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Virginia CZM Program Coastal Needs Assessment and Strategies: 2000 - 2005

Back to Main Virginia Coastal Needs Assessment and Strategy Page

The Virginia CZM Program's FY2000 Virginia Coastal Needs Assessment Report (pdf) ranked the priority status of the 9 coastal enhancement areas as follows:

High Priority Coastal Assessment Areas:

  • Aquaculture
  • Cumulative and Secondary Impacts
  • Coastal Hazards
  • Public Access
  • Special Area Management Planning (SAMP)
  • Wetlands

Medium and Low Priority Coastal Assessment Areas:

  • Marine Debris (medium priority)
  • Ocean Resources (medium priority)
  • Energy and Government Facility Siting (low priority)

For more information regarding the Coastal Needs Assessment and Strategy, please contact Virginia Witmer or April Bahen.

Virginia CZM Program Section 309 Coastal Needs Strategies

Coastal Enhancement Area:


Aquaculture Management Strategy (PDF)

Many people love to eat clams and oysters and these animals have been harvested from the coast for years. As shellfish resources have dwindled, aquaculture has become more popular. But managing this developing field still faces several challenges. The first is development of all the tools necessary to guide aquaculture activities to the most appropriate locations and then ensure that the activity is sustainable. The second is integrating the various aquatic and terrestrial management programs in the Commonwealth to preserve opportunities for aquaculture into the future. Thus, the policy changes in this strategy are directed at these challenges.

Program Partners: VMRC, VIMS, DEQ

Coastal Enhancement Area:

Cumulative and Secondary Impacts

Shorelands Management Strategy (PDF)

Many land use decisions allowing for development in the coastal zone are made without the benefit of complete information on the suitability of the shorelands for development or of the coastal resources that will be affected. As a result, the cumulative and secondary impacts of this development are not typically considered. In this multi-year project, CBLAD will create a suitability index to classify the development potential of land, based on physical constraints to development and proximity to sensitive coastal resources. It is expected that local implementation of these policies through the comprehensive planning process will result in changes in land use designations and zoning densities, as well as in recommendations for controlling the impacts of other activities associated with shoreland development such as shoreline erosion control and recreational boating.

Program Partners: CBLAD, DCR, VIMS, DEQ, Tidewater Local Governments

Coastal Enhancement Area:

Cumulative and Secondary Impacts

Virginia Clean Marina Strategy (PDF)

One of the consequences of increased development in coastal areas is the rapid growth in the number of recreational boaters using Virginia's waters and the corresponding growth and expansion of marina facilities. As a result, we've seen unintended impacts on the very resources that bring people to our coastal waters. In 1999, the Virginia Coastal Program initiated a Marina Technical Advisory Program and Clean Marina Program to help prevent and mitigate nonpoint source pollution from marinas and boating operations. Activities will focus on providing technical assistance to Virginia marinas and boaters on key environmental issues, and best management practices to control nonpoint source pollution. Marinas that go beyond basic compliance with environmental laws and voluntarily adopt a significant level of best management practices will be designated as Virginia Clean Marinas. Virginia Clean Marina website.

Program Partners: DCR, VIMS Sea Grant Marine Advisory Program, DEQ, VDH, VMRC, DGIF

Coastal Enhancement Area:

Cumulative and Secondary Impacts

Integration Strategy (PDF)

Based on the idea that the ultimate success of many of Virginia's efforts to manage cumulative and secondary impacts depends on the successful integration of its various regulatory and planning programs. In the next several years, this concept will be developed into a complete strategy that will lead to coordination of programs focused on land use management, pollution abatement, water resource management, fisheries management, and a reduction in conflicting management actions. Specific program changes would include the development of protocols for consensus management goals and the development of individual agency policy guidance for inclusion of the consensus management goals into any regulatory and programmatic actions. Once in place, links among many of the coastal zone programs will help to modify individual agency decision processes to ensure consistency.

Program Partners: many including VIMS, DEQ, DCR, VMRC, CBLAD

Coastal Enhancement Area:

Coastal Hazards

Dune Management Strategy (PDF)

Hurricanes and other coastal storms can cause millions of dollars worth of damage in a short time. Dunes, a natural feature in the landscape, can help to ameliorate damage that is caused by storms. Locating and characterizing the remaining dunes in the Chesapeake Bay is critical to coastal hazards planning and sound resource management. This project will characterize most of the dunes in the Bay watershed and recommend changes to Virginia's management program based on the study's findings. Changes to management may include: alternative jurisdictional definitions that would more accurately describe and delineate the functional limits of natural dune systems; enumeration and classification of resources in non-jurisdictional localities to be included in the regulatory program; and inclusion of beaches and their supporting dune systems in designated essential fish habitat areas, with particular emphasis on horseshoe crabs.

