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Virginia CZM Program: 2012 Coastal Grant Project Description and Final Summary

Project Task:VA CZM logo



VA Department of Environmental Quality 

Project Title:

Virginia Ocean Plan 

Project Description as Proposed:

Over the next four years, the Virginia CZM Program will continue development of a Virginia Ocean Plan 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). The IOPTF’s recommendations and the accompanying Presidential Executive Order:  (This link no longer exists.) 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 take. At a minimum, Virginia’s Ocean Plan will cover the area from mean low water along Virginia’s Atlantic coast out to the 200 mile Exclusive Economic Zone.

In addition this Ocean Resources Strategy includes development of a Virginia Marine Debris Plan.  Through this task, results of the February 2013 Marine Debris Summit in Virginia (FY 2011 Task 95.02) will be used as the basis for further analysis of  key marine debris sources and generation of prioritized management options. Management options will be presented to the Virginia Coastal Policy Team 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 two staff under this grant will work with the Virginia CZM Program Manager (Task 1), to continue to engage ocean stakeholders through meetings, PGIS workshops and other techniques as needed in order to refine the offshore ocean management objectives for various uses such as fishing, energy development, conservation, sand mining, military activities, transportation. One staff will be a DEQ employee and serve as a Ocean Planning Group Process Facilitator, the other a VCU contractor who will continue to serve as the Ocean Planning Stakeholder Engagement Coordinator. These two staff, while working with other partners and MARCO’s Ocean Planning Action Team, will continue to obtain and “ground-truth” data from stakeholders for inclusion in the MARCO Mapping and Planning Portal.  Technical data manipulation will be done by the Monmouth University Team which has received Regional Ocean Partnership grant funding from NOAA.  The staff funded through this task will focus on the outreach and facilitation of stakeholder meetings such that a Virginia perspective on management objectives will be available for informing the development of the National Ocean Council’s “Regional Planning Body”.  The Ocean Planning Stakeholder Engagement Coordinator will be the primary point of contact for coordinating, outreach and engagement of ocean stakeholders, arranging and establishing meetings, and communicating with sector stakeholders. The Group Process Facilitator will provide direct assistance to advance group discussions and support the ocean planning data collection process, the Marine Debris Summit, and the Task 96, Eastern Shore Seaside SAMP.

The staff in this task will also participate in the MARCO Action Teams which include Ocean Planning (including its Stakeholder Engagement Sub-team), Climate Change, Renewable Energy, Habitat and Water Quality.

The second year of activities to inform the development of the MARCO Mapping and Planning Portal will follow-up the activities under FY11 Task 95.02 outreach and engagement of recreational users (including, charter fishing, recreational fishing and general ocean uses) and will begin the engagement process of the Commercial Fisheries industries. Partnering with the Monmouth Project Team, these VA based staff will assist with the outreach to the Ports, Renewable Energy, Defense, and Transportation sectors when such sectors are contacted regarding Virginia-based activities.

In addition, they will refine the development of the Marine Debris Plan (MDP) in an effort to develop an action plan based upon the outcome of the Marine Debris Summit to be held in late February 2013 (FY 2011 Task 95.02). 


1.      Continued engagement of the Virginia Ocean Stakeholders that provides input to MARCO’s Regional Ocean 
         Mapping and Planning Portal; and the National Ocean Council’s Mid-Atlantic Regional Planning Body.

          a.       Continue to conduct, host, coordinate and facilitate meetings and discussions with ocean users and
                     industry representatives to obtain and share ocean use data relevant to the MARCO Portal

          b.      Conduct one-on-one meetings with representatives of industry and ocean users to maintain long-term 
                    relationships and develop opportunities to engage larger groups of their organizations

          c.       Continue the use of Participatory GIS (PGIS) with ocean users to obtain data relevant to the 
                    development of the portal

          d.      Consult with the science and technical communities to analyze the data developed

          e.       Coordinate with other groups developing ocean use data to maximize outreach and minimize 
                    conflict and overlap

