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2010 Virginia Coastal Zone Partners Workshop

Final Agenda (PDF)

Abstracts and Presentations - browse the sessions and presentations below or use the following links to go directly to the session of your interest:

New Spatial Data Tools for Coastal Zone Management

FY 2008 - 2010 Focal Area Review: Blue-Green Infrastructure

FY 2008 - 2010 Focal Area Review: Climate Change Adaptation

Coastal & Marine Spatial Planning Issues

Shoreline Management Issues

State-Listed Threatened and Endangered Species Management

Non-Point Source Water Quality Issues

Marine Debris Issues

Conservation Easements: Fiscal Impacts to Localities in the Middle Peninsula

Section 306A of the CZMA – Land Acquisition, Public Access & Habitat Restoration


Session: New Spatial Data Tools for Coastal Zone Management


Priority Conservation Areas: On the Land and in the Water --- Jennifer Ciminelli, Virginia Commonwealth University

Abstract:  A joint project of the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries, the Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation-Division of Natural Heritage, and Virginia Commonwealth University’s Center for Environmental Studies, the Priority Conservation Areas (PCA) dataset is a synthesis of priority natural resource datasets from these entities and other partners that identifies areas important for conservation of the state’s wildlife, plants, and natural communities. Created to provide local decision makers with a unified method of prioritizing conservation opportunities, the dataset highlights areas of unfragmented habitat and potential links between contiguous patches, as well as wetlands, identified habitat for rare species, special wildlife features, and exemplary aquatic communities. A grant is currently in progress to incorporate estuarine/marine data from Virginia Institute for Marine Science into the PCA dataset, to create an assessment for land conservation prioritization, and to continue outreach to localities.

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LiDAR (High Resolution Digital Elevation Data) Acquisition in Coastal Virginia --- John Scrivani, Virginia Information Technology Agency, Virginia Geographic Information Network

Abstract:  In 2010, Virginia acquired high-resolution elevation data using LiDAR technology for over 3,200 square miles of the coastal plain. Funding and technical support was provided by the USGS, The Nature Conservancy, the University of Virginia, and VGIN. The data were collected to the latest USGS terrestrial LiDAR specification and will be used to update the National Elevation Dataset (NED) to a 10-ft resolution grid. The classified point cloud can be used to support flood zone mapping, analysis of coastal change, modeling impacts of sea level rise, wetlands mapping, and vegetation studies. The data will be made available freely to the public.

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Identifying and Prioritizing Wetland Mitigation Opportunities in VA: A Methodology and Pamunkey River Pilot Project --- Jason Bulluck, Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation, Division of Natural Heritage

Abstract: Division of Natural Heritage (DNH), under a grant from the Federal Highways Administration, Transportation Research Board, has developed methods to update the VA NHP wetlands catalog. They have recently completed this project arriving at (1) a proposed methodology for identifying and prioritizing mitigation opportunities, and (2) a GIS demonstration of the methodology in 11-subwatersheds of the Lower Pamunkey. Their first step in the methodology was to use various GIS datasets to identify where the wetlands are, or might have been, in the case of prior converted wetlands. Secondly, DNH used several resource-based datasets to prioritize these mitigation opportunities including data from DNH, DGIF, VCU, DEQ and USACE. This methodology results in a value for all potential mitigation areas that reflects the number and types of resources that would be benefitted, where likely prior converted wetlands are highlighted, and where all mitigation opportunities are tagged with their associated subwatershed(s) and tax parcel IDs. A unique aspect of this methodology is the inclusion of information about impaired streams and prior converted wetlands, as well as indicators of biodiversity.            

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Session: FY 2008 - 2010 Focal Area Review: Blue-Green Infrastructure


Planning for Blue & Green Infrastructure in Accomack County --- Jim McGowan, Accomack County; Karen Firehock, Green Infrastructure Center

Abstract:  Accomack County and Green Infrastructure Center staff will report on their recent collaboration in producing the Accomack County Blue & Green Infrastructure Study.  Utilizing GIS, the study identified the county’s key blue and green infrastructure assets and developed strategies for protection.  The study highlights locations for future conservation, informs ongoing planning initiatives such as strategic cluster development, and will be used to guide Accomack’s 2013 Comprehensive Plan update.

