Laws that Protect Our Beaches

Photo of books for Clean Water Act
  • Clean Water Act
    The Clean Water Act (CWA) establishes the basic structure for regulating discharges of pollutants into the waters of the United States and regulating quality standards for surface waters. The basis of the CWA was enacted in 1948 and was called the Federal Water Pollution Control Act, but the Act was significantly reorganized and expanded in 1972. "Clean Water Act" became the Act's common name with amendments in 1972.

    Under the CWA, EPA has implemented pollution control programs such as setting wastewater standards for industry. We have also set water quality standards for all contaminants in surface waters.
    • BEACH Act
      The BEACH Act addresses pathogens and pathogen indicators in coastal recreation waters. It was signed into law on October 10, 2000, amending the Clean Water Act. The BEACH Act required EPA to develop performance criteria for testing, monitoring, and notifying public users of possible coastal recreation water problems.
    • Clean Boating Act
      Congress passed the Clean Boating Act (CBA) in 2008 as another amendment to the Clean Water Act. The CBA requires EPA to identify discharges incidental to the normal operation of recreational vessels and to develop management practices can help to limit the amount of pollution discharged into our nation's waters.

      This site is intended to answer many questions the recreational boater may have concerning the CBA, EPA's responsibilities under the CBA, and the development of a new regulation that affects recreational boaters.
  • Coastal Zone Management Act
    The Coastal Zone Management Act (CZMA) was designed to help protect valuable natural coastal resources such as wetlands, floodplains, estuaries, beaches, dunes, barrier islands, and coral reefs, as well as the fish and wildlife using those habitats. It includes areas bordering the Atlantic, Pacific, and Arctic Oceans, Gulf of Mexico, Long Island Sound, and Great Lakes.

    CZMA encourages states and tribes to preserve, protect, develop, and where possible, restore or enhance these resources, but a unique feature of this law is that participation by states and tribes is voluntary. To encourage states and tribes to participate, the act makes federal financial assistance available.
  • Laws that Protect Oceans
    There are several additional important laws that work to protect beaches and beach water quality by protecting the ocean.

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