Coastal Zone Management (CZM) Federal Consistency

What is the purpose of this federal consistency?
The 1972 federal Coastal Zone Management Act provides coastal states with federally-approved Coastal Zone Management programs an opportunity to evaluate and comment on certain federal actions that may have an effect on a state’s coastal resources or uses. Federal actions include:
  • Federal activities and development projects (includes direct agency funding assistance)
  • Projects that require a federal license or permit
Federal agencies or federal license or permit applicants must demonstrate that their project is consistent with the state’s Coastal Zone Management program by showing consistency with specific policies within the program. In Washington, federal agencies or federal license or permit applicants must demonstrate consistency with Washington’s Coastal Zone Management Program (WCZMP) by submitting to the Department of Ecology (Ecology) a Consistency Determination (if the proponent is a federal agency) or a Consistency Certification (if the proponent is seeking a federal license or permit). The Determinations must describe how their projects are consistent with the policies of the WCZMP. Ecology will review the Consistency documents and will issue either a “concurrence,” a “conditional concurrence,” or an “objection.” Ecology will look for a description of how the project is consistent with the policies of the WCZMP found in the following four laws and their implementing regulations:
  • The Shoreline Management Act
  • The Water Pollution Control Act
  • The Washington Clean Air Act
  • The Ocean Resources Management Act
For more information on the WCZMP and federal consistency requirements, go to the home page link noted in the "Links" section below.
Who issues this federal consistency?
Department of Ecology
What activities require this federal consistency?
Federal agency activities and developments and projects requiring a federal license or permit, and which are proposed within any of Washington's 15 coastal counties. The coastal counties are the 15 counties from Whatcom south to Wahkiakum that border the Puget Sound or Pacific Ocean. (see notes/comments below)
How much will this federal consistency cost?
No cost.
Do I need to include anything with my application?
There is no specific application required, but optional forms are available in order to complete the “Certificate of Consistency” or the “Consistency Determination” and can be accessed on Ecology's Coastal zone management federal consistency review web page ( Provide Ecology with all Necessary Data and Information required at 15 CFR 930.39 in the Code of Federal Regulations. See the "Links" section below.
Is the decision on my federal consistency dependent on anything besides the information in my application?
No, as long as you have included an analysis of compliance with the enforceable policies and/or received any required permits; AND you have submitted any Necessary Data and Information as noted in the above question.
How long will it take to review my application?
Ecology has 60 days for federal projects and six months for licenses, permits, or funding projects to render a decision. Ecology will review the consistency documents and will issue one of the following decisions:
  • A concurrence
  • A concurrence with conditions
  • An objection
Where do I submit my application?
Department of Ecology Shorelands and Environmental Assistance Program Federal Permit Coordinator Post Office Box 47600 Olympia, Washington 98504-7600 E-mail:
How long is my federal consistency valid?
For the length of the project.
What is the appeal process for the federal consistency?
Disagreements between federal agencies and the state on federal projects should be resolved through dialogue on the outstanding issues of a project with formal and informal mediation available as a forum for resolving disputes. Where a state objects to the issuance of a federal license or permit, the applicant may appeal to the Secretary of the U.S. Department of Commerce requesting an override of the state objection. See 15 CFR subpart H. Mediation is also a potential means for resolving a state objection and can be done in formal or formal venues.
Notes / Comments:
Washington's 15 coastal counties include:
  • Clallam
  • Grays Harbor
  • Island
  • Jefferson
  • King
  • Kitsap
  • Mason
  • Pacific
  • Pierce
  • San Juan
  • Skagit
  • Snohomish
  • Thurston
  • Wahkiakum
  • Whatcom
Legal Authority:
Where can I get permitting assistance?
Web page URL:
Subject matter expert phone: 360-407-6068
Subject matter expert email:
Department of Ecology
300 Desmond Drive
PO Box 47600
Olympia, WA 98504-7600
Telephone: (360) 407-6000
* Permit information last updated 1/10/2022