Virginia CZM Program Laws, Regulations, and Advisory Policies

Virginia CZM Program LogoThe Virginia CZM Program is a network of state agencies and local governments which administer enforceable laws, regulations and policies that protect our coastal resources, including (link for detail):

Tidal and Non-tidal Wetlands - Virginia Department of Environmental Quality,
Virginia Marine Resources Commission & Local Wetlands Boards

Fisheries - Virginia Marine Resources Commission & Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries

Subaqueous Lands – Virginia Marine Resources Commission

Dunes and Beaches – Virginia Marine Resources Commission and local Wetlands Boards

Point Source Air Pollution – Virginia Department of Environmental Quality

Point Source Water Pollution – Virginia Department of Environmental Quality

Nonpoint Source Water Pollution – Virginia Department of Environmental Quality and local governments

Shoreline Sanitation – Virginia Department of Health

Coastal Lands – Virginia Department of Environmental Quality

The Virginia CZM Program was established through an Executive Order, which is renewed by each new governor.  This Executive Order “directs all state agencies to carry out their legally established duties consistent with this Program and in a manner that promotes coordination among all government agencies. The Department of Environmental Quality shall serve as the lead agency for this networked program and shall be responsible for allocation and assignment of all federal funds received for the Virginia Coastal Zone Management Program Implementation Grant.”

Advisory Policies for Geographic Areas of Particular Concern 

Advisory Policies for Shorefront Access Planning and Protection 

Wetlands Management

Virginia Marine Resources Commission & Local Wetlands Boards

The tidal wetlands program is administered by the Marine Resources Commission under Code of Virginia § 28.2-1301 thru § 28.2-1320. The purpose of the wetlands management program is to preserve tidal wetlands, prevent their despoliation, and accommodate economic development in a manner consistent with wetlands preservation.

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Virginia Department of Environmental Quality

The Virginia Water Protection Permit Program administered by the Department of Environmental Quality includes protection of wetlands, both tidal and non-tidal. This program is authorized by Code of Virginia § 62.1-44.15.20 and the Water Quality Certification requirements of Section 401 of the Clean Water Act of 1972.

Visit www.deq.virginia.gov/Programs/Water/WetlandsStreams/Wetlands.aspx for more information about wetlands protection activities at DEQ and the Virginia Water Protection Permit Program. 

Also visit VIMS Center for Coastal Resource Management - http://ccrm.vims.edu/wetlands/index.html - for additional educational materials on wetlands
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Fisheries Management

Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries

These agencies regulate commercial and recreational fishing through Code of Virginia § 28.2-200 thru 28.2-713 and Code of Virginia § 29.1-100 thru 29.1-570. This management program stresses the conservation and enhancement of finfish and shellfish resources and the promotion of commercial and recreational fisheries to maximize food production and recreational opportunities.

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Virginia Marine Resources Commission

The State Tributyltin Regulatory Program has been added to the Fisheries Management program. The General Assembly amended the Virginia Pesticide Use and Application Act as it related to the possession, sale, or use of marine antifoulant paints containing Tributyltin. The use of Tributyltin in boat paint constitutes a serious threat to important marine animal species. The Tributyltin program monitors boating activities and boat painting activities to ensure compliance with Tributyltin regulations promulgated pursuant to the amendment. The Marine Resources Commission, the Department of Game and Inland Fisheries, and Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services share enforcement responsibilities (Code of Virginia § 3.1-249.59 thru 3.1-249.62).

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Subaqueous Lands Management

Virginia Marine Resources Commission

The management program for subaqueous lands establishes conditions for granting or denying permits to use state-owned bottomlands based on considerations of potential effects on marine and fisheries resources, wetlands, adjacent or nearby properties, anticipated public and private benefits, and water quality standards established by the Department of Environmental Quality, Water Division. The program is administered by the Marine Resources Commission (Code of Virginia § 28.2-1200 thru 28.2-1213).
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Dunes and Beaches Management

Virginia Marine Resources Commission & Local Wetlands Boards

Dune protection is carried out pursuant to the Coastal Primary Sand Dune Protection Act and is intended to prevent destruction or alteration of primary dunes. This program is administered by the Marine Resources Commission (Code of Virginia § 28.2-1400 thru 28.2-1420).

