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

Project Task:VA CZM logo



Virginia Institute of Marine Science

Project Title:

Living Shoreline Contractor Training and Shoreline Management Plan Public Information Meetings

Project Description:

This project consists of two efforts.  1) The first effort is Living Shoreline Contractor Training.  As part of a FY09 grant from the Virginia CZM Program, the Living Shoreline Design Guidelines report was created.  This report consist of several components including:  shoreline/physical processes/reach considerations; management strategies and goals; ecosystem functions; construction considerations and standards; permitting process; contact information of agencies, boards, and websites of additional information. In 2010, the manual and created class materials were used to present a training workshop at VIMS for 25 contractors.  Since that time, interest in the course has grown.  In order to expand the reach of the design guidelines, two Living Shoreline design workshops will be held.  One will be held at VIMS and another on the Northern Neck.  Up to 40 marine contractors and others involved in designing, constructing, or regulating living shorelines will participate in each workshop.  The workshops will be recorded and put on the VIMS website.
2) For the last Virginia CZM Program five-year Section 309 strategy, VIMS developed Shoreline Management Plans for localities around Virginia’s Coastal Zone.  In order to more effectively disseminate the information contained in the reports to the landowners, administrators, and permit agency personnel who can best make use of it, presentations will be developed for four localities and presented at local Wetland Board meetings.  These localities are York, Gloucester, Westmoreland, and Prince George.  Because the York and Westmoreland Shoreline Management Plans are five years old, the data, shore conditions, and recommendations will be revisited.  Some additional data may need to be created such as digitizing recent shoreline from aerial images.  A Plan summary sheet handout and an individualized PowerPoint presentation will be created for each locality.  It should be noted that if a Wetlands Board does not wish to have a presentation made, the list of localities may change.

Both of these projects were identified by stakeholders as needs in the FY 16-20 Section 309 Coastal Hazards Strategy and that they will help implement the Strategy by improving shoreline management in Virginia.

Federal Funding:


Project Contact:

Donna Milligan, 804.684.7596,

Project Status:

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

Final Product:

Living Shoreline Contractor Training and Shoreline Management Plan Public Information Meetings Final Products Summary (PDF)
Living Shoreline Design Guidelines for Shore Protection in Virginia's Estuarine Environments (PDF)

Project Summary:

This project consisted of three different tasks.  The first task was the Living Shoreline Professional Advanced Training courses.  Two training sessions were held, one at VIMS and the other in the Town of Colonial Beach, and were huge successes with presentations by Scott Hardaway, Donna Milligan, and Karen Duhring.  In addition, members of the Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation’s Shoreline Advisory Service were on hand to describe the work they perform.  Attendees were marine contractors and designers as well as planners who came from many areas in the Chesapeake Bay watershed including Virginia, Maryland, and Pennsylvania.  The material covered in the course included Living Shoreline trends and current scientific understanding; how to conduct general site evaluations; and design guidelines for non-structural practices, marsh sills, and offshore breakwaters.  Additional material presented included the description of concept through construction of several marsh sill design case studies.  A hands-on group design exercise allowed attendees to apply the material presented throughout the course.  The course presentations and a video of the training session are available online.


The second task was the update of the Living Shoreline Design Guidelines for Shore Protection in Virginia’s Estuarine Environments manual.  Originally written in 2010 with funding support by Virginia Coastal Zone Management Program at the Department of Environmental Quality through Grant #NA08NOS4190466 of the U.S. Department of Commerce, this manual includes the information needed to perform a site evaluation for a shore protection system.  The manual also includes considerations that must be taken into account during the design process and presents case studies of Living Shoreline sites around Chesapeake Bay.  In addition, the 2017 manual includes newer research pertaining to the variables that affect the coastal zone as well as additional information on what affects the living shoreline design such as upland runoff and riparian buffer vegetation.  Also included in this updated version are non-structural methods including coir logs and oyster bag shell reefs.  The design examples in the manual were updated to provide examples of existing living shoreline demonstration projects from the design stage through construction and post-construction monitoring. 


The third task was presentations of the Shoreline Management Plan to four Wetlands Boards.  Scott Hardaway created individualized presentations for each locality that highlighted components of the Shoreline Management Plans and described their usefulness to Wetlands Board members.  Some GIS information was updated in order to create these personalized presentations because several of the Plans were older and newer information on the state of the shoreline existed.  The presentations were given to Westmoreland Wetland Board on June 19, 2017, James City County Wetlands Board on August 9, 2017, and York County on September 12, 2017.  In Gloucester, the Wetlands Board presentation was held in conjunction with the Abingdon Ruritan Club.  The Club’s environmental committee hosted an informational evening on April 25, 2017 with presentations by Karen Duhring, Donna Milligan, and Scott Hardaway who talked about living shoreline design considerations.

Information also was presented on the Living Shoreline loan program created by the Middle Peninsula Planning District Commission.  In addition to the Wetlands Board members, the general public was invited; overall approximately 25 people attended.


The course materials and video as well as the Living Shoreline Design Guidelines for Shore Protection in Virginia’s Estuarine Environments can be found at this website.


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


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

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