Virginia CZM Program 2008 Coastal Grant Project Description and Final Summary

Project Task:

12.02

Grantee:

George Washington Planning District Commission

Project Title:

Blue-Green Infrastructure Protection- Developing a Conservation Corridor Plan for the GW Region, Phase 1

Project Description as Proposed:

The GWRC aims to develop a regional conservation corridor plan for the GW region over the period FFY 2008-2010. In FY 2008, GWRC will work with its five local governments to assess how state natural resource agencies’ blue and green infrastructure datasets (created by DCR, DEQ, DGIF, MRC and others) has been used or is being incorporated into local land use planning. Using Coastal GEMS and the Virginia Conservation Lands Needs Assessment (VCLNA) as a base, GWRC will produce a draft regional conservation corridor. GWRC staff will coordinate with the DCR Division of Natural Heritage, the Virginia Networked Education for Municipal Officials Program (VNEMO), the Virginia CZM Program, and other coastal partner state agencies to identify potential areas in all local jurisdictions that have high habitat, ecological, recreational, historic and water quality values. GWRC staff will work with local governments to inventory existing local blue and green infrastructure data to incorporate into the draft regional conservation corridor, and modify or expand the draft corridor to fit the character of each community and existing land use/land cover. Data gaps will also be identified. The GWRC will also collaborate with adjoining PDCs (NVRC, NNPDC, MPPDC, and RRPDC) to help ensure consistency of methodology in developing a continuous conservation corridor across the Coastal Zone and develop consistent blue-green infrastructure protection strategies which can be implemented by coastal localities in adjoining regions.

Federal Funding:

$26,385

Project Contact:

Kevin Byrnes, (540) 373-2890; byrnes@gwregion.org

Project Status:

10/1/2008 - 9/30/2009; Project Completed

Final Product Received:

George Washington Regional Commission 2009 Green Infrastructure and Conservation Corridor Maps (pdf)

Project Summary Provided by Grantee:

The George Washington Regional Commission (GWRC) initiated this multi-year project with a review of existing data layers available through the Virginia Conservation Lands Needs Assessment (VCLNA), Natural Heritage and Coastal GEMS programs, with a comparative review of comparable spatial-referenced data from local governments to identify the best data resources to use in the development of a regional blue-green infrastructure protection plan.

GWRC staff then produced a series of maps, focusing on the VCLNA Ecological Core and Cultural Asset models to identify areas that merit local and regional conservation attention. Through coordination with the Richmond Regional and Crater Planning District Commissions’ coastal zone management program staff, GWRC duplicated the ecological core update process to reflect the impact on ecological core integrity from post 2000 development patterns not reflected in the year 2000 satellite imagery used for the statewide VCLNA analysis. Moreover the impact of post-2000 development on state-defined potential conservation corridors was evaluated and revised corridor routes were determined, based on the remaining undisturbed corridors and the re-classified ecological core areas. These draft maps were reviewed with local government planning and development review staff to identify any local considerations which would change the re-classified priority ecological cores and conservation corridors. The resulting local maps were compiled into a regional composite map and the entire process was documented in the final project report.

To assist local adoption in the use of Community Viz, a popular GIS-based analytical and visioning tool used by many local governments for evaluating alternative local land use plan scenarios, GWRC assisted the Town of Port Royal and King George County with the application of Community Viz in demonstration projects which assembled local parcel-level data and local plans (and other data layers from the VCLNA program and other sources) and presented proto-type build-out and suitability models for each community. GWRC experienced undocumented problems in applying the Community Viz model which were brought to the attention of the Community Viz development team for product enhancement.Finally, GWRC and its sister organization the Fredericksburg Area Metropolitan Planning Organization (FAMPO) have initiated a regional land use scenario planning process which complements the GWRC strategy for defining a regional “vision” and related plans to engage community stakeholder and citizen groups in a regional visioning process which will unfold in 2010. Wireless audience response equipment was acquired under this CZM grant and subsequently tested to design effective future public engagement exercises for the upcoming regional scenario planning and visioning processes.  A proto-typical public engagement “regional visioning” exercise was developed which uses “MetroQuest”, a visioning tool developed in Canada to foster public engagement in regional planning efforts.

Copies of the final report will be distributed to local government planning departments in the Region. 

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: Laura.McKay@deq.virginia.gov

A more detailed Scope of Work for this project is available. Please direct your request for a copy to Virginia.Witmer@deq.virginia.gov

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


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