Virginia CZM Program 2010 Coastal Grant Project Description and Final Summary

Project Task:




Project Title:

Seaside Special Area Management Plan

Project Description as Proposed:

Principal Investigator: Steve Parker (The Nature Conservancy), Mark Luckenbach (VIMS) The Seaside SAMP consists of 3 phases, covering FY 2008, 2009, 2010 and is led by Virginia CZM in partnership with The Nature Conservancy, the Virginia Institute of Marine Science, the Virginia Marine Resources Commission, the Virginia Eastern Shorekeeper, representatives of the shellfish aquaculture industry and other stakeholders. These 3 phases will be completed by March 31, 2012. The goals of the Seaside SAMP are (1) to map, analyze, and interpret the current status and trends in the uses, economic values, and beneficial ecosystem functions associated with state-owned and other habitats in the seaside bays of Virginia’s Eastern Shore, (2) to re-evaluate these uses in light of current and projected conditions, and (3) to recommend guidelines for the allocation of resources in a manner that optimizes the environmental and socio-economic benefits derived through a marine spatial planning process.  Using existing and new GIS data, stakeholder information, and management agency input, the effectiveness of use allocation patterns such as state oyster grounds is being examined in the context of current stakeholder uses and needs, eelgrass and oyster restoration potential, and current ecological conditions, including bird distribution/uses. This process will use consensus building that results in recommendations which encompass planning, regulatory and other guidelines to: increase economic productivity; enhance ecosystem health; and resolve potential use conflicts.  SAMP1 (FY 2008) activities will be completed by September 30, 2010. The Project Team has met to review and interpret TNC’s and VIMS’ habitat suitability analyses and maps for multiple resources, reviewed current spatial allocations on the seaside, interpreted the history, present conditions and future implications of the Baylor survey, evaluated the dynamic nature of the system, interviewed stakeholders, identified data gaps and achieved consensus regarding initial policy/regulatory approaches. SAMP 1 revealed that over 40% of currently designated public shellfish grounds are not presently suitable for wild shellfish populations. It also determined that current oyster and eel grass restoration sites are a very small fraction of the habitats suitable for the re-establishment of these ecologically important and highly productive natural elements. During SAMP 2 (FY 2009), VIMS and TNC are interpreting and analyzing additional field-collected data, and conducting finer-scaled evaluations of habitat suitability and existing spatial allocations and uses in three representative sites on the Seaside. They are also developing spatially explicit draft conservation objectives for future oyster and eel grass restoration, and draft monitoring plans to measure effectiveness of restoration and management of oyster and eelgrass projects.  During SAMP 3 (FY 2010), TNC will continue as CZM’s administrative point-of-contact: scheduling, coordinating and expediting communications, meetings and progress reports. SAMP 3 will focus on stakeholder meetings and expand the membership of the planning group to develop the marine spatial plan. Coastal and marine spatial planning exercises that explore possible resource allocation scenarios will be used to examine non-confrontational, consensus-building approaches and recommendations for regulatory change. 

Federal Funding:


Project Contact:


Project Status:

10/1/10 - 9/30/11

Final Product Received:


Project Summary Provided by Grantee:


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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