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

Project Task Number:CZM logo

94.02

Grantee:

Middle Peninsula Planning District Commission

Project Title:

Mathews County Ditch Mapping and Database

Project Description:

The proposed project located in Mathews County, currently experiences one of the highest levels of sea level rise on the East Coast and concurrently suffers from isostatic rebound and land subsidence. This project will focus on mapping and legal document collections for a previously identified target area experiencing repetitive flooding and the design of a database accessible by the County, VDOT and residents for ditch maintenance information and prioritization.

Recurrent flooding and poor drainage is an increasing problem across lower portions of the Virginia Coastal Zone and Mathews County in particular. Throughout the county, the network of aging roadside and outfall ditches has failed causing inadequate conveyance of stormwater due to decades of debris and sediment build-up and illicit filling of ditches on private property, as well as effects of sea-level rise and geologic subsidence creating significant social, environmental and economic impacts including delay of commodity transport; fallowing of agriculture and silviculture lands; erosion of the tax base; damage to private and public infrastructure; risk to human life and health. There is a strong need to ensure that ditches efficiently transport water away from communities to protect water quality and reduce the quantity of storm water discharged into local waters. 

Poor ditch maintenance and sea level rise directly affect the local tax base, land and water quality and wetlands preservation. Proper maintenance helps to control and mitigate the impacts of flooding on wetlands and fisheries. Educating stakeholders about how sea level rise contributes to recurrent flooding and impacts wetlands and water quality is vital.  This project builds on recent efforts of the Middle Peninsula Planning District Commission (MPPDC). 

• NA12NOS4190168 Task 94.02 Legal and ownership issues associated with problematic ditches. 

• NA13NOS4190135 Task 94.02 Options for financing for maintenance of failed drainage systems. 

• National Fish and Wildlife Foundation Award—Identification of factors causing recurrent flooding-poor drainage and development of a local ditch prioritization tool.    

• NA14NOS419014 Task 94.01- Review of Existing Enabling Authority to address drainage issues locally

With a substantial amount of work completed, this project will further investigate roadside ditch issues in the county through mapping and research of property deeds to document ownership of ditches and outfalls to plan for needed maintenance of failing ditches and design of a framework for a database to house information on failing ditches to assist with prioritization of maintenance needs. MPPDC proposes 3 activities to reduce the information gap between stakeholders and those tasked with repairing the drainage system.

• Create maps identifying ditches in the targeted area with associated parcel information using Mathews County tax parcel maps overlapped with  aerial imagery to provide information on ditch and channel locations to be conducted by MPPDC staff with assistance of subcontractor, DAA

• Mapping information to be given to interns/fellows at Virginia Coastal Policy Clinic (VCPC) at the College of William and Mary to conduct research, compile deeds and easement documentation identifying ditch ownership responsibility, easement rights and other interests in the roadside and outfall ditches identified with the ditch prioritization tool developed under the NFWF contract

• Designing a database for the organization and illustration of legal records and property ownership of failing ditches.  Working with partners DAA and VDOT, MPPDC will determine the appropriate database architecture needed to maintain and connect deed and easement information relative to each private and public property for each ditch and associated parcel.

Federal Funding:

$60,524

Project Contact:

Lewie Lawrence; 804.758.2311; llawrence@mppdc.com

Project Status:

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

Final Product:

Mathews County Ditch Mapping and Database Final Report (PDF)

Project Summary:

In response to a specifically identified public policy problem and directive for assistance by the Mathews County Board of Supervisors, the Middle Peninsula Planning District Commission (MPPDC) partnered with Draper Aden Associates (DAA) and the Virginia Coastal Policy Center (VCPC) at the College William and Mary to address a variety of ditch drainage and maintenance issues. This project investigated roadside ditch issues in Mathews County through mapping and research of property deeds to document ownership of ditches and outfalls in need of maintenance. This effort helped in understanding the needed maintenance of failing ditches to design a framework for a database to house information on failing ditches that could assist in the prioritization of maintenance needs.

 

Through the partnership with DAA, maps were prepared that identified ditches in a targeted area of Mathews County including associated parcel information using Mathews County tax parcel maps overlapped with aerial imagery to provide information on ditch and channel location. This information provided a visual for VCPC interns/fellows to conduct research, compile deeds and easement documentation to identify ditch ownership responsibility, easement rights and other interests in the roadside and outfall ditches. VCPC developed a whitepaper that investigated the challenges presented by the current issues surrounding the drainage ditch network of Mathews County which can be found here: http://www.mppdc.com/index.php/reports/2017-reports. Finally, in an effort to provide a comprehensive closure to this project and the other projects regarding Mathews County ditches, DAA designed a GIS webserver database for the organization and illustration of legal records and property ownership of failing ditches (to visit the GIS database go to:  http://arcg.is/2feRWwf).

 

This tool provided Mathews County Board of Supervisions with information to improve decision-making and to assist with the development of future policy actions on a variety of policy options including (1) do nothing, (2) create a ditch revolving loan fund, (3) create a local advisory committee, (4) create a ditching tax increment financing area, (5) create a service district, (6) create a Virginia Water and Wastewater Authority, and/or (7) develop new legislation. In addition to offering policy options to Mathews County to improve the county wide ditching issue, Delegate Hodges introduced new legislation, HB 1774 Stormwater Management: Work group to examine ways to improve, to the 2017 General Assembly session to help Mathews and other Tidewater Virginia localities. This legislation was approved by the Governor on March 13, 2017.

To date, the Mathews County Board of Supervisors is considering options based on the November 22, 2016 special Board of Supervisors ditch meeting called by Virginia’s 98th District Delegate Keith Hodges.

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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