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

Project Task:VA Coastal Zone Management Program Logo



The Nature Conservancy

Project Title:

Mid-Atlantic Ocean Data Development & Visualization Tools

Project Description:

As the Mid-Atlantic Regional Council on the Ocean (MARCO) continues to address priorities for ocean management in the Mid-Atlantic, continued data development and technical support for the Mid-Atlantic Ocean Data Portal is critical. This is, in turn, critical to Virginia’s Section 309 Ocean Strategy. Key actions include facilitating a better understanding of changes in wildlife migration and habitat use due to ocean warming and other factors. This information will be vital as Virginia plans for increased offshore activity such as shipping and wind energy (see FY18 Task 94.01). The Marine Geospatial Ecology Lab (MGEL) at Duke University, also known in this role as the Marine-life Data and Analysis Team (MDAT), is currently funded through December 2018 to develop marine life data products.

Building on the work of the MDAT, we will continue to develop data and identify options to make it easier for ocean data portal users and resource managers to visualize, understand, select and use data products. We will continue work to refine data layers relevant to productivity, abundance, biodiversity, rarity and vulnerability and develop a more compact suite of layers depicting Mid-Atlantic species and habitats. Summary layers and surrounding content will be designed to support and inform ocean and coastal management decisions under existing mandates. Depending upon progress made by the MDAT at the end of their funding period, TNC may also explore visualization of specific data for a localized area such as the Virginia Wind Energy Area.

To facilitate understanding of shifts and movements of marine species, TNC will use existing data products developed by NOAA’s Northeast Fisheries Science Center (NEFSC) (e.g., trawl survey data), Duke and others to develop visualizations of species movements that can be incorporated into the MARCO data portal. Efforts have been made by NEFSC and others (e.g. Rutgers Ocean Adapt project) to map individual species movements and changes in latitude or depth, however these data are not readily accessible in the ocean data portals. TNC will develop visualizations for selected species or groups of species that can readily be incorporated into the MARCO data portal so resource managers and other stakeholders can easily view these data in the context of other portal data. TNC will also participate on the MARCO portal technical team and assist with other portal data development tasks as needed, particularly as they relate to review or update of habitat data. Throughout this project TNC will coordinate, to the greatest extent possible, with the MARCO team and others doing similar work, e.g., a project led by Monmouth University’s Urban Coast Institute.

Federal Funding:


Project Contact:

Chris Bruce, 434.951.0565,

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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