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

Project Task:VA CZM logo



Virginia Institute of Marine Science - Center for Coastal Resources Management

Project Title:

Research and Development of Comprehensive Shoreline Guidance and Living
Shorelines General Permit in Virginia

Project Description as Proposed:

The Center for Coastal Resources Management, VIMS, has undertaken an initiative to provide integrated scientific guidance for better-informed decision-making regarding Virginia’s shoreline systems. A critical component of the initiative is the promotion of shoreline management approaches that are sustainable. Commonly called living shorelines, these are approaches that make the best use of natural features to protect property while preserving or enhancing ecosystem services.  Application of living shoreline designs has become a widely accepted and preferred strategy for tidal shoreline management. Living shorelines are one approach in a broader context of integrated shoreline management that seeks to balance ecologic and economic interest in a sustainable fashion. Because they entail a system-level approach, living shoreline treatments reflect the best understanding of how shoreline systems work, and how the benefits they provide can be sustained. For these reasons, promoting the use of living shorelines is seen as desirable by resource managers and scientific advisors across the nation. VIMS has been charged, in Senate Bill 964 (2011 Session of the General Assembly) with the development of comprehensive shoreline management guidance. The guidance shall identify preferred options for shoreline management and take into consideration the resource condition, priority planning, and forecasting of the condition of the Commonwealth's shoreline with respect to projected sea-level rise. The legislation also directs the Virginia Marine Resources Commission, with assistance from VIMS, to develop a general permit for living shorelines and integrated shoreline guidance. The charges to VIMS and VMRC reflect recommendations put forth in a report to the Governor and General Assembly of Virginia as mandated by Senate Joint Resolution 35 of the 2010 Assembly (Study of Tidal Shoreline Management in Virginia: Recommendations for Living Shorelines and Tidal Resources Sustainability$file/SD16.pdf).  We propose to support those mandated efforts by building upon research on the scientific rationale for comprehensive, integrated guidance and the use of comprehensive guidance and living shorelines general permits by the Corps and other regulatory entities.  Through this effort, we will identify options and approaches that have been successful and those that have not and reflect these findings in the work products. We will also identify critical elements to be defined and/or addressed in the guidance and permit and help craft language through the development of drafts. We will also work closely with the VMRC through the permit development process and provide additional research according to their needs.

Federal Funding:


Project Contact:

Pam Mason, 804.684.7158;

Project Status:

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

Final Product Received:

Literature Review: Policy and Science of Living Shorelines (pdf)

Project Summary Provided by Grantee:

The Center for Coastal Resources Management, VIMS has completed a literature review of existing policy and scientific study of living shorelines and natural tidal habitats in support of the establishment of a living shorelines general permit by the Virginia Marine Resource Commission (VMRC). The review report is entitled “Literature Review: Policy and Science of Living Shorelines.”

CCRM-VIMS developed a set of draft criteria for the living shorelines general permit based upon relevant science and policy information. CCRM-VIMS held a series of meetings convening experts and managers from VIMS, VMRC, and the Corps as part of the development of the criteria. CCRM-VIMS also participated in public and committee meetings held by the VMRC.

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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