22a-112

Overview of the Connecticut Coastal Management Program

The Connecticut Coastal Management Program (CCMP) is a comprehensive regulatory framework established under the Connecticut Coastal Management Act of 1980. The program aims to balance the preservation and protection of the state's coastal resources with the social and economic development of the coastal area. It operates within the broader context of federal coastal management regulations, such as the Coastal Zone Management Act (CZMA) of 1972.

The CCMP is administered by the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP) and implemented through partnerships with local municipalities, state and federal agencies, and other stakeholders. The program has evolved over time, with significant amendments in 2012 to streamline the permitting process and enhance consistency with federal regulations.[^2]

The primary goals of the CCMP are to:

  1. Protect and restore coastal resources, including wetlands, beaches, and dunes
  2. Manage coastal development to minimize adverse impacts on the environment
  3. Promote water-dependent uses of the coastal zone
  4. Enhance public access to the shoreline
  5. Facilitate coordination among local, state, and federal agencies involved in coastal management[^3]

The CCMP achieves these goals through a variety of regulatory mechanisms, such as coastal site plan reviews, coastal permits, and consistency reviews for federal activities affecting the coastal zone. The program applies to all activities within the state's statutorily defined coastal boundary, which generally extends from the mean high water line inland to the first major transportation route.[^4]

What does the Connecticut Coastal Management Program protect?

The Connecticut Coastal Management Program protects a wide range of coastal resources, including:

  1. Coastal waters: The CCMP protects the state's coastal waters, including Long Island Sound, from pollution, degradation, and inappropriate development. This protection is achieved through water quality standards, discharge permits, and regulations on activities affecting coastal waters.[^5]
  2. Beaches and dunes: The program safeguards beaches and dunes from erosion, damage, and development that would impair their natural functions. Coastal site plan reviews and permits are required for activities that could affect these resources.[^6]
  3. Wetlands: Tidal wetlands, which provide critical habitat and help mitigate flooding and storm damage, are protected under the CCMP. The program requires permits for activities that would alter or destroy tidal wetlands and encourages the restoration of degraded wetlands.[^7]
  4. Wildlife and habitat: The CCMP protects coastal wildlife and their habitats, including shorebirds, shellfish, and marine mammals. This protection is achieved through habitat conservation, species management plans, and regulations on activities that could harm wildlife or their habitats.[^8]
  5. Public access: The program seeks to maintain and enhance public access to the state's coastal resources, including beaches, parks, and waterways. Coastal site plan reviews consider the impact of development on public access, and the CCMP encourages the creation of new public access points.[^9]

[^2]: "Legislative History of Connecticut's Coastal Management Act," Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection, https://portal.ct.gov/DEEP/Coastal-Resources/Coastal-Management/Legislative-History-of-Connecticuts-Coastal-Management-Act. [^3]: Conn. Gen. Stat. § 22a-92 (2012). [^4]: Conn. Gen. Stat. § 22a-94 (2012). [^5]: Conn. Gen. Stat. § 22a-98 (2012). [^6]: Conn. Gen. Stat. § 22a-109 (2012). [^7]: Conn. Gen. Stat. § 22a-32 (2012). [^8]: Conn. Gen. Stat. § 26-310 (2012). [^9]: Conn. Gen. Stat. § 22a-91 (2012).


Regulated Activities & Entities

The Connecticut Coastal Management Program (CCMP) is a comprehensive regulatory framework designed to protect and manage the state's coastal resources while balancing economic development and public access. The program applies to a wide range of activities and entities operating within Connecticut's coastal zone, which includes the state's tidal rivers, coastal waters, and adjacent shorelands.

The CCMP regulates various industries and activities that have the potential to impact coastal resources, such as:

  • Construction and development projects
  • Dredging and filling operations
  • Wastewater discharge
  • Stormwater management
  • Aquaculture and fishing
  • Recreational boating and marinas
  • Energy infrastructure, including power plants and transmission lines

Under the CCMP, certain activities and substances are prohibited due to their potential to cause significant harm to coastal resources. These include:

  1. Discharging untreated sewage or other pollutants into coastal waters1
  2. Disposing of dredged materials in a manner that adversely affects coastal resources
  3. Constructing structures that interfere with public access to the shore
  4. Engaging in activities that cause significant erosion or sedimentation
  5. Introducing non-native or invasive species into coastal ecosystems

These prohibitions are based on the recognition that certain activities and substances can have severe and long-lasting impacts on the delicate balance of coastal ecosystems, as well as on public health and safety. By prohibiting these activities, the CCMP aims to protect the integrity of Connecticut's coastal resources for current and future generations.

