Maryland Coastal Consistency Review

Maryland Coastal Zone Management Program

The Maryland Coastal Zone Management Program (CZMP) is a partnership among local, regional and State agencies. As a networked program administered by the Maryland Department of Natural Resources, no one State agency or Department is solely responsible for implementing the Program along Maryland's entire coast, rather all partner agencies help to ensure its proper management. As a networked partner, the Maryland Department of the Environment (MDE) supports the CZMP's efforts to ensure that proposed federal activities are consistent with Maryland's coastal resource objectives and policies.

The Federal Consistency provision is a cornerstone of the National Coastal Zone Management Act Program and a primary incentive for states’ participation. It gives coastal states such as Maryland a strong voice regarding federal actions that have reasonably foreseeable effects on coastal resources and uses. Federal Consistency Review provides Maryland with an important tool to manage our coastal uses and resources and to facilitate cooperation and coordination with Federal agencies and industry.

Under the Coastal Zone Management Act (CZMA), direct Federal actions, Federal license or permit activities and federal financial assistance activities that have reasonably foreseeable coastal effects must be consistent with the enforceable policies of state coastal management programs approved by NOAA. The process by which a state decides whether a federal action meets its enforceable policies is called federal consistency review.

The goal of MD Coastal Consistency reviews is to ensure that federal-related projects or activities with foreseeable effects on Maryland coastal resources (e.g., wetlands, forests, rivers, beaches) and coastal uses (e.g., navigation, fishing, agriculture, energy development) are consistent with Maryland CZMP’s enforceable policies (effective 7/6/2020), available as downloadable policy area checklists.

 
CZM map

​​​​​

For Federal Permits and Licenses that are not associated with a U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Permit and include the submission of a Joint Federal/State Permit Application (JPA) to MDE, please follow the Maryland Coastal Consistency Review steps, as described in detail below, to initiate the review process for your project or activity. The Coastal Consistency Request Form is not required for projects that involve the submission of a JPA unless specifically requested to be completed by MDE. Applicants are encouraged to send this completed form via email, along with supporting documentation, to the lead agency contact(s) listed above and copy Maryland Department of Environment or Maryland Department of Natural Resources counterparts to ensure that each project or activity review request gets a prompt response and a comprehensive and thorough review.

The core team listed above, which actively supports each other’s roles, is also supported by numerous staff from network partner agencies who conduct reviews to ensure projects and activities are consistent with Maryland’s enforceable policies. More information on the federal consistency review process is available at https://coast.noaa.gov/czm/consistency/.

 

Overview of the MD Consistency Review Process

  • Step 1 - Determine Applicability of Federal Consistency Review to Your Project or Activity
  • Step 2 - If Federal Consistency Review Does Apply, Determine the Category That Best Fits Your Project or Activity
  • Step 3 - Determine Timing of Review within Project or Activity Schedule
  • Step 4 - All Projects and Activities with Significant Impacts* - Download Relevant Policy Area Checklists
  • Step 5 - Frame and Develop Your Consistency Review Package
  • Step 6 - Submit Consistency Review Request Package
  • Step 7 - Ensure Consistency Review Package is Complete & Accurate
  • Step 8 - Coastal Consistency Review by Network Partner Policy Area Experts
  • Step 9 - Coastal Consistency Decision Issued.

Following the above process can help you keep your project or activity on track while ensuring timely, effective reviews that protect coastal resources and avoid or minimize coastal use conflicts. The process may vary depending on the type, location, timing, and scale and complexity of project or activity. Early consultation is strongly encouraged. See process details below.​​

 

Step 1 - Determine Applicability of Federal Consistency Review to Your Project or Activity.

 

Please answer the following:

  1. Does my project include a federal action or decision?
  2. Is my project or activity located in or near Maryland’s Coastal Zone?
  3. Does my project have “reasonably foreseeable coastal effects”? That is, does my project or activity impact coastal resources or cause coastal use conflicts (see Policies) directly, indirectly or cumulatively?