For more information about Virginia's dunes visit the VIMS Shoreline Studies Program Web pages. These pages define dunes and describe their function and value. The pages highlight inventory work funded through the Virginia Coastal Program.
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Point Source Air Pollution Control

Department of Environmental Quality

The Department of Environmental Quality implements the federal Clean Air Act to provide a legally enforceable State Implementation Plan for the attainment and maintenance of the National Ambient Air Quality Standards. This program is administered by the State Air Pollution Control Board (Code of Virginia § 10-1.1301).
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Point Source Water Pollution Control

Virginia Department of Environmental Quality

The Department of Environmental Quality regulates discharges into state waters through Virginia Pollutant Discharge Elimination System and Virginia Pollution Abatement permits (accomplished through the implementation of the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System permit program established pursuant to Section 402 of the federal Clean Water Act). The point source program - the Virginia Pollutant Discharge Elimination System permit program - is administered by the State Water Control Board pursuant to Code of Virginia § 62.1-44.15.
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Nonpoint Source Water Pollution Control

Virginia Department of Environmental Quality & Local Governments

Virginia's Erosion and Sediment Control Law requires soil-disturbing projects to be designed to reduce soil erosion and to decrease inputs of chemical nutrients and sediments to the Chesapeake Bay, its tributaries, and other rivers and waters of the Commonwealth. This program is administered by DEQ (Virginia Code §62.1-44.15:51 et seq.).
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Shoreline Sanitation

Virginia Department of Health

The Virginia Department of Health regulates the installation of septic tanks, sets standards concerning soil types suitable for septic tanks, and specifies minimum distances that tanks must be placed away from streams, rivers, and other waters of the Commonwealth. This program, which includes shellfish closures due to bacterial contamination, is administered by the Department of Health through Code of Virginia § 32.1-164 thru § 32.1-165.
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Coastal Lands Management

Department of Environmental Quality - Office of Ecology - Local Government Assistance Program

Coastal Lands Management is a state-local cooperative program administered by DEQ's Water Division and 84 localities that regulates activities in Chesapeake Bay Resource Management Areas and Resource Protection Areas in Tidewater, Virginia established pursuant to the Chesapeake Bay Preservation Act (Virginia Code § 62.1-44.15:67 through 62.1-44.15:79) and Chesapeake Bay Preservation Area Designation and Management Regulations (Virginia Administrative Code 9 VAC 25-830-10 et seq.).

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Virginia CZM Program Advisory Policies

Advisory Policies for Geographic Areas of Particular Concern

Coastal Natural Resource Areas
These areas are vital to estuarine and marine ecosystems and/or are of great importance to areas immediately inland of the shoreline. Such areas receive special attention from the Commonwealth because of their conservation, recreational, ecological, and aesthetic values. These areas are worthy of special consideration in any planning or resources management process and include the following resources:

These areas are vital to estuarine and marine ecosystems and/or are of great importance to areas immediately inland of the shoreline. Such areas receive special attention from the Commonwealth because of their conservation, recreational, ecological, and aesthetic values. These areas are worthy of special consideration in any planning or resources management process and include the following resources:

  • Wetlands
  • Aquatic Spawning, Nursery, and Feeding Grounds
  • Coastal Primary Sand Dunes
  • Barrier Islands
  • Significant Wildlife Habitat Areas
  • Public Recreation Areas
  • Sand and Gravel Resources
  • Underwater Historic Sites.

Coastal Natural Hazard Areas
This policy covers areas vulnerable to continuing and severe erosion and areas susceptible to potential damage from wind, tidal, and storm-related events including flooding. New buildings and other structures should be designed and sited to minimize the potential for property damage due to storms or shoreline erosion. The areas of concern are as follows:

  • Highly Erodible Areas
  • Coastal High Hazard Areas, including flood plains.

Waterfront Development Areas
These areas are vital to the Commonwealth because of the limited number of areas suitable for waterfront activities. The areas of concern are as follows:

  • Commercial Ports
  • Commercial Fishing Piers
  • Community Waterfronts - Although the management of such areas is the responsibility of local government and some regional authorities, designation of these areas as Waterfront Development Areas of Particular Concern under the Virginia CZM Program is encouraged. Designation will allow the use of federal Coastal Zone Management Act funds to be used to assist in planning for such areas and in the implementation of such plans. The Virginia CZM Program recognizes two broad classes of priority uses for waterfront development Areas of Particular Concern:
    • water access-dependent activities;
    • activities significantly enhanced by the waterfront location and complementary to other existing and/or planned activities in a given waterfront area.

Advisory Policies for Shorefront Access Planning and Protection

Virginia Public Beaches -- Approximately 25 miles of public beaches are located in the cities, counties, and towns of Virginia exclusive of public beaches on state and federal land. These public shoreline areas will be maintained to allow public access to recreational resources. See the Department of Conservation and Recreation - Recreation Planning.

