Coastal Smart Growth Home: Getting Started: Plan and Manage Coastal Waters

Planning and Management of Coastal Waters

Planning and management of coastal waters is needed to identify areas most suitable for various types of activities in order to reduce or prevent conflict among uses. For example, communities may want to identify locations for navigation channels, mooring or anchorage areas, swimming, open water areas, shellfishing, and other uses. Tools and techniques such as harbor management plans and special area management plans can be used to identify the areas most suitable for use, reduce conflicts among uses, and in some cases, facilitate compatible uses.

How to Get Started

Guidelines for the Preparation of Harbor Management Plans

Guide developed by New York Coastal Management Program for preparing a harbor management plan in accordance with New York State requirements. Includes information on developing and implementing harbor management plans.

Guidelines For The Development of Municipal Harbor Management Plans

This handbook produced by the Rhode Island Coastal Resources Management Council, outlines the elements of municipal harbor management plans, including processes for development and implementation for managing water uses.

Rhode Island Ocean Special Area Management Plan


The Rhode Island Ocean Special Area Management Plan, or Ocean SAMP, serves as a federally recognized coastal management and regulatory tool. Using the best available science, the Ocean SAMP provides a balanced approach to the development and protection of Rhode Island's ocean-based resources.

Initiating Local Surface Use Zoning

The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources ( produced a fact sheet answering the most frequently asked questions concerning development of water surface use management or zoning regulations.  The purpose of the zoning is to reduce user conflict while enhancing recreational uses and safety, and to protect the water bodies as natural resources of the State.