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

Project Task:



Accomack-Northampton Planning District Commission

Project Title:

A-NPDC Technical Assistance Program

Project Description:

The Accomack-Northampton Planning District Commission (A-NPDC) serves two counties and 19 incorporated towns on the Eastern Shore of Virginia.  The Eastern Shore of Virginia is a 70-mile long peninsula between the Atlantic Ocean and the Chesapeake Bay that has remained as one of the few remaining rural regions on the Atlantic seaboard despite consistent pressure from future development. The region is unique for its vast wealth of coastal resources and natural-resource based economies. Around the turn of the 20th Century in the years following the construction of a rail line that allowed for expedited shipping of agricultural and seafood products to larger urban markets, Accomack and Northampton Counties were noted as the two wealthiest rural counties in the nation. Following this thriving period the region’s population and economies regressed due to challenges in environmental sustainability and geographic isolation. While nearly all other coastal communities have flourished along the Atlantic seaboard, the Eastern Shore continues to pursue opportunities and to persevere against challenges facing its rural communities. The following activities proposed for the FY2015 Technical Assistance Program have been developed in a manner that will benefit the Eastern Shore as its communities work towards establishing a sustainable, viable, and prosperous future.

To better plan and mitigate risks associated with climate change and sea level rise, the A-NPDC assumed the role of lead agency for the Eastern Shore of Virginia Climate Adaptation Working Group (CAWG) in 2012 to coordinate efforts amongst local, state, and federal representatives of government, aquaculture, agriculture, and community organizations. The CAWG along with other A-NPDC efforts such as the Eastern Shore of Virginia Ground Water Committee, which has successfully managed the region’s EPA-designated sole source aquifers since 1990, are working to ensure a productive and sustainable future for Eastern Shore residents and the natural environment.

During FY2015, A-NPDC will publish and distribute the CAWG Newsletter and offer coastal management training opportunities for local government staff and coordinate public education efforts.  The A-NPDC will continue to staff the Eastern Shore of Virginia Ground Water Committee, provide GIS services, conduct state and federal environmental reviews, and work with local governments and organizations to address coastal management issues.  The A-NPDC will provide technical assistance towards the development of the Virginia Working Waterfronts Plan and draft a local chapter summarizing historic, current, and future challenges and needs with regards to working waterfronts on the Eastern Shore. The plan will be the culmination of a multi-year effort focused on protecting, preserving, and enhancing working waterfronts in the region and will be the first of its type in the nation. 

Federal Funding:


Project Contact:

Curt Smith; 757.787.2936;

Project Status:

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

Final Product:

Accomack – Northampton Coastal Resources Technical Assistance Program
Eastern Shore of Virginia Regional Dredging Needs Assessment (PDF)

Project Summary:

The FY2015 program included support of the Eastern Shore Climate Adaptation Working Group, coordination of 11 training & outreach programs; technical assistance to local, state, & federal government organizations; staff support of the Eastern Shore Ground Water Committee; and attendance at the VCZMP and Coastal PDC meetings. Over $1 million in grant funds & staff time was leveraged to aid the completion of multiple projects related to the goals presented in the scope of work for FY2015.

The Climate Adaptation Working Group Newsletters were distributed to over 150 persons from local, state, and federal representatives of government, aquaculture, agriculture, and community organizations. It is also distributed to the public and available online. It consists of collected local, regional, national, and international research and news items and planning tools as related to climate change, sea level rise, and hazard mitigation. The new distribution format has increased the ease-of-use and contributed to new requests for inclusion on the mailing list.

The A-NPDC coordinated 11 training & outreach programs including two public workshops on ground water hydrology, three local watershed TMDL working group meetings, a Household Hazardous Waste Collection, and presentations on future impacts from sea level rise and coastal resiliency. These programs were attended by about 166 individuals from the public, private, and governmental sectors involving various stakeholder groups.

The A-NPDC partnered with over 50 agencies during FY2015 in a variety of activities ranging from participating in the ES Watersheds Network; developing adaptation strategies for climate change and sea level rise on the Eastern Shore, and participating in a Working Waterfronts Coalition for Rural Virginia. The A-NPDC used VCZMP grant funds to leverage services and complete projects on 14 occasions including funding the consulting hydrogeologist to the ES Ground Water Committee, developing a hazard mitigation plan for local governments, serving on numerous local & state committees & workgroups, and participating in numerous workshops and seminars. A-NPDC staff performed historical searches using the VA Dept. of Historic Resources Data Sharing System. A-NPDC responded to more than 27 information requests from private, local, state, and federal organizations and individuals.

The Eastern Shore Ground Water Committee held 9 meetings, conducted 1 public workshop, maintained an awards program & Committee website, conducted a Household Hazardous Waste Collection, commented on state regulatory actions, created 2 summary fact sheets, maintained the ES Groundwater Resource Protection and Preservation Plan and Water Supply Plans, & reviewed 12 withdrawal permits.

The A-NPDC coordinated with the United States Army Corps of Engineers and the Regional Navigable Waterways Committee (RNWC), as well as additional stakeholders, to complete the Regional Dredging Needs Assessment. This report will provide initial data and a substantial resource in moving forward with strategic, long-term planning in regards to dredging on the Eastern Shore. A-NPDC staff is continuing to work with, and provide aid to the RNWC.

The A-NPDC created a compilation of VCZM Grants and described additional benefits accrued since completion.

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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