What is Coastal Area Management Act (CAMA), and when would I need a CAMA permit?

CAMA is the Coastal Area Management Act. It was passed into law in 1974 and is meant to protect coastal resources in our state through an integrated system of land and water management.

  • When is a CAMA permit required?
    • A CAMA major or minor permit is required for most development within an AEC.
  • What is an AEC?
    • An AEC is an Area of Environmental Concern. Four groups of AECs are defined by CAMA:
      • Estuarine System - this includes coastal wetlands, estuarine waters, public trust areas and coastal shoreline.
      • Ocean Hazard Areas - this includes ocean erodible areas, high hazard flood areas, inlet hazard areas, and unvegetated beach.
      • Public Water Supplies - which are small surface supply watersheds or public water supply well fields in the Wilmington area.
      • Natural and Cultural Resource Areas - this includes complex natural areas, unique geological formations, significant archeological and historic architectural resources.
  • What is considered development?
    • The Coastal Area Management Act defines development as “any activity in a duly designated area of environmental concern... involving, requiring or consisting of the construction or enlargement of a structure; excavation; dredging; filling; dumping; removal of clay, silt, sand, gravel or minerals; bulkheading; driving of pilings; clearing or alteration of land as an adjunct of construction; alteration or removal of sand dunes; alteration of the shore, bank or bottom of the Atlantic Ocean or any sound, bay, river, creek, stream, lake or canal; or placement of a floating structure in an Area of Environmental Concern identified in G.S. 113A-113(b)(2) or (b)(5){NCGS 113A-103(5)(a)}.”

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1. What is Coastal Area Management Act (CAMA), and when would I need a CAMA permit?