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

Project Task:

9

Grantee:

Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation - Division of Natural Heritage

Project Title:

Healthy Waters Program in the Coastal Zone

Project Description as Proposed:

Funding through this grant will be used to support the implementation of the Virginia Healthy Waters Program (HWP) within the Division of Natural Heritage at the Virgnia Department of Conservation and Recreation (VDCR) as it applies to advancing the identification, interpretation and protection of aquatic communities. This task includes the administration and development of the Program, delivery of tools and products of the VDCR Division of Natural Heritage such as the Virginia Ecological Values Assessment (VEVA), development of Ecological Occurrences (EOs), Stream Conservation Units (SCUs), INSTAR data, Coastal Gems and Watershed Integrity Model, in the Coastal Zone of Virginia. The Program Manager will work with both the VDCR Division of Natural Heritage and the VDEQ to fully implement the Program to achieve lasting benefits for the Commonwealth.

In addition, this grant may provide limited support to the Planning District Commissions (PDCs), on a request basis, in support of the VCZM Technical Assistance grants, PDC competitive 306 funds and section 309 environmental enhancement strategies. The limited, request-based, assistance will be in the areas of expertise as provided by the VDCR NDH Programs and staff such as, blue/green infrastructure protection and restoration planning, planning for adaptation to changes in climate, coastal and waterfront community development, and natural resource based planning.

An Environmental Scientist/Analyst will be retained through a contractual arrangement with the Center for Environmental Studies (CES), Department of Life Sciences and the Rice Rivers Center located at Virginia Commonwealth University.  The individual will continue to be housed in the DCR Division of Natural Heritage and have access to the facilities and expertise of the VDCR and continue to integrate the skills and abilities of the CES, as well. The position also serves as a liaison between DCR and the CES at VCU to promote joint, applied research and outreach projects. This includes the oversight of programs, projects, grants and grant budgets, providing technical support to VDCR Natural Heritage Division and the Virginia Coastal Zone Management Program, as it relates to coastal zone ecology, management, and restoration.
 
This position will also continue to participate in state, local, or federal working groups as needed with regard to water quality protection and restoration issues as the VDCR deems necessary.  In addition, the Program Manager will prepare semiannual and annual reports and other technical documents.

Federal Funding:

$27,000

Project Contact:

Todd Janeski, 804.371.8984; todd.janeski@dcr.virginia.gov

Project Status:

10/1/2014 - 3/31/2016; Project Completed

Final Product Received:

Healthy Waters in the Coastal Zone Final Report (PDF) 

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 continued to serve as the Program Manager of the Virginia Healthy Waters Program at the Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation, Division of Natural Heritage.

The Healthy Waters Program is supported through funding from several grant sources including the VA CZM Section 306, US EPA 319 Nonpoint Source Program, and the Chesapeake Bay Implementation Grant. These sources fund various aspects of the Program including the administration and oversight, Program growth and expansion, improvement in capacity, acquisition and analysis of new data and data integration. Data gaps and data integration were the two focal areas of the analysis with immediate needs to integrate existing INSTAR data into the NHD data explorer and the creation of new Ecological Occurrences (EOs) and Stream Conservation Units (SCUs). Discussions included the improvement in program capacity by adding two field staff to the Program through a focused training in the 2015 sampling season. The Program Manager oversaw a CBIG funded project to conduct re-sampling in Virginia streams of data older than ten years. These sites, initially supported with VA CZM funding, included the two above mentioned Natural Heritage personnel. These sites, given the date of initial acquisition, were likely to have significantly changed over time. This analysis was conducted to determine if and how streams have maintained their designation as Healthy. Streams were sampled in Hanover, Madison and Fauquier Counties and in the Appomattox, York, Rappahannock, and Piankatank drainages.

Also supported through this grant is the acquiring of materials to support the VA Oyster Shell Recycling Program. During the reporting period, decals with Program logos, tagline stickers and banners were developed to continue to increase awareness of the Program.  The restoration work conducted in the Lafayette returned 50 bushels of shells seeded with spat and the Program collected 60,000lb of shell from the participating restaurants. The Program added the localities of Newport News, Hampton and Norfolk during the project cycle. For both Newport News and Hampton, the following sites were added: The Crab Shack, Culinary Institute, Harpoon Larry's Oyster Bar, Olde Towne Tavern, Oyster Alley, and the Pointe at Phoebus. Keep Norfolk Beautiful directly requested the VOSRP to engage local partners to expand shell collection in the region. The result was an application of the same rigid process and structure adding the following site: Chow, AW Shucks, Norfolk Taphouse, the Big Easy and Todd Jurichs Bistro. Late in the grant cycle, an oyster company brokered a new business into the VOSRP, Shiptown. VA Master Naturalists (Peninsula and Tidewater, respectively) are to provide volunteers to participate in the movement of the material.

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: Laura.McKay@deq.virginia.gov

A more detailed Scope of Work for this project is available. Please direct your request for a copy to Virginia.Witmer@deq.virginia.gov

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Virginia Department of
Environmental Quality
P.O. Box 1105
Richmond, VA 23218
(804) 698-4000


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