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Virginia CZM Program: 2006 Coastal Grant Project Description and Final Summary

Project Task: 



Virginia Institute of Marine Science

Project Title:

Management-support synopsis of Virginia dune and beach assessments

Project Description as Proposed:

The long-term study of Virginia's estuarine dunes and beaches has provided a categorical yet complete understanding of regulated and unregulated sandy shore resources.  This project will finalize the assessment and review process by producing a synoptic report appropriate for promoting programmatic changes to Virginia's current regulatory approaches.  Management options and modifications will be presented that draw upon the information analyzed over the past eight years, and will provide guidance on the most efficient and effective modifications to current shoreline management structure.  The management of Virginia's nearshore and shoreline sand resources currently is shared between localities, multiple state agencies, and the federal government.  The series of recent studies provides the resource-based information that lends justification to various management options.  The report will present these management options in a systematic format amenable to easy review by the affected local, state, and federal regulators, and the public interest review process.

Federal Funding:


Project Contact:

Scott Hardaway; (804) 684-7277;

Project Status:

10/1/2006 - 9/30/2007; Project Completed

Final Product Received:

The Coastal Primary Sand Dune and Beach Act: Recommendations to Update the Act and Complete the Oversight of Virginia Tidal Shorelines (PDF)
Sands of the Chesapeake PowerPoint (PDF)

Project Summary Provided by Grantee:

The multi-year study of Virginia's estuarine dunes and beaches were summarized for an audience of lawmakers, decision makers, and the general public.  The results of this research effort were analyzed with respect to the current dune and beach management structure, and a series of recommended changes to the Virginia Code were presented.  The recommended changes to the Coastal Primary Sand Dune and Beach Act (the Act) are justified from the study results.  The recommendations are presented in a categorical format with respect to the options available to lawmakers that will systematically enhance regulatory oversight.  The primary recommendation for modifying the Act is to allow all Tidewater localities the option to adopt the ordinance, which also will allow oversight by the Virginia Marine Resources Commission.  Other recommendations of significance include expanding the definition of a coastal primary sand dune by incorporating additional plant species into the Act, and enacting land control measures for select secondary dune systems at risk of development.  These are presented in the report entitled “Recommendations to Update the Act and Complete the Oversight of Virginia tidal Shorelines”

An eight page brochure was developed to summarize the results of the dune and beach studies undertaken by VIMS in the last ten years.  Entitled “Sands of the Chesapeake”, this brochure describes the origin of sandy shores, why they are important, where they are located, their diversity, and their present management structure.  In addition, it describes VIMS’s partnership with NOAA and DEQ and where to get additional information.  Three hundred copies were printed and are available to the public.  In addition, it will be available online at the VIMS Shoreline Studies Program website ( and is included as an appendix to “Recommendations to Update the Act and Complete the Oversight of Virginia tidal Shorelines” report.

A Powerpoint presentation was developed to summarize the results of the beach and dune research and management analyses that have been performed over the last ten years. The talk was presented at the Coastal Policy team meeting on 10/10/2007 and was left with staff.  This Powerpoint is all-encompassing and can be customized for individual audiences and interests.

Disclaimer: This project summary provides the federal dollars initially awarded to the grantee. Due to underexpenditure or reprogramming of grant funds, this figure may change. For more information on the allocation of coastal grant funds, please contact Laura McKay, Virginia Coastal Program Manager, at 804.698.4323 or

A more detailed Scope of Work for this project is available. Please direct your request for a copy


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

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