If your answer is “yes” to these questions, your project or activity is likely subject to Federal Consistency Review. If you are not sure, please check with Joseph Abe (Maryland Department of Natural Resources) at joseph.abe@maryland.gov or 410-260-8740.

Step 2 - If Federal Consistency Review Does Apply, Determine the Category That Best Fits Your Project or Activity.

 
  • Subpart C - Federal Activities & Development Projects (15 C.F.R. Part 930, Subpart C)
  • Subpart D - Federal License or Permit Activity (15 C.F.R. Part 930, Subpart D)
  • Subpart E - Outer Continental Shelf Exploration, Development & Production Activities (15 C.F.R. Part 930, Subpart E)
  • Subpart F - Federal Financial Assistance to State and Local Governments (15 C.F.R. Part 930, Subpart F)

Not sure about the Category?
Contact staff listed above.

​​

Step 3 - Determine Timing of Review within Project or Activity Schedule.

 

Subpart C - Federal Activities & Development Projects - If there are no effects, the federal agency provides the MD CZMP with a negative determination at least 90 days prior to final approval (15 CFR § 930.35). (b) If there are effects, the federal agency submits a consistency determination to the MD CZMP at least 90 days prior to final federal approval. The MD CZMP has 60 days to review both consistency determinations and negative determinations and reserves the right, when necessary, to request an additional 15 days to complete its review. The 60-day review period begins when MD CZMP receives the consistency determination and sufficient supporting information as described in 15 CFR Part 930, §930.39(a).

Subpart D - Federal Licence or Permit Activity - The MD CZMP establishes deadlines and distributes the documents to reviewers. If there are applicable enforceable policies, MD CZMP will coordinate a consistency review for those activities. The six-month review begins upon receipt of the required information. If the only applicable enforceable policies are permit programs under the jurisdiction of Maryland’’s laws, and the applicant has received all the applicable permits or approvals, MD may decide to do an in-house review of the consistency certification. To facilitate this uncoordinated or limited review, the applicant must attach the pertinent approvals to a Federal Consistency Certification.

Subpart E - Outer Continental Shelf Exploration, Development & Production Activities (15 C.F.R. part 930, subpart E) - BOEM approvals for OCS plans, pursuant to the Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act. The CZMA process is similar to federal license or permit activities.

Subpart F - Financial Assistance to State & Local Government For listed activities, MD CZMP conducts the review concurrently with the intergovernmental review (usually about 30 days, longer for larger more complex projects). If none of the enforceable policies are applicable, no further action is required for the purposes of consistency. If the applicable enforceable policies are administered through permit programs, MD CZMP may issue a conditional concurrence contingent upon the applicant obtaining all applicable permits. If the applicant claims an exemption from Maryland’s permitting process, MD CZMP contacts the agencies administering the enforceable policies to ensure the project is consistent with the enforceable policy although a permit is not required.

Questions and Answers


​​
​​

Step 4 - All Projects and Activities with Significant Impacts* - Download Relevant Policy Area Checklists

 

Download Relevant Policy Area Checklists

Please select & download relevant policy area checklists that pertain to your project or activity. In selecting policy area checklists, please consider the nature of the project or activity, the location or geographic area impacted, and the scale of complexity or impacts to coastal resources and coastal uses.

* Projects such as HUD-funded rehabilitation of an apartment complex often require just the Request form and supporting documentation.

​​

Step 5 - Frame and Develop Your Consistency Review Package.

 

Please use downloaded policy area checklists, as needed, to frame your consistency determination, negative determination or consistency certification. Applicants may use the checklists in a number of ways, including:

  • Complete and include policy area checklists as an integral part of consistency review package,
  • Use the policy area checklists to help frame and develop a stand-alone federal consistency document (e.g. a federal consistency determination for a project at a Department of Defense facility) or
  • Include consistency documentation framed by policy area checklists as part of a NEPA document (e.g., a consistency determination included as part of NEPA document for a multi-year airport improvement plan required by FAA).

