Coastal & Estuarine Land Conservation Program

What is CELCP?
The Coastal and Estuarine Land Conservation Program (CELCP) is a Federal funding program that helps states protect coastal and estuarine lands that are important for their ecological, conservation, recreational, historical or aesthetic values. The program provides state and local governments with matching funds to purchase significant coastal lands or easements from willing sellers. Lands or easements acquired with CELCP funds are protected in perpetuity so that they may be enjoyed by future generations.

From 2002-2007, the program awarded $200 million to protect over 35,000 acres of land in 26 states.

How CELCP Works
Congress created the CELCP in 2002 as a competitive grant program.  Each year, eligible states are invited to submit grant applications for up to three acquisition projects.  Historically, each project could receive a maximum of $3,000,000, which has to be matched at a ratio of 1:1.  Note that the program is subject to annual appropriations, and funding levels change from year to year.

As the lead state agency for the CELCP, the Division of Coastal Management (DCM) announces the annual competition, receives and selects state projects for the competition, and coordinates the state’s application and awards.  DCM encourages potential applicants to contact us to discuss potential projects prior to submitting an application, and works closely with applicants to strengthen their proposals. 

After receiving all state applications, NOAA ranks all of the project proposals according to established criteria and delivers their ranked list to Congress for final approval.  Congress makes the final awards based on funding availability. 

The NC CELCP Plan describes and maps the state’s priority coastal conservation areas, and establishes a process for selecting project proposals.

Only states that have prepared a CELCP Plan are eligible to compete for grants.  Plans have to be prepared according to the national Guidelines, and have to be approved by NOAA.  North Carolina’s CELCP Plan was completed in a multi-year, multi-stakeholder process, and was approved by NOAA in December 2007, making North Carolina fully eligible to compete for funding.

How to Apply for a CELCP Grant
Before you decide to apply for CELCP funds, we encourage you to contact us for a preliminary consultation.  Take the time to review the Federal Guidelines and the NC CELCP Plan to understand the eligibility and matching requirements.  Be aware that public-private partnerships are common and very often successful!

Applications are only accepted during the annual open period.  The timing varies from year to year so be sure to check this page for updates.  States typically have about sixty days to submit applications after NOAA publishes its Notice of Funding Availability (NOFA) in the Federal Register. Applications must be submitted on standard forms that will be provided in competition notice.

NC CELCP Awards to Date

FY2007:  NC awarded $400,125 for one acquisition project in Tyrrell County.
FY2008:  NC awarded $3,000,000 for one acquisition project in Gates County.
FY2009:  No award.
FY2010:  No award.
FY2011:  No award.
FY2012: One proposal submitted.

Program Contact
For questions about the NC CELCP program or applying for a grant please contact Tancred Miller at (252) 808-2808.

North Carolina CELCP Plan

National CELCP Website

National CELCP Guidelines