Structure and Key Provisions

The Connecticut Coastal Management Program is composed of several key components, including the Connecticut Coastal Management Act (CCMA), the Connecticut Coastal Management Manual, and various supporting regulations and policies.2 The program's structure is designed to provide a comprehensive and coordinated approach to coastal management, involving multiple state agencies and local governments.

Definitions (Conn. Gen. Stat. § 22a-93)

This section defines important terms used throughout the CCMP, such as "coastal waters," "coastal resources," and "water-dependent uses." Understanding these definitions is crucial for determining the applicability of the program's provisions to specific projects or activities.

Coastal Site Plan Review (Conn. Gen. Stat. § 22a-105 to 22a-109)

The Coastal Site Plan Review process is a central component of the CCMP, requiring property owners and developers to submit detailed plans for any proposed activity within the coastal boundary. This section outlines the requirements for coastal site plans, the review process, and the criteria used to evaluate the potential impacts of a project on coastal resources.

Permitting Requirements (Conn. Gen. Stat. § 22a-359 to 22a-363f)

This section establishes the permitting requirements for various activities within the coastal zone, such as dredging, filling, and the construction of structures. It also outlines the application process, fees, and the responsibilities of the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP) in reviewing and issuing permits.

Enforcement Provisions (Conn. Gen. Stat. § 22a-108)

The CCMP includes enforcement provisions that authorize the DEEP and local governments to issue cease and desist orders, impose fines, and take other actions to address violations of the program's requirements. This section also outlines the appeals process for enforcement actions.

While this overview provides a general understanding of the CCMP's structure and key provisions, it is essential for project proponents and stakeholders to consult the full text of the relevant statutes and regulations, as well as to engage with the appropriate state and local agencies for project-specific guidance. The CCMP is a complex and comprehensive program, and careful navigation of its requirements is necessary to ensure compliance and minimize potential impacts on Connecticut's valuable coastal resources.


Regulatory Standards & Limitations

The Connecticut Coastal Management Program establishes various standards and limitations to protect and preserve the state's coastal resources. These include performance standards for development activities, resource protection measures, and other relevant metrics3. The program is implemented through a combination of state and local authorities, with the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP) playing a lead role in enforcement. Developers and consultants should work closely with DEEP and local agencies to understand the specific standards and limitations applicable to their projects.

Monitoring, Reporting & Recordkeeping Obligations

Regulated entities under the Connecticut Coastal Management Program are subject to various monitoring, reporting, and recordkeeping requirements. These obligations may include regular monitoring of environmental conditions, submission of periodic reports to relevant agencies, and maintenance of detailed records related to compliance activities4. The specific requirements can vary depending on the nature and scope of the project. Developers and consultants should engage with the appropriate agencies early in the planning process to clarify and fulfill these obligations for their specific projects5.

Enforcement Actions & Penalties

The Connecticut Coastal Management Program provides for a range of enforcement actions and penalties for violations of its provisions. These may include notices of violation, administrative orders, civil penalties, and, in severe cases, criminal penalties6. The specific enforcement actions and penalty amounts can vary depending on factors such as the nature and severity of the violation, the violator's compliance history, and the extent of environmental harm caused7. To minimize the risk of enforcement actions, developers and consultants should prioritize proactive compliance and early engagement with the relevant agencies8. It is crucial to consult the full text of the regulation and work closely with DEEP and local authorities to understand the specific enforcement provisions and penalty structures that may apply to a given project9.


