Coastal zones in the United States are becoming overpopulated and underlying ecosystems are being degraded. The ecosystem services that coastal zones provide will be compromised if we follow the current management path. As the population in these areas increases, so too does the amount of non-point source pollution. Integrated coastal zone management programs are needed to address non-point source pollution. Coastal zones are also in peril due to the current projections of sea level rise caused by climate change. A precautionary approach, such as that employed in Australia and New Zealand, must be used to protect coastal zones from the effects of global warming. The Coastal Zone Management Act (CZMA) of 1972 was created to preserve and protect coastal areas from pollution and overpopulation. The purpose of this paper is to examine the effectiveness of the CZMA and the challenges it will face going forward.