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Virginia CZM Program 2008 Coastal Grant Project Description and Final Summary

Project Task:



Middle Peninsula Planning District Commission

Project Title:

Middle Peninsula Climate Change Adaptation - An Assessment of Potential Anthropogenic and Ecological Impacts of Climate Change on the Middle Peninsula

Project Description as Proposed:

This project proposes an assessment and discussion of climate change over a three year period:

Year 1 - Collection, Assessment and Analysis of Available Information on Climate Change Impacts on the Middle Peninsula.

Year 2 - Facilitation of Presentations and Discussions of Climate Change Issues (results of year one findings).

Year 3 - Initial Stages of Development of a Policy Response to Climate Change Assessments.

Year 1 of the project will be conducted from a perspective of issues and impacts important to local elected officials within the Middle Peninsula. Key areas of assessment-inventory include:
Human Communities and Institutional Impacts - impact to commercial watermen, recreational boaters, waterfront property owners, roads, bridges, courthouses etc.

Threats to Estuarine Environment and Coastal Wetland Survival - migration of wetlands within a property rights ownership framework, loss of nursery habitat etc.

Stresses on Marine Fisheries - distribution and abundance of major fish stocks, and implications for marine populations, ecosystems and the associated impacts to the economic fabric of coastal communities etc.

Federal Funding:


Project Contact:

Lewie L. Lawrence - 804.758.2311:

Project Status:

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

Final Product Received:

Middle Peninsula Climate Change Adaptation An assessment of potential Anthropogenic and Ecological Impacts of Climate Change on the Middle Peninsula (pdf)

Project Summary Provided by Grantee:

Although climate change is a global phenomena, local strategies to adapt and plan for climate changes may be important to protect public safety, health and welfare. However the first challenge in the Middle Peninsula is to assist in changing community perceptions of climate change and educate constituents as well as local elected officials about the potential impacts. Currently some residents in Mathews County feel climate change is based on spurious data and is a concept that should not be considered in future community planning, while others want to know why low lying areas of the county are allowed to built on in the first place. Also there are continuants who complain about loss of coastal private property (ie. wetland, beach), but are reluctant to link this to sea level rise and therefore climate change.

To begin on this three year endeavor, MPPDC staff began to collect, assess, and analyze available climate change research relevant to the Middle Peninsula. This ultimately built a foundation of information and knowledge to effectively have future public dialog on the issue of climate change within the Middle Peninsula.

In February 2009, a Climate Change Advisory Workgroup, consisting of appointed county representatives and stakeholders, including transportation, sanitation, public health, recreation, scientists, planners, and local businesses, was established. The Workgroup was tasked with identifying critical anthropogenic and ecological impacts of climate change and sea level rise to their respective sector as well as to the region.  A series of monthly meetings with the Workgroup pin pointed specific impacts of concern which were then able to be mapped and assessed through GIS (Geographic Information System). Using available topographic data, MPPDC staff generated county wide maps and assessed the impacts of 1ft sea level rise by 2050 and a 1.5ft rise by 2100. With selected hotspots from each county, an ecologic and economic impact assessment was conducted. It revealed that the Middle Peninsula may loss approximately $187,005,132.10 - $249,451,074.50 worth of infrastructure (ie. roads, houses, onsite disposal systems, etc) and wetland function due to sea level rise (ie. inundation) by 2050.

Throughout this project Commissioners have remained updated with the project's progress and as MPPDC staff proceed to year 2 of this initiative, local elected officials will be an integral part in leading public policy discussions in regards to climate change impacts on the Middle Peninsula.

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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