Logo graphic for the Coastal Resources Division
Marsh Permits

Coastal Marshlands Protection Act (O.C.G.A. 12-5-280, et seq.)


With approximately 378,000 acres of salt marsh, Georgia has almost 1/3 of the total salt marsh area on the eastern seaboard. The coastal marshlands of Georgia comprise a vital natural resource system. Our marsh is important for the growth and survival of the fish and shellfish that makes Georgia’s famous seafood industry so productive. Our marsh is essential in the treatment of polluted run-off that originates from the uplands. Our marsh is vital for our protection from erosion and from coastal flooding during storm events. Our coastal marshlands provide a natural recreation resource which has become vitally linked to the economy of Georgia's coastal zone and to that of the entire state. It is one of the most pristine coastal areas in the country, and it needs protection if it is to remain so. 


In 1970, the State of Georgia established the Coastal Marshlands Protection Act (CMPA) to protect the marsh and estuarine areas, and to regulate the activities within these public trust lands that are held for the citizens of Georgia. Through the Georgia Department of Natural Resources, Coastal Resources Division (GADNR-CRD), the CMPA is enacted to protect the estuarine area so that residents and visitors of Georgia alike can fish, boat, use, and enjoy all our salt marsh and tidal waters have to offer. Activities and structures in the coastal marshlands are regulated to ensure that the values and functions of the coastal marshlands are not impaired and to fulfill the responsibilities of each generation. As public trustees of the coastal marshlands for succeeding generations, GADNR-CRD allows for the sustainable use of the estuarine area through permits and other methods of authorization that will preserve the condition of the marsh while still allowing for its enjoyment.

The CMPA permit application process is intended for structures that will impact jurisdictional marsh and tidal water bodies. Structures covered under the Act include marinas, community docks, bridges, dredging, bank stabilizations longer than 500’, modification to any such structure, and any construction not exempted from the Act. 

The CMPA Permit-Issuing Authority consists of a five member GADNR Board appointed group called the Coastal Marshlands Protection Act Committee. Depending on the size and nature of a project, the application materials may be heard by the Committee in a public meeting forum. Projects to be considered must be water dependent and within the public interest.   


CMPA Permit Application 

Review how CMPA Jurisdictional Areas are determined

Information on CMPA Jurisdictional Plants  

Review projects on Public Notice  

Review projects Pending approval by CMPA & SPA Joint Committee  

Information regarding the CMPA & SPA Joint Committee   


Review CMPA Law and Regulations 

Coastal Marshlands Protection Act (O.C.G.A. 12-5-280, et seq.)