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

Project Task Number:CZM logo



Virginia Coastal Policy Clinic

Project Title:

Routine Program Changes

Project Description:

The Virginia CZM Program was fully approved by NOAA in 1986. Since program approval, a number of Routine Program Changes (RPCs) have been submitted and approved by NOAA in an effort to keep the core regulatory authorities of the Virginia CZM Program up to date.  During the open award period, the Virginia CZM Program will undertake a review and analysis of potential program changes to determine which RPCs will be developed and submitted. Identified program change packages needed include transfer of nonpoint source (Erosion and Sediment Control) and Chesapeake Bay Preservation Act (and Regulation) authorities from DCR to DEQ.  Inclusion of state listed endangered and threatened species is also being considered.

Under this project, the Virginia CZM Program plans to contract with the Virginia Coastal Policy Clinic at the College of William & Mary Law School to have additional program change submissions documents developed.  Specific issues to be addressed will be determined based on findings of Virginia CZM Program staff and on consultation with members of the Virginia Coastal Policy Team.  A more detailed contract will then be submitted for approval. Program Change documents will be developed in a format and content suitable to NOAA, in conformance with OCM Program Change Guidance by requesting feedback from NOAA throughout the project period.

Federal Funding:


Project Contact:


Project Status:

10/1/15 - 3/31/17; Project Completed

Final Product:

Draft of Virginia's Narrative Enforceable Coastal Policies Final Report (PDF)

Project Summary:

Pursuant to the Virginia Coastal Zone Management Program’s (CZM) timeline, the Virginia Coastal Policy Center (VCPC) has drafted narrative enforceable policies based on substantive provisions in the Code of Virginia and Virginia Administrative Code regarding the Virginia Marine Resources Commission’s (VMRC) Fisheries Management, Wetlands Management and Dunes Management and Subaqueous Lands Management programs, and the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality’s (DEQ) Wetlands Management Program.


VCPC and CZM staff organized an Advisory Committee for the project comprised of representatives from VCPC, DEQ, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries (DGIF), Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR), Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT), Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (VDACS), VMRC, the Department of Defense (DoD), the Virginia Attorney General’s Office, and the Hampton Roads Planning District Commission.


Based on recommendations from NOAA representatives John Kuriawa and Kerry Kehoe, VCPC strove for simplicity and clarity in drafting the narrative enforceable policies. After VCPC met with VMRC staff multiple times over the summer and drafted policies based on VMRC’s and DEQ’s respective substantive provisions, the Advisory Committee met for comment on, and discussion of, each draft to ensure that the policies met NOAA’s criteria for approval and were faithful representations of the statutory and regulatory provisions upon which they were based. Comment and discussion of the enforceable policies resulted in multiple alterations to each draft, including changes in cited authorities, modified language that more accurately reflected the cited authorities, and removal of policies that did not meet NOAA criteria. After each meeting, VCPC drafted minutes of the meeting and incorporated suggested edits to the enforceable policies into a new draft, both of which were then sent to the Advisory Committee for approval.

As in prior phases of the project, the question arose at Advisory Committee meetings of how to avoid incorporating by reference other policies or requirements into an enforceable policy. Mr. Kuriawa noted that Maryland faced a similar issue in developing its own narrative enforceable policies, one that it did not resolve. As the Committee was still unsure of how to resolve the issue, it decided to just avoid reference by incorporation in future drafts as much as possible and to defer further discussion of the issue until a later date. Another topic that the Committee deferred was the possibility of creating a process for review of de minimis projects.

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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