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

Project Task:VA CZM logo



Virginia Commonwealth University

Project Title:

Ocean Resources - Marine Spatial Planning

Project Description as Proposed:

Over the next five years, the Virginia CZM Program will develop a Virginia Marine Spatial Plan (MSP) for the waters off Virginia’s coast in concert with the Mid-Atlantic Regional Council on the Ocean (MARCO) and the “regional planning body” called for in the July 19, 2010 Final Recommendations of the Interagency Ocean Policy Task Force (IOPTF). As the path forward becomes clear, Virginia will determine critical specifics such as what geographic area will be covered by the plan and exactly what form the “enforceable policy” will need to take. At a minimum, Virginia’s Marine Spatial Plan will cover the area from mean low water along Virginia’s Atlantic coast out to the 200 mile Exclusive Economic Zone. If time and funding allow, or should it become required, the Virginia portion of Chesapeake Bay will also be included. In addition this Ocean Resources Strategy will include creation of a Virginia Marine Debris Plan, with an analysis of key marine debris issues and prioritization of these issues. The Plan will be presented to the Virginia Coastal Policy Team for adoption and to MARCO for consideration. Decreasing marine debris is one of the goals within MARCO’s set of “Water Quality” goals.  

Description of activities: The VCU will provide a Marine Spatial Plan/Marine Debris Plan Coordinator and maintain an office in Richmond, Virginia. The Coordinator will expand the list of Virginia offshore marine stakeholders/users developed for the December 2009 MARCO Stakeholder Workshop which was held in NYC and communicate with them through surveys or convene them in order to refine the offshore ocean management objectives for the various uses such as fishing, energy development, conservation, sand mining, transportation and whatever other objectives may be identified. The Coordinator will also create an inventory of existing efforts (building on any work MARCO may have accomplished by October 2011) in the offshore Virginia area that may inform the appropriate management of Virginia’s ocean resources. The Coordinator will work with the CZM Manager and Virginia ocean stakeholders to develop a Virginia perspective on management objectives that will feed into the National Ocean Council’s “Regional Planning Body.”During the first year, for the Marine Debris Plan (MDP), the Coordinator will work with Virginia Sea Grant to host a Marine Debris Summit as an important first step in developing an action plan. The summit would bring together marine debris experts with target audiences, state and local resource managers, community educators, and potential funding sources—to raise awareness and also to identify and prioritize particular elements of marine debris that Virginians consider most critical to address.  A summit would ensure stakeholder buy-in and input to the action plan. Virginia Sea Grant (VASG) will act as a neutral broker in hosting and organizing the summit. They will provide science-based information to decision makers and stakeholders and provide staff support to an organizing committee.  

1. Creation of a Virginia MSP Stakeholder Work Group that may provide input to MARCO and/or the National Ocean Council’s “Regional Planning Body” for the Mid-Atlantic.
2. Preparation of introductory/background materials on ocean planning for the stakeholder groups.
3. A document outlining key Virginia objectives for management of marine waters offshore of Virginia that reflects a consensus of the Stakeholder Work group
4. Summary report on the Marine Debris Summit 

Federal Funding:


Project Contact:

Todd Janeski, 804.371.8984;

Project Status:

10/1/11 - 9/30/12; Project Completed

Final Product Received:

Virginia Ocean Planning Final Report (PDF) 
Virginia Ocean Planning Users Database (Excel worksheet)

Project Summary Provided by Grantee:

For the grant reporting period, the Environmental Scientist/Analyst with the Virginia Commonwealth University Center for Environmental Studies in the Department of Life Sciences was tasked with the coordination of the stakeholder engagement of the eight sectors to develop the Virginia portion of the Mid-Atlantic Regional Council on the Ocean (MARCO) Mapping and Planning Portal and the development of the Marine Debris Summit draft outline. MARCO identified the ocean use sectors as: offshore and alternative energy; commercial fisheries; recreational fisheries; recreational users and conservation groups; ports, shipping and navigation; tourism; Defense/ Navy; and other (oil and gas, sand mining, Marine Trades, etc).

During the grant period, the Environmental Scientist continued participating in the weekly MARCO Board meetings, coordinated with the NOAA Coastal Services Center and Marine Protected Areas to continue the follow-up from the VA PGIS Sessions, participated in the MARCO Water Quality Action Team, MARCO Ocean Planning Action Team (both the Portal and Stakeholder Engagement Subteams), and attend various meetings with the focus sectors (Ports, Shipping, Wind, Fisheries, etc). The VCU Staff provided meeting facilitation for the VA and DE PGIS sessions, and attended the Northeast Regional Ocean Council Regional Planning Body Kickoff meeting in Portland, ME. The VA PGIS data was posted to the following:
&extent=-8744521.29699029,4311718.80453884, -8177052.45970874,4666940.99662621
and to Coastal GEMS by CZM’s GIS Coordinator. The VCU Environmental Staff also developed an ocean stakeholder database of all sectors that included contact info to be used for all coordination and communication efforts.

This Task also included the development of a VA Marine Debris Summit and Draft Marine Debris Plan. The VCU Environmental Scientist coordinated the development of a working committee that included representatives of VCU, VA Sea Grant, VIMS, the Virginia Aquarium, Longwood University, and  VA CZM Program, and held planning meetings to lay out the structure of the workshop, develop the agenda and location, create the invitation and outreach materials, and coordinate the day of events. The VCU Environment Scientist secured a graduate research assistant to help advance the development and coordination of activities leading up to the Summit. The Summit was held on February, 27-28. 2013 and was attended by nearly 75 people. The summit date was selected because it was the conclusion of the VA General Assembly, anticipating participants and presentations from VA elected officials. Sponsorship of the reception was secured from the VA Marine Products Board and the VA Seafood Council. The VCU Analyst developed a facilitator’s guide and note taker’s guide for the collection of conversations from participants. Additionally, a template was developed for the note takers to guide their collection of Actions. The intent was for the note takers to record the Action, Responsible Party and the Timeframe. A simplified pull down menu was developed to facilitate the collection of these data and minimize the altering of comments from the participants. The agenda included: Fishing Gear—Commercial and Recreational; Food and Beverage and Plastic Bags Containers; Butts, Balloons and Special Concern Items; Innovative Solutions. The second day of the Summit was a work-session to solicit input to inform the development of a Marine Debris Reduction Plan covering the categories of: Commercial and Recreational Fishing Gear; Butts, Balloons and Special concern items; and  Food and Beverage Containers.  

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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