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

Project Task Number:CZM logo



Virginia Institute of Marine Science

Project Title:

Shoreline Management Planning

Project Description:

A Shoreline Management Plan consists of 5 elements:  a shoreline inventory, evolution study, site specific best management practices, schematics for specific types of shoreline treatments, and background review on general geology and characteristics of the coastal land use.  Shoreline Inventories and Shoreline Evolution Reports, which provide independent data that feed models and envelope the full breadth of a SMP, have been generated for many localities in the coastal zone of Virginia.  These activities must continue in tandem with the development of the first SMPs to insure that all data necessary to accomplish comprehensive shoreline planning across all coastal localities into the future remains current and available.  Therefore, the scope of work proposed for this project includes several aspects of the data development as well as final SMP products for selected localities.  A review of existing products to support SMP development was undertaken.  Consideration of data currency, completeness, and consistency with data protocols and model needs was essential.  Based on this review the following activities will be targeted.

Two new Shoreline Evolution Reports will be developed for Prince George County and the City of Chesapeake.  An expanded Shoreline Evolution Report will be developed for the City of Norfolk to include the secondary tributaries and creeks.  A new Shoreline Inventory for will be generated for Prince George, and the 2002 Shoreline Inventory for Accomack County will be updated.  Finally we will use these data and data previously collected to generate Shoreline Management Plans for Gloucester and Prince George counties.  

The Shoreline Evolution Report for the City of Norfolk will be expanded to include low energy shorelines.  The analysis will complete the historic shoreline change for all tidal shoreline in this locality, and contribute another valuable planning resource to the newly released Comprehensive Coastal Resources Management Portal for the City in January of 2015.   A new evolution study for Chesapeake will complete this series for the lower Tidewater cities.  Prince George has been selected because it is a growing community in Tidewater, Virginia that includes some high and moderate energy shoreline.  Little work has been done in this locality and this year significant effort is being dedicated to bring increase decision support tools here.

In that vein, a Shoreline Inventory will be developed for Prince George.  At the same time, we will also update the 2002 Shoreline Inventory for Accomack County.  This locality is of significant size but of great interest for a number of reasons.  An update will bring the timeliness of the data for Accomack in line with the work done for Northampton County to the south.   Also, these data will support a number of ongoing initiatives including resiliency modeling for the entire Eastern Shore of Virginia.  The data generated for the Shoreline Inventory are necessary to run the geospatial Shoreline Management Model; a major component of the SMP.  The activity includes data collection, processing and distribution.  Development of an interactive map interface in lieu of digital maps in pdf format will be adopted for these inventories as the product deliverable.  The digital data is also available for download through a dedicated website.   

Two SMPs will be generated during the grant period.  Prince George and Gloucester County Shoreline Management Plans will be published.  The Shoreline Management Plan for Gloucester will complete the package of decision tools considered most critical for effective coastal decision making.  

The project year will include field work, data collection, data processing and analysis, as well as data and report publication. SMPs will be made available electronically and distributed to the local governments on CD and posted to the VIMS website.  Baseline data, where appropriate will be delivered to CZMP for inclusion in Coastal GEMS.

Federal Funding:


Project Contact:

Marcia Berman; 804.684.7188;

Project Status:

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

Final Product:

Prince George County and the City of Hopewell, Virginia Shoreline Inventory Report Methods and Guidelines (PDF)
Prince George County and the City of Hopewell, Virginia Digital Shoreline Inventory Report - Description and Disclaimer (PDF)
Accomack County, Virginia Shoreline Inventory Report Methods and Guidelines (PDF)
Accomack County, Virginia Digital Shoreline Inventory Report - Description and Disclaimer(PDF)
FY 15, Task 93 Shoreline Evolution Reports (PDF)
Gloucester County Shoreline Management Plan (PDF)
Prince George County Shoreline Management Plan (PDF)

Project Summary:

Products that support shoreline management planning at the local level include: the Shoreline Inventory, the Shoreline Evolution Report, and the Shoreline Management Plan.  Individually, each one of these contributes to a better understanding of the condition of the shoreline, how it has evolved over time, and how it should be managed into the future to sustain important ecological services from which humans derive benefits.  This project has funded the development of locally derived shoreline inventory data for Prince George County and Accomack County, Virginia.  The data are available to the public through the following website:  These data describe land use along the shoreline, the stability of the shoreline, where the shoreline has been stabilized to counter erosion, and the general shoreline morphology.  Products associated with the Prince George County Shoreline Inventory and the Accomack County Shoreline Inventory have been delivered to the local government in digital and hardcopy format. 

The Prince George County, City of Norfolk, and City of Chesapeake Shoreline Evolution Reports expand work previously done on primary shoreline into the sheltered tidal creeks and tributaries.  The evolution report traces shoreline change using historic photographic dating back as far as the 1930s.  Documented changes illustrate how the shoreline has responded to natural and anthropogenic stressors such as storms and shoreline hardening.  The Evolution Report and digital data can be downloaded from this link: Hard copies are delivered to the Planning Office and the Office of the County Administrator. 

Using both modeled and field assessment, Shoreline Management Plans provide information to guide management of tidal shoreline at the local level. These reports characterize the shoreline’s geology, morphology, and wave climate; while providing specific guidance on tidal shoreline erosion control.  Shoreline Management Plans advocate an ecosystem based approach to shoreline management to strengthen coastal resiliency and long term sustainability of important ecological services.  Final products under this grant include the Gloucester County and the Prince George County Shoreline Management Plans.  Both should be used to help guide decision making and policy development into the future.  They are available on this site: County Administrator and the Planning Office for both localities receive hardcopies of the plan.

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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