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Green Infrastructure Planning in Hampton Roads --- Sara Kidd, Hampton Roads Planning District Commission

Abstract:  During the last six years, the HRPDC has completed two CZM grant projects for regional green infrastructure planning. The projects brought together a team of stakeholders to help identify and prioritize lands which have a high intrinsic value for the protection of water quality and critical habitat. The presentation will summarize the work done thus far and discuss future directions.

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The Richmond-Crater Region Green Infrastructure Project --- Sarah Stewart, for Crater Planning District Commission and Richmond Regional Planning District Commission

Abstract: The presentation will provide an overview of the Richmond-Crater green infrastructure project.  It will focus on the regional work accomplished during Phase I of the project and efforts towards the planning aims therein.  The presentation will finish with a discussion of work accomplished in Phase II for the urban and rural areas of the region and look to the future in Phase III.

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Blue/Green Infrastructure Planning on the Northern Neck --- Stuart McKenzie, Northern Neck Planning District Commission

Abstract: The four rural Northern Neck Counties are far from the bustling urban crescent of Richmond, Northern Virginia and Hampton Roads. With more than 50% of the land area in the region being covered by forest, and the remainder mostly in agricultural production, planning to conserve large areas in this rural region is challenging to say the least. NNPDC staff has been working with the four counties of the Northern Neck over the last two years to bring Blue Green Infrastructure Planning into local county land use planning efforts. There have been some successes and some setbacks, but regardless of the final outcome, the education of the local planning commission members has been overwhelmingly successful. 

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Middle Peninsula Experience with Blue/Green Infrastructure --- Lewie Lawrence, Middle Peninsula Planning District Commission

Abstract:  As populations migrate toward the coast to enjoy the amenities of the region, Middle Peninsula localities continue to balance development pressures with protecting the rural character. To articulate the county vision, specific to growth and development, the County’s Comprehensive Plan provides general, long-range, policy, and implementation guidelines for decisions related to land use. Within the Middle Peninsula, each county’s comprehensive plan has seemingly similar visions to preserve rural character through the preservation/conservation of open space, agricultural land, and forest land. However, some elected officials fear too large of a bite from the golden apple has taken place.  Can conservation corridor planning assist localities in achieving preservation and conservation goals?  The reality of preserving blue and green infrastructure poses a unique political conundrum.  Learn how the Middle Peninsula acknowledges exiting blue and green assets while simultaneously struggles to reconcile existing public policy land conservation positions with private land transactions for land conservation.

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Conservation Corridors in Northern Virginia --- Laura Grape, Northern Virginia Regional Commission

Abstract:  Over the next several decades, the population in the Northern Virginia region is expected to increase by 500,000 new residents.  In partnership with the Green Infrastructure Center, Inc., local government representatives, conservation organizations, and others, NVRC is identifying and mapping the natural resources in the region to allow for this expected growth in a manner that limits impacts on the region's remaining sensitive ecological areas.

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Building Consensus for a Regional Green Infrastructure Plan --- Kevin Byrnes, George Washington Regional Commission

Abstract:  The George Washington Regional Commission is participating in the current 3-year green infrastructure focal area initiative which began in FY 2008.  The presenter will summarize GWRC’s planning activities in the first two years and current efforts to complete the regional Green Infrastructure Plan.  GWRC’s approach involves the integration and customization of VCLNA and natural heritage datasets, incorporation of land cover change detection and urban ecosystem impact analyses and the leveraging of federal transportation planning funds that are underwriting the development of a regional land use scenario process.  Through this regional land use scenario planning, a “green footprint” conservation scenario, along with 3 other development scenarios, will be developed and analyzed to show how each scenario accommodates the projected population and economic growth of the Region.  The outputs of these Community Viz models will be compared and contracted for public consideration and help inform the final regional green infrastructure plan.

