Virginia CZM Program 2009 Coastal Grant Project Description and Final Summary

Project Task:

12.03

Grantee:

George Washington Regional Commission

Project Title:

Developing a Blue-Green Infrastructure Plan for the GW Region

Project Description as Proposed:

In FY 2009, the GWRC will acquire and apply GIS tools to quantify the amount of impervious surface relative to green infrastructure (i.e. tree cover) and work with local governments on the development of public outreach program(s) to solicit public opinion in each community on the relative and comparative importance of identified open space, natural/ecological and historic/cultural resource assets and related conservation efforts. A series of public outreach meetings will be held to inform the public and other stakeholders on trends of urbanization and related growth of impervious surface area and loss of green infrastructure and solicit public input on the historical, ecological and cultural assets to be included in a regional conservation corridor/GI plan.

In order to relate the regional pattern of urban development to deteriorating surface water quality, GWRC will apply NOAA’s Impervious Surface Analysis Tool to C-CAP data for the time series of 1996-2005 to calculate the amount and percentage change of impervious surface area within locally-selected geographic areas (e.g. watersheds, local governments, subdivisions) and to map the resulting variation in the water quality conditions throughout the Region. Through this effort, GWRC work will encourage and support active land conservation efforts and the adoption of best management practices (e.g. ‘low-impact development”) to reduce storm water run-off and associated sedimentation and pollution of regional streams and water bodies. Working through GWRC’s Green Government Commission and its “Green Earth” and “Green Energy” subcommittees, these results will be shared with local planning departments, area environmental organizations and other regional environmental stakeholders (Tri-County/City Soil & Water Conservation District & Rappahannock River Basin Commission (RRBC)) to support area-wide environmental education efforts with realistic estimates of the costs and impacts of regional development trends.

In FY 2009, we will purchase 36 additional wireless audience response system transmitters to achieve 100 transmitters available to use at public meetings in the region where audience feedback is going to be solicited. Moreover, this equipment can support public involvement and work sessions with local planning commissions on regional visioning, and prioritizing green infrastructure to be protected through regional GI plan and other goals of the CZM program. Furthermore, this technology and GWRC staff expertise will be made available to local governments and soil & water conservation districts to advance the development and public evaluation of regional land use scenarios (being undertaken as an initiative of the Fredericksburg Area Metropolitan Planning Organization (FAMPO)) to promote “Smart Growth” in the region, as well as public education meetings hosted by the Rappahannock River Basin Commission, Tri-County/City Soil & Water Conservation District, Friends of the Rappahannock and other important CZM stakeholders.

GWRC staff will coordinate with the Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation's Division of Natural Heritage, the Virginia Networked Education for Municipal Officials Program (VNEMO), the Virginia CZM Program, and other state agencies to identify potential areas in all local jurisdictions that have high habitat, ecological, recreational, historic preservation or water quality values. In addition, collaboration with adjoining PDCs will help ensure consistency of methodology and consideration of the kinds of protection strategies which can be implemented by coastal localities in adjoining regions.

Federal Funding:

$31,733

Project Contact:

Kevin Byrnes, 540.373.2890; byrnes@gwregion.org

Project Status:

10/1/2009 - 9/30/2010; Project Completed

Final Product Received:

Estimating Impervious Surface Area: A Comparative Assessment of CITYgreen and NOAA’s Impervious Surface Analysis Tool (ISAT) Methodologies (pdf)

George Washington Region CITYgreen Training Exercise (pdf)

George Washington Region Urban Ecosystem Analysis Report (pdf)

Remote Sensing for Spatial Analysts Delivered by NOAA Coastal Services Center for the George Washington Regional Commission 18 March, 2010 (pdf)

Building a Regional Framework: Regional Scan Document for Your Vision, Our Future (pdf)

Project Summary Provided by Grantee:

Under Task 12.03, GWRC efforts have been directed toward developing the analytical ability to measure trends in land cover change and assign an economic value to tree canopy as part of the planning effort leading to the development of a regional green infrastructure plan. GWRC organized a 1-day NOAA-led training session on “Remote Sensing for Spatial Analysts” which helped educate local government and other regional planning staff on the use of remote sensing data using ArcGIS Spatial Analyst extension software.  GWRC also sponsored a training workshop put on by American Forests on the use of CITYgreen, an ArcGIS extension tool used to summarize land cover patterns and quantify urban ecosystem service benefits of tree canopy in the natural environment. Both training sessions received a very positive evaluation from the participants and American Forests donated a training license of their CITYgreen software ($850 value)  to the University of Mary Washington where the training was held.
       
With the knowledge gained from the CITYgreen training, GWRC completed a comparative study (Urban Ecosystem Analysis for the George Washington Region) of C-CAP classified 30-meter imagery for the region, showing regional and local trends in land cover change over a 13 year period (1996-2009). The value of this study was the first quantification of the rate of change in the loss of tree canopy and the growth of impervious surface area, as well as the ecosystem service benefits (e.g. carbon storage and sequestration, storm water retention and pollution absorption) performed by the tree canopy throughout the region.
       
A related study (Estimating Impervious Surface Area: A Comparative Assessment of CITYgreen and NOAA’s Impervious Surface Analysis Tool (ISAT) Methodologies) compared the results of the CITYgreen imagery analysis with NOAA’s Impervious Surface Analysis Tool (ISAT) model to more closely approximate the amount of tree canopy and impervious surface area in 1996 and 2006. In this report, ISAT estimates for 2006 were compared with 2009 classified 1-meter data. Also CITYgreen was used to compare 2009 classified 1-meter vs. 30-meter imagery data for the City of Fredericksburg. The first comparison determined that the high-intensity development coefficients provided by the ISAT model appeared to best estimate impervious area in Fredericksburg. The latter 2009 comparison found that 30-meter data (as compared to estimates from 1-meter imagery) over-estimated impervious surface area by 34 percent, and under-estimated tree canopy area by 40 percent. These findings are important to local government evaluation of the findings of the Chesapeake Bay Land Use and related Water Quality models used in the development of proposed Chesapeake Bay TMDLs. 

Finally, GWRC staff worked with Fredericksburg Area Metropolitan Planning Organization (FAMPO) staff and FAMPO consultants to introduce the locally-defined eco-cores and eco-corridors developed from the Virginia Conservation Lands Needs Assessment and Natural Heritage datasets into the on-going regional land use scenario planning process. Under this related planning effort supported with federal, state and local funding, consultants are developing Community Viz models of existing and future land uses to develop build-out and development suitability models that will assist local governments to evaluate and revise existing comprehensive plans to achieve a more sustainable land use and transportation system. The Regional Scan document was revised to include information from the CITYgreen study and spatial data layers were provided to the Community Viz consultant included the locally-defined eco-cores and eco-corridors which represent the backbone of the Region’s green infrastructure. Community business, development and infrastructure managers were consulted on development issues (see “Focus Groups Summary” report), area residents’ opinions on regional development patterns and values about growth, development and the environment were solicited through an Internet survey as well as three public workshops held in Caroline, Stafford and Spotsylvania Counties. 

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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