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Federal Consistency Review: Coastal Zone Management Program

A. Legal Authority

  • Coastal Zone Management Act of 1972, as amended, Public Law 92-5 83, 16 U.S.C. 1451 et seq.
  • Title 15 CFR, Part 930, Federal Consistency with Approved Coastal Zone Management Programs
  • Chapter 205A, Part I, HRS, Hawaii Coastal Zone Management Act


B. Purpose

The Hawaii Coastal Zone Management Act provides a broad set of Hawaii-specific goals, objectives and policies, consistent with the Federal Coastal Zone Management Act, that deal with protection, management, development, restoration and enhancement of coastal zone recreational, historic, scenic, open space, economic and ecosystem resources (Chapter 205A, HRS). In Hawaii, the regulation of activities within the coastal zone is separated into three areas: Federal Consistency Review, administered by the Coastal Zone Management Program, within the Office of State Planning (OSP), Department of Business, Economic Development, and Tourism (DBEDT); and Special Management Area Permits and Shoreline Setback Variances, both administered by the respective counties.

Federal law requires that federal agencies conduct their planning, management, development and regulatory activities in a manner consistent with the state Coastal Zone Management Program (CZMP). Pursuant to federal regulation, the state may review all federal activities within the coastal zone for consistency with the CZMP. If the state determines the federal action is not consistent with its CZMP, the federal activity cannot go forward unless the U.S. Secretary of Commerce overrides the determination.

C. Applicability to Aquaculture

In Hawaii, the Coastal Zone Management Area (Coastal Zone) is defined as all marine waters extending from the upper reaches of the wash of the waves on the shore seaward to the limit of the state’s police power and management authority, including the United State’s territorial sea and all land areas, excluding those lands designated as state forest reserves. Activities within the Coastal Zone that are federally funded require a federal permit or license, or are conducted by the federal government and directly impact the Coastal Zone, are subject to review for consistency with the state’s CZMP.

Aquaculture facilities that require a Department of the Army permit from the Army Corps of Engineers will be sent to the state CZMP for consistency review, as part of the federal permit process. The review process generally involves:

  • Determination by the proponent and applicable federal agency as to whether the activity is consistent with the CZMP;
  • Submission of the determination, CZMP forms and related information to the OSP for review;
  • OSP’s concurrence with or objection to the determination; and
  • OSP’s non-concurrence can be appealed to the Secretary of Commerce.

D. Administering Agency

The Office of State Planning and its Coastal Zone Management Program are administered by the Department of Business, Economic Development & Tourism (DBEDT). The CZMP is responsible for administering Hawaii’s Program and conducting Federal Consistency Reviews.

Coastal Zone Management Program
Office of State Planning
Department of Business, Economic Development & Tourism
235 S. Beretania Street, 6th Floor
Honolulu, Hawaii 96813-2419
Phone: 808-587-2878
Web site:

E. Information Requirements

Detailed instructions for preparing the consistency assessment are found in “Hawaii Coastal Zone Management Program Federal Consistency Procedures Guide”, available on the OSP web site above. The basic application submittal for review includes the following items: CZM application form, detailed project description, CZM Assessment Form (detailed list of questions on potential impacts), site location map, project plans or drawings, copy of the Section 401 Water Quality Certification application and such supplemental information as required. If an EA or EIS is prepared for another permit process then it could be included to supplement the available information.

F. Public Participation

Public notice of a consistency review is required and is generally provided through the federal agency public notice. Responses are usually requested within 30 days of the notice. The OSP weighs all written public comments pertaining to the enforceable CZMP policies applicable to the project. Public hearings on the proposed activity, if any, conducted by the federal agency are also a source of public input into the consistency review process.

G. Process Time

The processing time for a consistency review varies with the scope and complexity of the project. After receipt of the necessary information, OSP conducts a preliminary review and may request additional information. Next, input from agencies and the public will be requested. When the review is completed, a determination will be made. If OSP determines that the proposed activity is not consistent with the CZMP objectives, it will recommend alternative measures that would make the project consistent.

H. Sequence of Filing

The proposed federal funding, permit or activity cannot go forward until the consistency determination is obtained. Therefore, the review process should be initiated early in the project planning and federal permitting process.

I. Cost

There is no fee associated with the consistency review. The cost of preparing the necessary information will depend on the scope and complexity of the proposed activity. Generally, most of the necessary information will have been prepared in conjunction with other applicable permits.

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Department of Agriculture – Aquaculture and Livestock Services
99-941 Halawa Valley Street
Aiea, Hawaii 96701-5602
Phone: 808-483-7130
Fax: 808-483-7110
Web site:


Pacific Region Aquaculture and Coastal Resource Hub
2525 Correa Road, HIG 238
Honolulu, HI 96822
Phone: (808) 956-7031

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