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Virginia CZM Program 2006 Coastal Grant Project Description and Final Summary

Project Task:



Middle Peninsula Planning District Commission

Project Title:

Special Area Management Plan for Dragon Run

Project Description as Proposed:

The Dragon Run SAMP mission is to preserve the watershed's cultural, historic, and natural character, while preserving property rights and the watershed's traditional uses (e.g. forestry, farming, recreation). Anticipating future growth pressures, the Dragon Run SAMP seeks to balance demands by improving the tools available to manage the environmental, social, and economic resources of the watershed. To achieve these goals, the Dragon Run Steering Committee has produced a Watershed Management Plan.

The SAMP's stakeholder-based approach increases the likelihood that localities and stakeholders will implement the plan's recommendations. The plan's recommendations include land use and resource preservation, education and landowner stewardship, sustainable economic development, and implementation monitoring. The following activities are proposed by MPPDC for FY06:

1) Provide technical assistance for each watershed county during its adoption cycle and assist the implementation of the Draft Comprehensive Plan and/or Zoning Amendment

2) Produce signs at public access sites to warn about public safety and trespassing threats, develop detailed brochures and identification markers for public take-out points, and conduct outreach efforts that may include public workshops

3) Administer a technical assistance program that supports the implementation of the Watershed Management Plan and support of the Dragon Run Steering Committee

4) Develop 2-4 management plans for public and/or nongovernmental organization holdings acquired for conservation purposes in the Dragon Run watershed that are based on Dragon Run Steering Committee approved management recommendation.

5) Initiate pilot feasibility study and adoption plan in Essex County for biodiesel use in county bus fleet

Federal Funding:


Project Contact:

Sara Stamp, (804) 758-2311;

Project Status:

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

Final Product Received:

"Dragon Run Special Area Management Plan Report" (PDF)

Project Summary Provided by Grantee:

Land-use planning:  An instrumental component of the Dragon Run SAMP is to assist the watershed localities with developing tools to facilitate the long-term protection of the watershed through compatible and consistent comprehensive plan and zoning ordinance language.  During this grant cycle, MPPDC staff has continued to work with county planning staff, planning commissions, boards of supervisors and comprehensive plan steering committees to integrate language recommendations into planning tools. Code of conduct:  As public access opportunities increase throughout the Dragon Run Watershed, understanding the public and private rights for access becomes important reducing the potential for conflict between public resource users and private landowners.  MPPDC staff developed a code of conduct that is based on the Public Trust Doctrine as it pertains to the public's right for ingress and egress of waterways such as the Dragon Run.  This guidance was integrated into a brochure and its principles were conveyed to public access entities, such as the Middle Peninsula Chesapeake Bay Public Access Authority. 

Additionally, these entities were asked to adopt these policies and apply them to holdings in the watershed.  The code of conduct was included as part of the management plans that were developed (see below).Dragon Run Steering Committee

Technical Assistance:
  To provide for the ongoing continuity of Dragon Run policy recommendations, it is important for the Dragon Run Steering Committee to continue to have continuing technical assistance and staff support.  MPPDC staff coordinates steering committee meetings, provides support for the Dragon Run Day planning sub-committee and attends relevant meetings, such as those of the Middle Peninsula Chesapeake Bay Public Access Authority and the Coastal Planning District Commission, on its behalf.  MPPDC staff support has also provided opportunities for expanded knowledge about watershed tools, such as purchase of development rights to the steering committee.  During this grant cycle, MPPDC staff has also tracked a potential Naval Outlying Land Field in the watershed, provided input to the steering committee, developed a position statement and requested action from relevant project partners.

Conservation acquisition management plans:  As the public and non-governmental organization (NGO) entities acquiring conservation lands in Dragon Run Watershed have increased their numbers of acquisition, it has become a priority to assure that these entities are managing these lands in such a way that is consistent and compatible with the watershed management plan.  Therefore, MPPDC staff, through coordination with managing entities and related partners, developed two management plans (Dragon Bridge - CBNERRs and Dragon Flats - TNC) utilizing Dragon Run Steering Committee conservation holding management recommendations.

Biodiesel partnership:  To promote the sustainability of traditional industries, such as farming and forestry, the Dragon Run Steering Committee utilized past years' work to identify a biodiesel partnership as a feasible program.  This partnership identifies the role of portions of the biodiesel chain, including the soybean farmers, fuel distributors, biodiesel refinery, private fleets and school bus fleets to support the mission of sustainability of agriculture.  Substantial work has been completed on the partnership, especially garnering the interest of the watershed school boards in using biodiesel in their fleets.  The multiple prongs of the program include: a buydown program for the schools, a buydown program for the private industry, education regarding utilizing blend levels to manage cost and watershed education and market to expand the market.  All of these aspects combined are aimed to provide both direct and indirect economic benefit to the watershed farming community.

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 email:

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

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

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