Program Partners: VIMS, VMRC, CBLAD, DEQ

Coastal Enhancement Area:

Special Area Management Planning (SAMP)

Dragon Run Special Area Management Plan Strategy (PDF)

Many activities occur within the Dragon Run watershed including timbering, farming, hunting and trapping. The primary problem this watershed is encountering is how to balance these traditional uses of the land while maintaining bio-diversity and managing public access. The strategy will address this issue by developing new ordinances, modifying existing ordinances and creating innovative management programs. For example, Memoranda of Understanding between state, local, regional and private user groups will be developed to address public access and use issues.

Program Partners: Middle Peninsula Planning District Commission, VIMS/CBNERRS, DEQ, DCR

Coastal Enhancement Area:

Special Area Management Planning (SAMP)

Southern Watershed Area Management Plan Strategy (PDF)

This project is heading into it sixth year. Over the lifetime of this program, the primary coastal management challenge facing the Southern Watershed Area (SWA) has been the need to preserve its significant natural resources in the face of increasing development pressures. The project has worked towards several policy changes and is in the last stages of getting many of these adopted. The monies provided in FY '02 will be directed towards implementation of these changes, which include: (1) adopting new zoning ordinance changes and educating developers concerning conservation tools and open space requirements; (2) implementation of the Waterway Use Conflict MOA; (3) identifying specific mitigation sites; (4) implementation of a strategic agricultural plan and (5) setting up a range of management and preservation tools for riparian corridors.

Program Partners: Hampton Roads Planning District Commission, Cities of Virginia Beach and Chesapeake, DEQ, DCR

In order to protect the Commonwealth's wetland resources, nontidal wetlands regulations are being enacted. In order to enhance the effectiveness of this new program, two specific management tools are being developed. The first is a cumulative and secondary impact assessment protocol that will guide permit decisions and form a basis for coordination across regulatory programs. The second is an assessment and review protocol that provides the basis for periodic adjustments to the compensation ratios used to ensure no net loss of wetland acreage and function.

Program Partners: DEQ, VIMS, VMRC, CBLAD

Coastal Enhancement Area:


Nontidal Wetlands Regulatory Programs Strategy (PDF)

Virginia is in the process of implementing a newly mandated regulatory program for nontidal wetlands. Actions of Virginia’s 2000 General Assembly have given the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) a clear mandate to revise the existing Virginia Water Protection Permit (VWPP) regulations, which have served since 1992 as the Commonwealth’s non-tidal wetlands program through the Section 401 Certification process. By their actions, the General Assembly removed the dependence of the VWPP program on the issuance of a Corps permit, thus enabling DEQ to regulate activities, such as excavation in wetlands and fill in isolated wetlands, which are not currently under federal jurisdiction. DEQ has also been given the authority to consider cumulative impacts not only to water quality, but to fish and wildlife resources as part of the permit evaluation process, and to ensure that all permits allowing wetland impacts address no net loss of wetland acreage and function. The final regulations effecting initial implementation of this program will be enacted on October 1, 2001. While these regulations apply statewide, their impact will be felt more in the coastal areas of Virginia, where the majority of both wetland resources and development pressures reside.

New protocols and procedures are needed to effectively implement many aspects of the enhanced regulatory program. Two areas in particular will require immediate attention if these regulations are to provide enhanced protection of Virginia's wetland resources.

First, the ability to assess and consider cumulative impacts of a proposed project on water quality and fish and wildlife resources will require a consistent and technically based assessment protocol implemented on a watershed basis. Long-term effectiveness of the new program will require coordination between the DEQ regulatory program and other state and local programs impacting land use management. Second, ensuring that all permits allowing wetland impacts address no net loss of wetland acreage and function will require a protocol for continued monitoring of compensation efforts on a watershed basis and a protocol for adjusting permit requirements such as compensatory mitigation ratios to ensure a no net loss outcome.

Absent the development of these technically based procedures, the non-tidal wetland regulatory program will not be able to effectively assess whether it has met its stated goals of ensuring that cumulative impacts to water quality and fish and wildlife resources are addressed and minimized and achieving no net loss of wetland acreage and function.

A mechanism for documenting effectiveness, and a basis for modifying protocols to ensure achievement of policy goals are key to the success of these regulatory initiatives.

Program Partners: DEQ, VIMS


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For comments or questions concerning this program's web pages, contact Virginia Witmer.

This website is provided by the Virginia Coastal Zone Management Program through a federal Coastal Zone Management Act grant from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, US Department of Commerce.

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

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