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Virginia CZM Program: 2018 Coastal Grant Project Description and Final Summary

Project Task:VA Coastal Zone Management Program logo



Richmond Regional Planning District Commission

Project Title:

Leveraging Economic Benefits of the Natural Resources of the Lower Chickahominy - Richmond Regional PDC Coordination

Project Description:

Past mapping and ecological modeling have indicated that the lower Chickahominy River watershed boasts significant ecological resources.  Meanwhile the watershed is seeing increased pressure from the nearby urban areas of Richmond and Williamsburg for land conversion and development into residential and commercial areas. The Cumulative and Secondary Impacts: Leveraging Economic Benefits of the Natural Resources of the Lower Chickahominy strategy seeks study the natural resources present in the Lower Chickahominy watershed and the economic characteristics related to their presence. The study area is the entirety of the three counties included in the USGS HUC “Lower Chickahominy” watershed: the counties of Charles City, James City, and New Kent.

Natural resources and conserved land contribute greatly to quality of life in rural localities.  These natural assets are routinely recognized for their contribution to clean air, clean water, and viewshed.  The economic contribution of these assets to the local government and business community is rarely acknowledged due to a lack of understanding of the important role they play in the economy.  In year 1 a steering committee was formed and two Virginia natural resource agencies were funded to update field data in the study area.  An economic study conducted during year 2 will be used for consensus building and plan/policy development during years 3, 4, and 5 of the project.

This proposal for the third year of the Lower Chickahominy project will fund the RRPDC to establish an online outreach platform, facilitate the project steering committee, and collaborate with UVA-IEN to conduct targeted outreach to Lower Chickahominy watershed stakeholders (see Task 93.02).

An online outreach platform will support policy development and stakeholder engagement in the concluding years of this project.  Platform webpages hosted on the RRPDC website will provide easy access to information about the study area, its natural resources, the findings of the economic study currently underway, and project partners.  The use of various communication techniques including narrative, maps, charts, etc. will allow consumers of information to engage in multiple ways.  The platform will be maintained throughout the remaining years of the project and function as a valuable communication tool.

RRPDC staff will continue facilitation of the project steering committee throughout year 3.  RRPDC staff will seek input from steering committee members on the format and content of the online outreach platform.  Additionally, RRPDC staff will communicate progress updates of the outreach contractor to the steering committee.  Input from the steering committee will also be used to plan years 4 and 5 of this project.

RRPDC staff will collaborate with specialized outreach contractors (UVA-IEN, Task 93.02) to conduct stakeholder interviews, focus groups, and an outreach survey during year 3.  RRPDC staff will advise the contractors about the study area using maps and other information compiled during years 1 and 2 of the project.  Additionally, RRPDC staff will form an outreach subcommittee from members of the project steering committee to support the work of UVA-IEN (Task 93.02) and inform the planning of stakeholder interviews, focus groups, and the survey.  RRPDC staff will participate in the planning and execution of the stakeholder interviews, focus groups, and the survey to ensure relevancy and coordination with the entire project and planned policy development.

Federal Funding:


Project Contact:

Sarah Stewart, 804.323.2033 x119,

Project Status:

10/1/18 - 9/30/19; 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 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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