Virginia CZM Program: 2017 Costal Grant Project Description and Final Summary

Project Task:VA CZM logo



Virginia Institute of Marine Science 

Project Title:

Targeted Living Shorelines for Virginia State Parks 

Project Description:

The Commonwealth of Virginia owns numerous tidal, waterfront properties along Chesapeake Bay and its tributaries including state parks, natural area preserves, and wildlife management areas.  Many have eroding shorelines and are at risk from coastal hazards.  Previous work funded through the Coastal Zone Management program has determined site information such as shore evolution, shore inventories, and recommended general shore management strategies, all of which will be utilized in this project.

This project seeks to assess coastal hazard risk, determine which sites may be suitable for a living shoreline demonstration project, and develop conceptual plans for shore protection.  Because access to the public is a prime consideration when deciding where to create a living shoreline demonstration site, this project will focus on state parks.  The Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation, Division of State Parks has been contacted and is fully supportive of this project.  Eleven state parks with over 25 miles of tidal shoreline occur in Chesapeake Bay and its tributaries.  This includes Widewater State Park which is undergoing construction of facilities in order to open in the near future and Middle Peninsula State Park which is not presently open to the public.  False Cape State Park will not be included since it is on the ocean coast and geographically isolated, neither condition makes it feasible for a living shoreline demonstration project.

To triage these public properties, a site visit to each park is essential to accurately determine the physical condition of the shorelines at the present time along with site-specific parameters.  A GIS database of these parameters as well as other existing data available such as shoreline change, flooding potential, and presence of submerged aquatic vegetation will be included.  In addition, a limited wave climate assessment will be made.  These parameters will be used to assess each parks shoreline management needs and develop a ranking for shorelines in each park in regard to their vulnerability to coastal hazards, their potential for coastal resiliency, and probable use as a prospective living shoreline demonstration site (Hardaway et al., 2010).

For the three of the 11 parks that have the greatest need and highest potential, site-specific shoreline protection/management plans will be developed complete with conceptual structure design of a living shoreline demonstration project.  Also included in the management plan will be the documentation needed to obtain permits and be considered shovel-ready should funds for construction come available.  To complete this project, three tasks will be performed: 1) Determine site-specific parameters and assess shoreline management need of state park shoreline properties, 2) ranking of state park and selection of sites, and 3) coastal hazard management planning and living shoreline demonstration projects conceptual design development.

Hardaway, Jr. C.S., D.A. Milligan and K. Duhring, 2010. Living Shoreline Design Guidelines for Shore Protection in Virginia’s Estuarine Environments.  Contract report for the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality’s Coastal Zone Management Program Special Report in Applied Marine Science and Ocean Engineering #421. Virginia Institute of Marine Science, College of William and Mary, Gloucester Point, Virginia.

Federal Funding:


Project Contact:

Donna Milligan, 804.684.7596;  

Project Status:

10/1/2017 - 9/30/2018; Project Open 

Final Product:


Project Summary:


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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