2.      Distribution of the overview and informational background materials on ocean planning developed during the 
         previous grant year and  continue communicating with stakeholder groups so that they better understand:

          a.       Important physical and ecological patterns and processes

          b.      Ecological condition and relative importance of areas

          c.       Economic and environmental benefits and impacts of marine uses in VA

          d.      Relationships and linkages within and among VA’s marine ecosystems

          e.       Spatial distribution of, and conflicts and compatibilities among current and future uses (This may 
                    require additional stakeholder interviews, surveys, focus groups or all three.)

          f.       Important ecosystem services in the area and their vulnerability and resilience to the effects of human 
                   uses and natural hazards

          g.      Contribution of existing place-based management measures and authorities

          h.      Future requirements of existing and emerging ocean and coastal uses

3.      A document outlining key Virginia objectives for management of ocean waters offshore of Virginia that reflects a 
         consensus (if possible) of Virginia stakeholders, sector-by-sector.

A document building on the outcome of the Marine Debris Summit that provides a prioritized list of management actions that would reduce marine debris off the VA Coast. Document will inform the development of the VA Marine Debris Plan.

Federal Funding:


Project Contact:

Todd Janeski; 804.828.2858, 

Project Status:

10/1/2012 - 6/30/2014; Project Completed 

Final Product Received:

Ocean Spatial Plan Final Report (PDF)

Project Summary Provided by Grantee:

The VCU Environmental Scientist/Analyst, as retained by the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality, Coastal Zone Management Program, served as the Ocean Planning Stakeholder Coordinator for the grant reporting period under the VACZM Section 309 Ocean Resources Strategy. During this period, the Stakeholder Coordinator worked with the Virginia CZM Program in the Commonwealth’s Ocean Planning initiative. This effort included direct assistance to the VA CZM Manager for the purpose of facilitating the development and implementation of a Virginia Ocean Plan for the waters off Virginia’s coast in concert with the Mid-Atlantic Regional Council on the Ocean (MARCO).

The VCU Ocean Stakeholder Outreach Coordinator worked with the CZM Director and other partners, such as the Accomack-Northampton Planning District Commission to further collect recreational data to validate the PGIS sessions conducted in 2012. These data included the collection of aerial photography during peak use days. These spatially referenced data greatly enhance the understanding of use patterns and intensity of activities along Virginia’s coast and will lead to improved decision making capabilities by managers in the future, especially as it relates to ocean activities and reducing marine-use conflicts. This process was directly coordinated with the ANPDC to have a comprehensive analysis of the coastline.
The Environmental Scientist continued to coordinate to develop an outreach strategy that combines the efforts of the Monmouth Team with that of the VA efforts to engage the commercial sector in a meaningful manner. The approach is to combine both the Portal discussions with that of Ocean Planning off the coast of VA, in general. This task continued to work toward the development of mapping products that would refine fisheries data for use in the portal to represent the activities of the Commercial Sector.

The VCU Environmental Analyst provided direct assistance as a research team member with the DEQ Community Involvement Specialist**. Through this effort, the VCU Environmental Analyst assisted the Longwood University Clean Virginia Waterways Program Manager in development of the Marine Debris Reduction Plan. Significant effort was spent developing, collecting and analyzing social science-based data to inform the development of the VA Marine Debris Reduction Plan. This research included the development and implementation of a Web-based survey and direct interviews with the “informed” litter and debris community in VA. The analysis of the Web –based survey consisted of considerable data analysis due to the high number of open-ended questions. Regular meetings between the DEQ Outreach Specialist, the Clean Virginia Waterways Program Manager and the VCU Environmental Analyst were held to ensure continued progress on the draft Plan. The social science approach included the development of a Web-based survey tool and direct interviews with those in the field that are involved, to some degree, in debris-related issues.

** Angela Neilan, formerly the Community Involvement Specialist at the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality, was a co-principle investigator on this grant and acted as an Ocean Planning Group Process Facilitator.

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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