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Virginia CZM Program 2008 Coastal Grant Project Description and Final Summary

Project Task:



Middle Peninsula Planning District Commission

Project Title:

Dragon Run Special Area Management Plan

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 FY08:

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

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

3) Implement Dragon Run Estate Planning Network Initiative to facilitate the preservation of the pristine resource of the Dragon Run watershed in perpetuity

Federal Funding:


Project Contact:

Sara Stamp - (804) 758-23111:

Project Status:

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

Final Product Received:

Dragon Run Special Area Management Plan Final Report (pdf)

Project Summary Provided by Grantee:

During the FY 2008 grant cycle, three of the four Dragon Run Watershed counties - Essex, Middlesex and Gloucester - were in the process of updating Comprehensive Plans.  King and Queen County, adopted revised Dragon Run Zoning Ordinance language during a previous grant cycle.  MPPDC staff consulted with representatives from each of the remaining watershed counties regarding the Dragon Run land-use recommendations and offered assistance during their review and adoption processes.  Middlesex County adopted a Comprehensive Plan that includes some of the Dragon Run land-use recommendations.  Additionally, Middlesex County also recognized the importance of other land-use tools recommended by the SAMP.  Gloucester County continued to work on its draft Comprehensive Plan, which includes the recommendations and is hoping to consider adoption in September 2010.  Essex County initiated the Comprehensive Plan update right at the end of the FY2008 grant period and the recommendations have been included in the working draft.  The County plans to adopt the Comprehensive Plan in Spring 2011.

MPPDC staff continued to provide support to the citizen-based Dragon Run Steering Committee (DRSC) and its related sub-committees.  Staff provided outreach materials to the general public via DVDs, brochures and the Dragon Run website (  Approximately 1,150 DVDs were distributed during this grant cycle.  MPPDC staff provided technical support to assist the Dragon Run Day Subcommittee in planning for the community-oriented Dragon Run Day to celebrate the natural, cultural, and historic heritage of the Dragon Run. The festival serves as an opportunity to increase citizen awareness of watershed issues and features results of projects undertaken and partnerships created during the course of the Dragon Run SAMP.  Two action-oriented outcomes from this Task were the submission of a letter to the Virginia Department of Transportation regarding altering ditch cutting practices to reduce environmental impacts and the development of a resolution to study the fiscal and land-use impacts of conservation easements and land holdings by tax-exempt entities.

The Dragon Run Conservation Estate Planning Network Initiative has been quite successful.  Currently, 20,645 acres (or 23% of the Dragon Run Watershed) is protected.  The majority of that acreage has been protected since the DRSC/SAMP started focusing on conservation planning in early 2006.  During this grant cycle, two landowner education events on conservation estate planning, land protection and land asset management have been conducted with a total of 45 attendees.  Additionally, eleven attorneys and CPAs received training to help increase the awareness of conservation easements as estate planning tools via two continuing education courses. 

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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