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Session: FY 2008 - 2010 Focal Area Review: Climate Change Adaptation


Climate Change, Sea Level Rise, and Virginia’s Tidal Shoreline --- Skip Stiles, Wetlands Watch

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Sustainable Shorelines and Community Management --- Laura Grape

Abstract:  For two years, NVRC has assessed the potential impacts of Sea Level Rise and Storm Surge on the region's tidal communities.  The process for this project include results for how this analysis and other similar efforts could potentially be integrated into existing planning document and where opportunities remain. 

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What's Local Governments’ Role in Climate Change?--- Lewie Lawrence, Middle Peninsula Planning District Commission

Abstract:  Although climate change is a global phenomenon, local strategies to adapt and plan for climate changes will be important to protect public safety, health and welfare of Middle Peninsula residents. Climate change and sea level rise remains a very unsettled issue amongst Middle Peninsula constituents and local elected officials.  Learn how the coconut telegraph and a rural belief system impacts climate change policy development at the local level.

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Planning for Climate Change in Hampton Roads --- Ben McFarlane, Hampton Roads Planning District Commission

Abstract:  The HRPDC has been working through the CZM focal area grant process to plan for regional climate change adaptation for the last two years. This regional project has included research and analysis of impacts and vulnerabilities, as well as involvement of local government staff and other stakeholders in identifying risks and discussing planning and research priorities. The presentation will summarize the work done thus far and discuss future directions.

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Climate Science for Virginians --- Ann Regn, David Ruble, Office of Environmental Education, Department of Environmental Quality

Abstract:  Fundamental concepts and various examples of the impacts of climate change in Virginia have been organized into a non-technical presentation for managers to begin a dialog within their communities for the need for planning the protection of coastal assets. Climate Science for Virginians is a presentation designed for adults in professional and hobby settings such as civic and garden clubs, homeowner associations, and elected officials.  The goal of the presentation is to explain how scientists know the earth has changed in the past, to address the question, “Is Climate Change natural?” and to share some evidence and examples of change in Virginia.  This presentation lays the foundation for starting a conversation about a need for adaptation planning.  This PowerPoint with speaker notes (or script) was not designed specifically for classrooms, youth groups or for a technical audience but could be adapted or used for those audiences in conjunction with other materials.

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Session: Coastal & Marine Spatial Planning Issues


Aquaculture Enterprise Zones --- Neal Barber, Community Futures

Abstract:  Neal Barber outlined the conceptual framework for establishing an "in-water" aquaculture park. The aquaculture park is a new and exciting concept of providing a range of common services and facilities that a number of local watermen could use to grow, harvest and market shellfish. The presentation included the parameters that were used to identify the "on-water" and "on-land" areas suitable to support an aquaculture park, the examination of the business parameters for the organization and management of the park and the recommended next steps in the development of the aquaculture park in Mathews County.

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Working Waterfronts --- Tom Murray, Virginia Sea Grant

Abstract:  To Murray discussed the concept of “working waterfronts” and how communities around the nation have addressed retaining critical water-dependent facilities using zoning and other techniques. Emphasis has been upon protecting traditional uses such as commercial fishing and new uses such as aquaculture that help protect coastal economies and preserve traditions. The VCP is embarking on a related Section 309 strategy that will begin in October 2011. The initial goal of the strategy will be delineation and identification of critical working waterfront throughout Tidewater and the Eastern Shore.

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Waterfront Village Zoning --- Sandra Benson, Northampton County Planning Office

Abstract:  Northampton County’s two seaside waterfront villages, Oyster and Willis Wharf, are regulated by zoning based on visions developed by each of the two communities.  Residents and property owners in Willis Wharf took the initiative in developing draft regulations which they presented to the County; the first Rural Waterfront Village districts were adopted in 2005.  While there are some distinct differences between the two communities and some distinctions in the two visions, both communities remain concerned about preserving their traditional working waterfronts, maintaining the distinct and historic character of the villages, and ensuring a clean, adequate water supply for the people who use it.  The presentation will touch upon ways Waterfront Village zoning differs from Village zoning in the county.

