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Virginia CZM Program: 2016 Coastal Grant Project Description and Final Summary

Project Task:VA CZM logo



Virginia Commonwealth University

Project Title:

Coastal Management GIS Support and Coastal GEMS Maintenance

Project Description:

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
- Coordinate Coastal VEVA update project and work with VEVA partners on data layer packaging and outreach
- Participate in the Virginia State GIS Users’ Group and keep up-to-date on, or become involved in, other GIS-related developments in Virginia 

Federal Funding:


Project Contact:

Nick Meade, 804.698.4297,

Project Status:

10/1/16 - 9/30/17; Project Completed

Final Product:

The following PDF document was not produced by DEQ. Some of its content may not be in an accessible format pursuant to Section 508 of the federal Rehabilitation Act of 1973, as amended (29 U.S.C. § 794 (d)). Please call 804-698-4005 or 800-592-5482 if you need assistance.

Coastal Management GIS Support and Coastal GEMS Maintenance: FY 16 Annual Report (PDF)

Project Summary:

VCU continued to host the Coastal GEMS online mapping application and VCU staff performed routine maintenance and updates on Coastal GEMS during this time.  Tasks included refreshing map services, updating data and cartography in the map file as per CZM staff request, and installing software and security upgrades. From October 1, 2016 to September 30, 2017, Coastal GEMS received 1,246 visits from 813 unique visitors resulting in1,427 pageviews and an average session duration of 48 seconds.  Coastal GEMS can be accessed at:  

Data management tasks performed by the Coastal GIS Coordinator include securing updated data, processing and symbolizing data for effective display on Coastal GEMS, uploading map packages to VCU, and updating Coastal GEMS fact sheets.  Layers updated in this period include: shellfish condemnation zones, Baylor grounds, private oyster leases, conservation lands, SAV coverage, and public access sites.

The Coastal GIS Coordinator served as CZM project manager for VA CZM grants to VA DCR, VA DGIF and VCU CES to update the Coastal VEVA data synthesis and its component datasets.  Other Coastal GIS coordination tasks performed by the Coastal GIS Coordinator during the grant period included organizing the Mapping and Implementing Conservation Priorities session at Coastal Partners Workshop, participating in State Agency GIS User Group meetings and the South Atlantic LCC Blueprint workshop, and responding in a timely manner to data requests from USFWS, USCG, VCU, VIMS, ANPDC, MPPDC, Antares Group, Open Road Renewables, OneEnergy Renewables, Dominion Energy, Angler Environmental, and Pilot Environmental, Inc.

No official Coastal GEMS trainings were requested and the Coastal GEMS training program was not formally promoted due to in progress updates to Coastal GEMS.  During this grant period though, the GIS Coordinator contributed to survey, training, and outreach initiatives associated with conservation planning in VA’s Coastal Zone and ocean use planning in the Mid-Atlantic.  These included working with VCU staff to create and disseminate a conservation planning tools survey and presentation as part of Coastal VEVA update efforts, utilizing webinar tools to review documentation from participatory GIS recreational use workshops and explain data processing methodology to MARCO GIS staff, working with the Mid-Atlantic Ocean Plan Non-Consumptive Recreation Action workgroup to design and disseminate a survey on non-consumptive recreational use and organize a Non-Consumptive Recreation Workshop in VA Beach, and working with MARCO Portal staff to organize a MARCO Portal training for professionals working on coastal issues in VA.

The Coastal GIS Coordinator produced GIS map products and performed GIS based calculations and services as needed by the CZM Program and its partners including creating large scale laminated field trip location maps as well as a travel time map for the Eastern Shore Birding Festival, completing a section 306A location map and VA DHR archive search for FY16 Task 10, updating four maps used to enforce rotational oyster harvest areas in the Rappahannock as well as two overview maps used by VMRC Conservation and Replenishment staff in presentations and reports, creating a side by side map layout for a CSO publication comparing current eelgrass coverage in seaside bays on VA’s Eastern shore to eelgrass coverage in those bays before seeding began, creating labeled map layout for Central Rappahannock Native Plant Guide, assisting the VA CZM Outreach Coordinator with research and acreage calculations pertaining to state owned properties for native plant outreach materials, making improvements to the Mid-Atlantic Marine Debris Project Database spreadsheet and soliciting additional project information records, and working with MARCO and MACAN staff on a long term project to create a geodatabase (and subsequently a set of data layers on the MARCO Portal) of monitoring sites for ocean, coastal, and estuarine acidification in the Mid-Atlantic.

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:

A more detailed Scope of Work for this project is available. Please direct your request for a copy to or


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Virginia Department of
Environmental Quality
P.O. Box 1105
Richmond, VA 23218
(804) 698-4000

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