See information requirements below for:


​​

Step 6: Submit Consistency Review Request Package.

 

For applicants seeking reviews under Subparts C, E and F:

Complete request form here. Once request is submitted, please upload your consistency documents* and supporting documents (maps, diagrams, reports and letters listed on Request Form) here.

  • Select documents for uploading on your computer or external drive
  • Press “upload” to open documents to begin uploading

For Department of Defense projects or activities, please use Federal Consistency Determination format described here.

For applicants seeking review under Subpart D for a U.S Army Corps of Engineers Federal License or Permit and will be submitting a JOINT FEDERAL/STATE APPLICATION FOR THE ALTERATION OF ANY FLOODPLAIN, WATERWAY, TIDAL OR NONTIDAL WETLAND IN MARYLAND please find the documents for that application here.

Note: MDE’s Joint Federal/State Permit Application (JPA) for the Alteration of any Floodplain, Waterway, Tidal or Nontidal Wetland in Maryland review process includes applicant certification that the project is consistent with MD CZMP relevant policies.

For all other applicants seeking review under Subpart D: Complete request form and upload your consistency documents* and supporting documents (maps, diagrams, reports and letters listed on Request Form) here.

  • Select documents for uploading on your computer or external drive
  • Press “upload” to open documents to begin uploading
​​​​

Step 7 - Ensure Consistency Review Package is Complete & Accurate.

 

For all categories of review, Maryland CZMP network reviewers review your package for completeness and accuracy. Please respond to requests or inquiries promptly to ensure timely, effective reviews.

Step 8 - Coastal Consistency Review by Network Partner Policy Area Experts.

 

Subparts C, E, D (projects that require federal authorization beyond authorizations associated with U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Permits) and F:

Once the package is deemed complete, policy area review experts review your project or activity to assess consistency with their respective policy area (e.g., Critical Area, Tidal Wetlands, Development). Based on information provided, each expert accepts a project as consistent with Policy Area, includes Conditions for Consistency or Recommends An Objection (Rare).

Subpart D - Projects associated with U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Permit:

By signing and submitting the JOINT FEDERAL/STATE APPLICATION FOR THE ALTERATION OF ANY FLOODPLAIN, WATERWAY, TIDAL OR NONTIDAL WETLAND IN MARYLAND, the applicant certifies that the proposed works are consistent with the enforceable policies of Maryland's CZMP.

Step 9 - Coastal Consistency Decision Issued.

 

Subparts C, E, D (projects that require federal authorization beyond authorizations associated with U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Permits) and F:

For simple reviews, an email response conveys State concurrence with project or activity.

For projects or activities with medium-level effects, a more detailed email response is drafted and sent. It usually explains the basis of decision and conditions for concurrence (including permit approval, Critical Area concurrence, consultation with Maryland Historical Trust)

For modified projects: When projects that previously received concurrence are modified, applicants often send email requesting approval of changes. After a short review and check-in with policy area experts, a short concurrence email is sent which may or may not have conditions.

For larger, more complex projects and Subpart D projects associated with a U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Permit where a JOINT FEDERAL/STATE APPLICATION FOR THE ALTERATION OF ANY FLOODPLAIN, WATERWAY, TIDAL OR NONTIDAL WETLAND IN MARYLAND was submitted: A multi-page concurrence letter and/or permit authorization is sent to the applicant generally conveying conditions, right to appeal and next steps.

 

Contact Information

Heather Nelson, Federal Consistency Coordinator, Maryland Department of the Environment

HNelson@maryland.gov

410-537-3528


Joseph Abe, Coastal Policy Coordinator, Maryland Department of Natural Resources

Joseph.Abe@maryland.gov

410-260-8740


Resources & Tools