Recent Developments & Regulatory Outlook

In recent years, the Connecticut Coastal Management Program has undergone several notable developments that have shaped the current regulatory landscape. One of the most significant changes was the passage of Public Act 12-101, "An Act Concerning the Coastal Management Act and Shoreline Flood and Erosion Control Structures," in 2012. This act amended the Connecticut Coastal Management Act to provide clearer guidance on the construction and maintenance of shoreline flood and erosion control structures, such as seawalls and revetments.

Another important development was the release of the updated Connecticut Coastal Management Manual in 2020. This manual serves as a comprehensive guide for state and local officials, developers, and environmental consultants, providing detailed information on the policies, procedures, and best practices related to coastal management in Connecticut.10

Looking ahead, the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP) is expected to continue its efforts to address the impacts of climate change on the state's coastal resources. In 2021, DEEP released the Connecticut Coastal Resilience Plan, which outlines strategies for adapting to sea-level rise, increasing storm intensity, and other climate-related challenges.11 Stakeholders should monitor the implementation of this plan and any associated regulatory changes that may affect coastal development projects.

To stay informed about ongoing developments related to the Connecticut Coastal Management Program, interested parties can:

  • Monitor the Connecticut DEEP website, particularly the Coastal Management Program page
  • Subscribe to the Connecticut DEEP's email newsletters and alerts
  • Attend public meetings, workshops, and hearings organized by the Connecticut DEEP and local coastal municipalities
  • Engage with industry associations, such as the Connecticut Association of Flood Managers or the Connecticut Marine Trades Association

By staying informed and actively participating in the regulatory process, developers and environmental consultants can better navigate the evolving landscape of coastal management in Connecticut.

Additional Resources

Connecticut Coastal Management Act (CCMA): The full text of the Connecticut Coastal Management Act, which establishes the framework for the state's Coastal Management Program.

Connecticut Coastal Management Manual (2020): A comprehensive guide for state and local officials, developers, and environmental consultants, providing detailed information on the policies, procedures, and best practices related to coastal management in Connecticut.

Connecticut Coastal Resilience Plan (2021): A plan outlining strategies for adapting to climate change impacts on Connecticut's coastal resources, such as sea-level rise and increasing storm intensity.

Living Shoreline Projects in Connecticut: A list of living shoreline projects in Connecticut, which serve as examples of alternative approaches to traditional shoreline stabilization methods.

Connecticut Coastal Access Guide: A guide providing information on public access to Connecticut's coastal areas, including beaches, parks, and boat launches.


  1. Conn. Gen. Stat. § 22a-427 (2021) https://www.cga.ct.gov/current/pub/chap_446k.htm#sec_22a-427

  2. Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection. (2000). Connecticut Coastal Management Manual https://portal.ct.gov/DEEP/Coastal-Resources/Coastal-Management/Connecticut-Coastal-Management-Manual

  3. Conn. Gen. Stat. § 22a-92 (2021), https://www.cga.ct.gov/current/pub/chap_444.htm#sec_22a-92

  4. "Connecticut Coastal Management Manual," Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection, September 2000, https://portal.ct.gov/-/media/DEEP/coastal-resources/coastal_management_manual/manual_08.pdf

  5. Ibid.

  6. Conn. Gen. Stat. § 22a-108 (2021), https://www.cga.ct.gov/current/pub/chap_444.htm#sec_22a-108

  7. "Enforcement," Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection, https://portal.ct.gov/DEEP/Enforcement/Enforcement

  8. "Connecticut Coastal Management Manual," Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection, September 2000, https://portal.ct.gov/-/media/DEEP/coastal-resources/coastal_management_manual/manual_08.pdf

  9. Ibid.

  10. Connecticut Coastal Management Manual (2020), https://portal.ct.gov/-/media/DEEP/coastal-resources/coastal_management_manual/Coastal-Management-Manual-Version-20.pdf

  11. Connecticut Coastal Resilience Plan (2021), https://portal.ct.gov/-/media/DEEP/coastal-resources/coastal_resilience/CT-Coastal-Resilience-Plan-DRAFT.pdf

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A Note to Our Readers: We hope this guide is a valuable resource in helping you better understand the Connecticut CMP. However, it's not a substitute for professional advice and doesn't cover every scenario. Always consult with regulatory bodies and professionals for the most current advice and project-specific guidance.