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Coastal Issues & Virginia CZM Program Initiatives

 VA CZM logo

 Dragon Run aerial

Protecting Blue and Green Infrastructure

Virginia CZM is leading an effort to map Virginia's land- and water-based resources and provide citizens and resource managers a comprehensive and user-friendly online portal to this information - Virginia Coastal Geospatial and Educational Mapping System (GEMS), including an assessment to rank terrestrial and aquatic areas for their ecological value - Coastal Virginia Ecological Value Assessment (VEVA).

Go to Virginia CZM Program Blue and Green Infrastructure Issue page.

Coastal GEMS Fact Sheet - updated January 2014 (pdf)

Coastal VEVA Fact Sheet - updated January 2014 (pdf)

 Village of Oyster during Hurricane

Adapting to Climate Change

Virginia CZM is focusing some of its funding on projects that will help its coastal localities adapt to the effects of climate change.

Go to Virginia CZM Program Climate Change Issue page.

 Mather Gorge

Middle Peninsula Public Access Authority Signage on Browne Tract

Magothy Bay NAP

Conserving Sensitive Coastal Lands

Virginia CZM is using a variety of tools to protect sensitive coastal habitat.

CZMA Funding
Since 1991, Virginia CZM Program funds have been used to acquire over 2,323 acres.

CELCP Funding
Since 2002, the Virginia CZM Program has received about $8 million in federal CELCP Funds from NOAA to conserve over 300 acres of prime natural area.

Public Access Authorities
In 2002, the Virginia General Assembly approved the first regional public access authority in the Middle Peninsula and one quickly followed in the Northern Neck. With support from the Virginia CZM Program, this PAA is helping meet the Governor's goal.

Land Conservation Partnership Agreements - The Southern Tip Partnership and Land Conservation of Virginia's Eastern Shore
Acquiring and managing lands on a large scale is much easier with partners. A formal partnership such as the "Southern Tip" MOU on Virginia's Eastern Shore is a great example.


Enhancing Public Access & Promoting Ecotourism

Increasing the public's access to coastal waters is a key goal of the Virginia CZM Program.  The program funds construction of public access that is compatible with water quality and habitat protection, such as nature trails, canoe and kayak floating docks, and wildlife observation decks.  The Program has funded over 31 sites.  See the table in the 25 anniversary issue of Virginia Coastal Management magazine.  

Virginia Seaside Water Trail

Tourism is a major driver in Virginia’s economy and ecotourism is especially important in coastal Virginia. One major accomplishment of Virginia CZM Program funding is the Virginia Ecotour Guide Certification Program.

living shoreline 

Protecting Shoreline Integrity & Living Shorelines

Virginia CZM helps protect the ecological integrity and stability of Virginia's shorelines through guidance on shoreline management for localities, local shoreline management studies and plans.

Go to Virginia CZM Program Shoreline Management Issues page.

In partnership with VIMS, Virginia CZM has helped develop "Living Shorelines" design guidelines, training for contractors and local officials, and an improved website to help meet an increasing demand for this natural alternative to shoreline hardening.

Living Shorelines Initiative Successes Fact Sheet - updated January 2014 (pdf)

marine debris - plastic bag 

Reducing Virginia Marine Debris

Virginia CZM sponsored a Virginia Marine Debris Summit in February 2013 (presentations downloadable), and is working with its partners to develop a Virginia Marine Debris Management Plan.

Go to the Virginia CZM Program Marine Debris Issue page.

Plant ES Natives Banner 

Increasing Use of Virginia Native Plants

Virginia CZM Program is working with a variety of partners to increase the use of Virginia's native plants, including regional efforts on the Eastern Shore, Northern Neck, Southeast Virginia, Central Rappahannock and in Northern Virginia.

Learn more...

birds flying over the ocean 

Protecting and Mapping Virginia's Ocean Resources and Uses

Virginia CZM is working with the CZM programs of Maryland, Delaware, New Jersey and New York to coordinate measures to protect the region's ocean resources. 

Go to Virginia CZM Program Ocean Planning Issue page.

oysters in float 

Restoring Virginia's Native Oyster & Encouraging Oyster Gardening

Educating Virginia's citizens about the benefits of oysters, oyster reefs, and oyster gardening continues to be a goal of the Virginia CZM Program. Virginia CZM staff is currently working with its partners to revise the Virginia Oyster Gardening Guide, which will be released this summer 2013.

Go to Virginia CZM Program Oyster Restoration and Education page.

Oyster Restoration Successes Fact Sheet - June 2012 (pdf)

Virginia Seaside Accomplishments Report - updated January 2014 (including partner funding chart) (pdf) --- includes details on oyster and scallop restoration efforts on the Seasdie of Virginia's Eastern Shore.

close-up of eelgrass shoots 

Restoring Eelgrass Habitat

Restoring seagrass beds, a critical coastal habitat has been a priority for the Virginia CZM on Virginia's seaside.

Go to Eelgrass Restoration and Education page.

Virginia Seaside Accomplishments Report - updated January 2014 (including partner funding chart) (pdf) --- includes details on eelgrass restoration efforts on the Seaside of Virginia's Eastern Shore.

Cape Charles dune in front of house

Managing Special Coastal Places

Virginia CZM's "focal area" between 2002 - 2009 was the Virginia Seaside Heritage Program - habitat restoration in the water and along the shoreline as well as economic restoration for ecotourism and the shellfish industry.  

Virginia Seaside Heritage Program (2002 - 2009)
Virginia Seaside Accomplishments Report - updated January 2014 (including partner funding chart) (pdf)

Virginia CZM also uses a Special Area Management Planning approach in some of Virginia's most unique geographic areas, including the Dragon Run watershed and Virginia's Eastern Shore. 

Go to Virginia CZM Program Special Area Managment Planning page.

boat offloading seafood catch

Preserving Virginia's Working Waterfront

Virginia's working waterfronts are not only historically and culturally valuable they are economically important to coastal localities.  Virginia CZM is working with a diverse partnership on a strategy to preserve Virginia's working waterfronts.

Read more on the Virginia CZM Program Working Waterfronts Issue Page. 


 NOAA Logo 

For comments or questions concerning this program's web pages, contact Virginia Witmer.

This website is provided by the Virginia Coastal Zone Management Program through a federal Coastal Zone Management Act grant from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, US Department of Commerce.

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Virginia Department of
Environmental Quality
P.O. Box 1105
Richmond, VA 23218
(804) 698-4000

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