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Virginia CZM Program: 2017 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 to provide GIS support to the Virginia CZM program and the partial time of two additional VCU 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 staff 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 and represent Virginia on Non-Consumptive Recreation Action workgroup for Mid-Atlantic Ocean plan
  • Serve as CZM project manager for VA CZM grants to VA DCR, VA DGIF and VCU to update the Coastal VEVA data synthesis and its component datasets 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

Coastal GEMS Maintenance:
VCU will continue to host, maintain, and update the Coastal GEMS web mapping application. Current Coastal GEMS data layers will be edited or updated as determined by VCU/CZM staff. New Coastal Gems data layers will be added as they are developed through Virginia CZM Program grants or are contributed from a partnering agency or organization.

Federal Funding:


Project Contact:

Nick Meade, 804.698.4297;

Project Status:

10/1/17 - 9/30/18; Project Completed

Final Product:

Coastal Management GIS Support & Coastal GEMS Maintenance: FY17 Annual Report (PDF) 

Project Summary:

VCU CES staff:

-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, 2017 to September 30, 2018, Coastal GEMS received 1,168 visits from 733 unique visitors resulting in1,378 page views and an average session duration of 55 seconds.  Coastal GEMS can be accessed at:

The Coastal GIS Coordinator:

-Secured, processed, and symbolized updated data for effective display on Coastal GEMS and updated Coastal GEMS fact sheets.  Layers updated include: Coastal VEVA, Conserved Lands, Scenic Rivers, T&E Species Waters, Important Bird Areas, Anadromous Fish Use Areas, Public Access Sites, Ecological Cores, Landscape Corridors, Submerged Aquatic Vegetation Coverage, Current Population, Population Change, and Projected Population for 2025, 2035, and 2045

-Created story maps for Coastal GEMS including, a cascade story map detailing the restoration of eelgrass on VA’s Eastern Shore featuring a time enabled interactive map of SAV planting sites and coverage and a story map journal highlighting publicly accessible places in VA's coastal zone ranked in the highest category of the updated Coastal VEVA

-Continued project management tasks related to VA CZM grants to enhance the Coastal GEMS mapping application and update the Coastal VEVA and VA DCR-DNH Natural Landscape Assessment datasets

-Continued work to raise awareness of Coastal VEVA and improve comprehension of the data, including engaging Coastal VEVA partners in discussion on factors driving change in the updated model, developing informational materials such as infographics for use in  presentations and story maps and 2-page handout describing the synthesis and how it was created

- Continued Coastal GEMS/Coastal VEVA training program including presenting at 2018 Virginia GeoCon, at DCR-DNH all staff meeting, and at “Green Infrastructure for Coastal Resilience workshop” at VIMS Gloucester Point

-Continued work with MACAN and MARCO staff to maintain Acidification Monitoring Location data layers on the MARCO Portal and continued work on Mid-Atlantic RPB Non-Consumptive Recreation Work Group, including promoting, planning, facilitating, and presenting at workshop at CBF Brock Center in VA Beach and editing workgroup and workshop reports

-Responded promptly to all Coastal GEMS data requests and information inquiries

-The Coastal GIS Coordinator continued to provide technical support to VA CZM staff, including reviewing spatial data deliverables, creating maps and drafting text for VA CZM publications, assisting with meetings, assisting with exercise to locate high ecological value parcels for potential conservation along the lower Chickahominy River, compiling GIS boundaries for all CZM funded land acquisitions, and inputting all VA marine debris projects into NOAA online portal. 

-The Coastal GIS Coordinator continued to provide technical support to VA CZM partners, including advising ANPDC on water trail website development, consulting with TNC and ANPDC staff on the use of participatory GIS tools, assisting ANPDC, DCR-DNH, and Virginia Aquarium with SHPO review process, providing data layer showing VA CZM land acquisition, public access, and habitat restoration projects to DEQ staff for inclusion in DEQ 25th anniversary story map, and creating map of VA offshore wind energy area for use on factsheet about research regarding EMF impacts on fisheries. 

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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