Virginia CZM Program: 2011 Coastal Grant Project Description and Final Summary

Project Task:VA CZM logo

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Grantee:

Department of Conservation & Recreation-Division of Natural Heritage

Project Title:

Habitat Conservation/ Locality Liaison

Project Description as Proposed:

DCR's Natural Heritage Locality Liaison program works with local and regional planners to help protect natural heritage resources (rare plants, animals, exemplary natural communities and geologic features) by improving access to biodiversity information and consultative services from DCR and its comprehensive conservation information system. A key service provided is review of projects to identify and recommend mitigation for potential impacts to natural heritage resources. The Virginia Natural Heritage Data Explorer website http://www.dcr.virginia.gov/natural-heritage/nhdeinfo, a subscription-based Natural Heritage Resources website, continues to be a useful tool for localities and conservation partners. The Locality Liaison will continue to work to make it available to localities and others, showing conservation sites and other natural heritage resource location information, which is useful both for project review and for conservation planning. Digital geospatial datasets will also be available for incorporation into local GIS. The Locality Liaison will work consultatively with locality planners to incorporate natural heritage resource concerns into local comprehensive plans and permitting processes. The Locality Liaison will also assist localities and local conservation partners to identify and implement habitat conservation opportunities using tools such as the VCLNA, LCDE (www.dcr.virginia.gov/natural_heritage/nhdeinfo.shtml) and DCR’s Wetland Restoration Catalog (http://www.dcr.virginia.gov/natural-heritage/wetlandscat). An overall goal of the DCR-Virginia Natural Heritage program is that 80% of the counties and cities throughout the Virginia Coastal Zone will be provided with Natural Heritage information by the end of September 2012. Currently, the percentage of localities with Natural Heritage information is 73% within the Coastal Zone of Virginia.

Federal Funding:

$50,000

Project Contact:

Thomas Smith, (804) 786-4554; Thomas.Smith@dcr.virginia.gov

Project Status:

10/1/2011 - 9/30/2012; Project Completed

Final Product Received:

DCR Natural Heritage - Locality Liaison/Habitat Restoration Final Report (pdf)

Project Summary Provided by Grantee:

During the 2011 grant year, the Locality Liaison reviewed 914 projects for impacts to natural heritage resources in the coastal zone (43% of the projects reviewed statewide). Fort Belvoir continued to have numerous projects as a result of the Base Re-alignment and Closure Act (BRAC), including recreational lodging, a car wash, fire station, chapel, road and utility upgrades and Army lodging privatization. The U. S Fish and Wildlife Service continues to develop comprehensive conservation plans for their wildlife refuges and requested information on natural heritage resources for Presquile and Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuges. In addition, continued activity at NASA’s Flight Facility on Wallops Island included preparation of a facility master plan and development of an unmanned aerial system airstrip, which, because of impacts to a globally rare natural community, required extensive discussions with NASA staff.

Many presentations were given to localities and other conservation partners including Essex and James City counties and the cities of Suffolk and Virginia Beach, Hampton Roads PDC, Newport News Green Foundation, the Eastern Shore Land Trust, the Center for Forest & Wood Conservation, George Mason University, Virginia Department of Health, DCR  - Land Conservation and the Naval Facilities Engineering Command Mid-Atlantic. In addition, eight consultants were trained: Mill Creek Environmental Consultants; Skelly & Loy, Inc.; Dominion Due Diligence Group; Biological Integrity, LLC; Entrex Communications; Dewberry; Vanasse, Hanken, Brustlin, Inc.; Christopher A. Lund, P.E. Presentations included an overview of DCR’s Natural Heritage Program, the Locality Assistance Program, the Natural Heritage Data Explorer (NHDE) website, the Virginia Conservation Lands Needs Assessment (VCLNA), the Land Conservation Data Explorer (LCDE), the Virginia Ecological Value Assessment (Coastal VEVA), and the Wetland Restoration Catalog as well as other conservation tools. Natural Heritage information is updated quarterly and shapefiles including that information is distributed to all licensed participants.

The Locality Liaison provided language, tables and Conservation Sites maps to Accomack, Hanover, Chesterfield, Gloucester, King George and King William counties and the cities of Chesapeake and Williamsburg for use in their comprehensive plans or supporting implementation documents.

On April 19, 2012, the Locality Liaison provided natural heritage information found on Fort A. P. Hill in Caroline County at the Army’s Earth Day Event for several hundred students and teachers. 

A new Natural Heritage Data Explorer (NHDE) is being developed on an ArcServer platform with NatureServe. The new site will have enhanced functionality for both the general public and subscription users. In addition, the new NHDE will serve as a model for other Natural Heritage programs in other states to develop similar tools with NatureServe.

DCR has received funding to update the Wetland Catalogue using a revised methodology identifying more opportunities of wetland and stream restoration that was tested in an 11-subwatershed pilot area of the Pamunkey River.

Landscope has included Coastal VEVA in the new regional Chesapeake Bay section of the website.

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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