Virginia Outdoors Plan -- Planning for coastal access is provided by the Department of Conservation and Recreation in cooperation with other state and local government agencies. The Virginia Outdoors Plan, which is published by the Department, identifies recreational facilities in the Commonwealth that provide recreational access. The Virginia Outdoors Plan also serves to identify future needs of the Commonwealth in relation to the provision of recreational opportunities and shoreline access. Prior to initiating any project, consideration should be given to the proximity of the project site to recreational resources identified in the Virginia Outdoors Plan. For more on coastal recreational planning and ecotourism go to the Department of Game and Inland Fisheries - Virginia Birding and Wildlife Trail.

Parks, Natural Areas, and Wildlife Management Areas -- Parks, Wildlife Management Areas, and Natural Areas are provided for the recreational pleasure of the citizens of the Commonwealth and the nation by local, state, and federal agencies. The recreational values of these areas should be protected and maintained. For more information go to the Department of Conservation and Recreation State ParksNatural Heritage Program, and Land Conservation Office Web sites.

Waterfront Recreational Land Acquisition -- It is the policy of the Commonwealth to protect areas, properties, lands, or any estate or interest therein, of scenic beauty, recreational utility, historical interest, or unusual features which may be acquired, preserved, and maintained for the citizens of the Commonwealth.

Waterfront Recreational Facilities -- This policy applies to the provision of boat ramps, public landings, and bridges which provide water access to the citizens of the Commonwealth. These facilities shall be designed, constructed, and maintained to provide points of water access when and where practicable. For more information on water access projects funded by the Virginia CZM Program go to the links provided under 'Waterfront Recreational Land Acquisition' above.

Waterfront Historic Properties -- The Commonwealth has a long history of settlement and development, and much of that history has involved both shorelines and near-shore areas. The protection and preservation of historic shorefront properties is primarily the responsibility of the Department of Historic Resources. Buildings, structures, and sites of historical, architectural, and/or archaeological interest are significant resources for the citizens of the Commonwealth. It is the policy of the Commonwealth and the Virginia CZM Program to enhance the protection of buildings, structures, and sites of historical, architectural, and archaeological significance from damage or destruction when practicable.

Approximately 25 miles of public beaches are located in the cities, counties, and towns of Virginia exclusive of public beaches on state and federal land. These public shoreline areas will be maintained to allow public access to recreational resources. See the Department of Conservation and Recreation.

 

Coastal Zone Management Act

Coastal Zone Management Act of 1972

Preserve, protect, develop, and where possible, restore and enhance the resources of the Nation's coastal zone for this and succeeding generations;

  • Encourage and assist the states to exercise effectively their responsibilities in the coastal zone to achieve wise use of land and water resources of the coastal zone, giving full consideration to ecological, cultural, historic, and esthetic values as well as the needs for compatible economic development;
  • Encourage the preparation of special area management plans to provide increased specificity in protecting significant natural resources, reasonable coastal-dependent economic growth, improved protection of life and property in hazardous areas and improved predictability in governmental decision-making;
  • Encourage the participation, cooperation, and coordination of the public, federal, state, local, interstate and regional agencies, and governments affecting the coastal zone.

The Coastal Zone Management Act, as reauthorized in 1990, directs state programs to provide for:

Protection of natural resources within the coastal zone, including wetlands, floodplains, estuaries, beaches, dunes, barrier islands, fish and wildlife, and their habitat.

  • Management of coastal development to minimize loss of life and property caused by improper development in hazard-prone areas and in areas vulnerable to sea level rise, land subsidence and saltwater intrusion and by destruction of protective natural features such as beaches, dunes, wetlands and barrier islands.
  • Management of coastal development to restore and improve, safeguard and restore coastal water quality and to protect natural resources and existing uses of coastal waters.
  • Priority consideration to be given to coastal-dependent uses and orderly processes for siting major facilities related to national defense, energy, fisheries, recreation, ports and transportation, and the location of new commercial and industrial developments in or adjacent to areas where such development already exists.
  • Public access to the coast for recreation purposes.
  • Assistance in the redevelopment of deteriorating urban waterfronts and ports and restoration of historic, cultural and aesthetic coastal features.
  • Coordination and simplification of procedures to ensure expedited governmental decisions for management of coastal resources.
  • Continued consultation and coordination with affected federal agencies.
  • Opportunities for public and local government participation in coastal management decision making.
  • Assistance to support comprehensive planning, conservation, and management for living marine resources, including planning for the siting of pollution control and aquaculture facilities within the coastal zone, and improved coordination between state and federal coastal zone management agencies and wildlife agencies.
  • Study and development of plans for addressing adverse effects on the coastal zone of land subsidence and of sea level rise.

 

 

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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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