Federal consistency

BCDC reviews proposed actions by federal government agencies that are likely to affect San Francisco Bay. We collaborate through a process called “federal consistency” review.

How it works

Under the federal Coastal Zone Management Act (CZMA) of 1972, federal government agencies work together with coastal states to cooperatively manage the nation’s coasts. 

There are two main types of federal consistency reviews:

Consistency determinations

Federal agencies must evaluate how their own actions would affect San Francisco Bay. They do this in a document called a “consistency determination.” The federal agencies then submit this document to BCDC and ask for its concurrence.

Consistency determinations are needed for:

  • Federal agency activities that are likely to affect the Bay, regardless of their location
  • Federal agency development projects within BCDC’s jurisdiction

A consistency determination evaluates a proposed federal agency action using the policies found in BCDC’s “Coastal Management Program for San Francisco Bay.” The Coastal Management Program includes most of the same policies BCDC uses to evaluate non-federal projects.

Consistency certifications

“Consistency certifications” are another form of federal consistency review. You might be required to prepare a consistency certification if you are an individual, business, or state or local agency with a project that needs:

  • A federal permit or license
  • Financial assistance from a federal agency

However, BCDC does not receive many consistency certifications, because most of these projects also need BCDC permits. If you apply for a BCDC permit, you do not need to submit a separate consistency certification.

Contact us if you think you may need to submit a consistency certification.