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Virginia CZM Program: 2013 Coastal Grant Project Description and Final Summary

Project Task:VA CZM logo



Virginia Institute of Marine Science

Project Title:

Developing a Working Waterfronts Plan for Virginia's Coastal Zone; Year 3

Project Description as Proposed:

Coastal areas are experiencing dramatically increased demand for residential development.  This demand often results in the need for services and resources that are not compatible with the nature and character of the community that attracted the development in the first place. As a result, historic industries that support the functionality of many waterfront communities become disadvantaged by impacts of new development. Localities with working waterfronts often lack sufficient information and/or organizational capacity to effectively respond to the changes presented by increased growth and development.

The proposed project will continue efforts to establish a coastal zone-wide Working Waterfronts plan for Virginia that will serve to guide communities in protecting, restoring and enhancing their water-dependent commercial and recreational activities. The strategy to develop this program change is designed to help communities with existing water-dependent commercial infrastructure understand the long-term costs associated with the loss of working waterfronts, develop new policy tools to help them manage the increasing growth pressures, and build capacity to develop working waterfronts as a thriving component of local economic development. 
Three coastal Planning District Commissions (PDCs) with significant working waterfront infrastructure will continue to be involved in implementing this project:  Accomack-Northampton PDC, Middle Peninsula PDC and Northern Neck PDC. 

Project management and coordination from the Virginia Institute of Marine Science/Virginia Sea Grant Marine Extension Program allows for expertise in comparative economic analyses to identify the long-term economic impacts of incoming development versus the maintenance and enhancement of existing water dependent commercial activities.  This proposal will continue laying the foundation for development of a working waterfront plan for Virginia’s Coastal Zone, to guide communities in decision making and policy development to retain the water-driven elements of their economic structure and cultural heritage. 

Federal Funding:


Project Contact:

Tom Murray, 804.684.7190; 

Project Status:

10/1/2013 - 9/30/2014; Project Completed 

Final Product Received:

Developing a Working Waterfronts Plan for Virginia's Coastal Zone Final Report (PDF)

Project Summary Provided by Grantee:

Evaluation of local dependence upon critical Working Waterfronts.

The evaluation of the inventories and discussion with local PDC staff helped to determine which particular site warranted more detailed evaluation.  Four working waterfronts were selected for applied economic analysis.  

Associated with three sites, local planning authorities evaluated the facilities with respect to prevailing zoning and development potential to evaluate any risks to the facilities continuation in its use as working waterfronts.  The facilities included a commercial fishing dock in Hampton, Virginia,  small commercial fishing waterway in Gloucester County,  a marine railway in Weems, Virginia and the working waterfront complex at Willis Wharf Virginia.

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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