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Virginia CZM Program: 2015 Coastal Grant Project Description and Final Summary

Project Task:



Virginia Commonwealth University

Project Title:

Coastal Management GIS Support and Coastal GEMS Maintenance

Project Description as Proposed:

This task supports one full time staff position (Coastal GIS Coordinator) that is contracted through Virginia Commonwealth University’s Center for Environmental Studies (VCU CES) to provide GIS support to the Virginia CZM program and the partial time of two additional VCU CES staff required to host and maintain the Coastal Geospatial and Educational Mapping System (Coastal GEMS), perform data/software updates, and perform grant/project management.

Coastal Management GIS Support:  The Coastal GIS Coordinator provides support to the Virginia CZM Program to ensure that GIS needs are met; that policy and planning functions have adequate GIS support; that open grants involving GIS products are properly managed and implemented; and that Virginia CZM’s Coastal GEMS remains a valuable tool to Virginia’s coastal community. This staff position will support the following activities:

  • Work with VCU CES and others to ensure the maintenance and enhancement of Virginia CZM’s Coastal GEMS

  • Organize Coastal GEMS training programs for state/local government users and others

  • Advise CZM project managers and grantees on grants involving GIS data development, mapping, and NOAA’s data sharing policy

  • Perform GIS calculations and searches and produce GIS map products, as needed by the CZM Program and its partners

  • Work with CZM Program manager and Mid-Atlantic Regional Council on the Ocean (MARCO) partners on mapping related ocean planning efforts

  • Provide GIS support to Virginia Wind Energy Area Collaborative Fisheries Planning Project Team

  • Participate in the Virginia State GIS Users’ Group and keep up-to-date on, or become involved in, other GIS-related developments in Virginia

Coastal GEMS Maintenance:  VCU CES will continue to host, maintain, and update the Coastal GEMS web mapping application.  Current Coastal GEMS data layers will be edited or updated as determined by VCU/CZM staff.  New Coastal Gems data layers will be added as they are developed through Virginia CZM Program grants or are contributed from a partnering agency or organization.

Federal Funding:


Project Contact:

Nick Meade; 804.698.4297;

Project Status:

10/1/15 - 9/30/16; Project Completed

Final Product Received:

Coastal Management GIS Support & Coastal GEMS Maintenance: FY 15 Annual Report (PDF)

Project Summary Provided by Grantee:

VCU CES staff: Performed Coastal Gems maintenance including installing software/security updates and refreshing map services as necessary.  From October 1, 2015 to September 30, 2016, Coastal GEMS received 1,395 visits from 963 unique visitors with an average site visit time of 1 minute and 16 seconds.  Coastal GEMS layers updated during the grant period include: Current Population, Population Change, Conservation Lands, Private Oyster Leases, Baylor Grounds, Oyster Aquaculture Vulnerability, Clam Aquaculture Vulnerability, Development Vulnerability Model, and Agricultural Value Model.  Coastal GEMS can be accessed online at:   

The Coastal GIS Coordinator
: Secured tabular and spatial data updates for nine current Coastal GEMS layers from data providers and processed and/or prepared data for effective display on Coastal GEMS.  Provided symbolized map packages to VCU CES staff to update Coastal GEMS map services and updated Coastal GEMS factsheets as necessary

-Responded to Coastal GEMS data and information requests including: providing spatial data in requested formats to federal and state agencies, localities, academic institutions, environmental NGO’s and private contractors and providing NOAA with Coastal GEMS fact sheet template and completed sample fact sheet to use as model for "uses" pages

-Continued participation in BOEM Collaborative Fisheries Planning project, including creating map layouts and text describing VA Atlantic Coast Recreational Use data for final report and creating map of potentially impacted fishing ports for BMP 1

-Represented VA on Mid Atlantic RPB Tribal Uses IJC Workgroup, including collaborating on white paper prepared by group

-Drafted articles for CZM Magazine on Collaborative Fisheries Planning for VA’s WEA and Coastal VEVA Update

-Worked with VA CZM and DCR Natural Heritage staff to delineate native planting regions and created series of maps showing planting regions including overlays with physiographic data and coverage of existing/planned native plant guides

-Performed GIS calculations and created series of eight maps showing percent coverages of conservation easements, upland conservation easements, and conservation lands that could have been developed (i.e. without development restrictions due to being wetland or barrier island) on VA’s Eastern Shore for use in RFP for study of Economic Impacts of Conserved Lands and created large format prints for use at Eastern Shore Economic Study kickoff meeting

-Provided VIMS CBNERR staff demo of audience participation system and eBeam digital whiteboard technology

-Worked with TNC staff and VITA to troubleshoot firewall issue blocking certain data layers on the MARCO Portal 

-Produced additional maps as requested by VA CZM staff and partners including: map for Southeast Virginia Native Plant Guide, maps used to enforce rotational oyster harvest, maps for the VA CZM Magazine, maps used for 306a clearance, and maps for the Eastern Shore Birding and Wildlife Festival including map for rack card showing festival location and drive times and large scale map showing the locations of all of the field trips to be displayed at the festival registration area

-Coordinated Coastal VEVA partners to create updated Coastal VEVA dataset including leading meetings with staff from DCR, VCU, VIMS, and DGIF and working with DCR-NHP, DGIF, and VCU CES staff to produce proposals for FY14 and FY16 CZM funds to update Coastal VEVA as well as many of the key datasets it synthesizes.  Served as CZM Project Manager for all of these tasks and worked with VCU CES staff to create a survey for potential Coastal VEVA users as part of their FY14 task.

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

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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