Virginia CZM Program: 2014 Coastal Grant Project Description and Final Summary

Project Task:



Back Bay Restoration Foundation

Project Title:

Virginia Beach Watersheds Forum

Project Description as Proposed:

In 2015, BBRF will host the 2015 Virginia Beach Watersheds Forum.  Partnering with Lynnhaven River NOW, another Virginia Beach watershed-based non-profit organization, the organizations will educate attendees on current issues that affect all eight sub-watersheds in Virginia Beach.  Presenters from local, state, and federal agencies, non-profit and private enterprises with subject-area expertise will be invited to present on the subject of their latest environmental initiatives.   

The Project Manager will work with Lynnhaven River NOW staff and Forum committee volunteers to set the 2015 agenda, invite speakers, handle event logistics and reports, coordinate volunteer assistance, and moderate the Forum.  Additionally, relevant local organizations will be invited to have table displays for additional outreach to attendees.  Extended breaks between sessions and morning registration activities will permit attendees to visit a variety of environmental education displays throughout the lobby. 

Past Forums focused on historical research and studies conducted throughout the Back Bay watershed.  Starting with the 2006 Back Bay Forum, the focus shifted to “Best Management Practices for the Back Bay Watershed” in an important environmental initiative to educate individuals about their role in restoring water quality.  In 2013 and 2014, BBRF shifted to include all eight sub-watersheds in Virginia Beach to expand our reach and diversify the audience in attendance.  The 2015 Forum will have presentations and panels that address the region as a whole, but also have three series of break-out sessions.  One series of breakout sessions will include updated scientific information regarding issues affecting Virginia Beach watersheds.  The second series will include practical information for homeowners living in and around the watersheds.  The third series of breakout sessions will provide the most up to date, educational information to teachers and parents regarding Virginia Beach watersheds.

Back Bay Restoration Foundation will partner with Lynnhaven River NOW to make the forum a trash free event.  The event will be held at a facility that provides reusable tableware and works with the project manager to compost food waste from the event.  BBRF hopes to set an example for Forum attendees. 

Each attendee will be asked to complete a survey at the end of the Forum.  These surveys will be analyzed and used to plan future Forums.

The BBRF website,, contains a link for the VB Watershed Forum as well as archived presentations from past forums.  All Forum presentations are available on CD, upon request.

Federal Funding:


Project Contact:

Shannon Davis, 757.619.6429;

Project Status:

10/1/14 - 9/30/15; Project Closed

Final Product Received:

Back Bay Restoration Foundation Virginia Beach Watersheds Forum FY 2014 Final Report (PDF) 

Project Summary Provided by Grantee:

With funding and support from the Virginia Coastal Zone Management Program and NOAA, Back Bay Restoration Foundation (BBRF) and Lynnhaven River NOW (LRNow) co-hosted the 2015 Virginia Beach Watersheds Forum on March 30, 2015, for 100 attendees comprised of BBRF members, LRNow members, Master Naturalists, students, home/land owners, Virginia Beach City officials and staff, and representatives from state and federal agencies.  The Forum agenda began with a group workshop titled “Parks and Recreation Workshop on the Outdoors Plan” with Barbara Duke (Virginia Beach Parks & Recreation Open Space Planner).  The Forum agenda then had two break-out sessions, each included information to benefit Virginia Beach Watersheds as a whole as well as watershed specific information.  The first break-out session talks included: “Back Bay Fisheries Update” (Chad Boyce, VDGIF), “Green Seas Plan for the North Landing River” (Calvin Jackson, Environment and Sustainability Office), and “Local Agriculture in our Future” (John Wilson, New Earth Farm and Kirsten Halverson, Buy Fresh, Buy Local Hampton Roads).  The second break-out sessions talks included: “Strategic Growth Areas, the Plan for the Future” (Barry Frankenfield, Virginia Beach Strategic Growth Area Office), “Transportation Options in Virginia Beach” (Brian Solis, City of Virginia Beach), and “Planning for Sustainability” (Clay Bernick, Environment and Sustainability Office).  The VB Watersheds Forum concluded with a quick discussion of the results of the input received during the workshop at the beginning of the Forum.

Pertinent displays featuring area conservation/environmental non-profits including: Master Naturalists, Virginia Native Plant Society, Rudee Inlet Foundation, Back Bay National Wildlife Refuge, Sierra Club, and others were available to attendees throughout the day.   Presentations from presenters will be available on the BBRF website.  PowerPoint presentations of all presentations were provided upon request.  BBRF and LRNow staff and volunteers distributed the feedback form following the Forum. BBRF and LRNow staff analyzed the feedback forms and generated ideas for the future including alternative catering ideas and returning to watershed specific rooms and presentations.

In September, BBRF finalized the Action Plan. The plan included soliciting more watershed specific speakers instead of targeting presenters that represent all Virginia Beach watersheds as a whole and considering holding the forum every other year to give more time for new information. In addition, BBRF modified and built on the plan from last year regarding pollution prevention and outreach activities. BBRF has already implemented social media to assist in outreach. In doing so, BBRF increased its social media network following and reach by 40%. BBRF plans to share outreach events, watershed information, local updates, pollution prevention tips, etc via social media and other digital means

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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