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Seaside Special Area Management Plan: Evaluating Habitat Suitability for Competing Uses --- Mark Luckenbach, Virginia Institute of Marine Science

Abstract:  The shallow-water bottom habitats in the coastal bays along the seaside of the Eastern Shore support numerous important ecological functions and socio-economic activities. These habitats include public shellfish beds, aquaculture leases, eelgrass beds and foraging grounds for shorebirds and fishes. A de facto zoning scheme for these habitats exists largely based upon a survey of shellfish beds conducted in 19th Century (Baylor survey) and a hodgepodge of lease boundaries that has developed over the last century. Yet, these are dynamic habitats in which the barrier islands move, inlets open and close, and benthic habitats change on a time-scale of years to decades. In the more than a century since Lt. Baylor’s survey, sea level in the region has risen about 1.5 ft, making it likely that old shellfish bed designations are no longer appropriate. The goals of this project are (1) to map, analyze, and interpret the current status and trends in the uses, economic values, and beneficial ecosystem functions associated with state-owned and other habitats in the seaside bays of Virginia’s Eastern Shore, (2) to re-evaluate these uses in light of current and projected conditions, and (3) to recommend guidelines for managing these resources in a manner that optimizes the environmental and socio-economic benefits derived.

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Offshore Wind Energy --- George Hagerman, Virginia Coastal Energy Research Consortium

Abstract:  George Hagerman described marine spatial planning issues involved in identifying suitable lease areas for offshore wind development on Virginia’s Outer Continental Shelf. Topics include accommodating multiple-use constraints along the western border of the proposed lease area, sea-to-shore corridor planning for possible outcomes of the Atlantic Wind Connection proposal for a north-south, offshore transmission trunk line, and establishing a suitable wind resource measurement infrastructure for resource assessment and post-construction monitoring.

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Mid-Atlantic Regional Council on the Ocean (MARCO) --- Laura McKay, Virginia Coastal Zone Management Program

Abstract:  This regional ocean partnership, MARCO, was formed in June 2009 through a signed agreement of the Governors of NY, NJ, DE, MD and VA. MARCO has identified major topics on which the states are collaborating: offshore renewable energy, habitat protection, water quality, climate change adaptation and marine spatial planning. This effort will now dovetail with the President’s July 2010 Executive Order creating a national ocean policy for stewardship of the oceans and the Great Lakes, a National Ocean Council, Regional Planning Bodies and a directive for coastal and marine spatial plans to be completed for each of the regions over the next five years.

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MARCO's Mapping and Planning Portal: Current Status and Next Steps --- Jay Odell, The Nature Conservancy

Abstract:  The Mid-Atlantic Regional Council on the Ocean (MARCO) is developing an online tool to help state, federal, and local decision-makers and the public to visualize, query, map, and analyze ocean and coastal data in the Mid-Atlantic region. Early on, the MARCO States recognized that addressing the region’s habitat protection and offshore renewable energy priorities required the creation of a geographic information system and the Virginia Coastal Zone Management Program (with CZM funds from NOAA) provided financial support for the development of the Portal. Initial results from The Nature Conservancy’s efforts to work with the states and federal agencies to create the Portal will be presented. To fully support coastal and marine spatial planning, the portal will need to evolve to include more sophisticated features and data that allow ocean users and managers to create spatial management scenarios and evaluate how well they meet diverse goals. The vision and plans for these next steps will be highlighted and discussed.

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Session: Shoreline Management Issues


Shore Evolution and Living Shoreline Design --- Scott Hardaway, VIMS Shoreline Studies Program

Abstract:  The Virginia Coastal Program has provided funding over the past few years to the VIMS’ Shoreline Studies program for preparing Shore Evolution Reports and doing research toward and developing a contractors course for designing Living Shorelines and Shoreline Management Guidelines. Shore Evolution Reports detail the morphologic change of the shore zone and quantifies the movement of the shoreline through time on a locality basis. Orthorectified historical and recent aerial imagery provide the basis for these analyses. More recent imagery, 1994, 2002, 2007 and 2009, has been obtained from other agencies. Most of Chesapeake Bay has a fairly consistent set of imagery from 1937 or 1938. That is generally the beginning date for the rate of change analysis. Images from dates between 1937 and 1994 are included when available. Once the shorelines are digitized on the photos, these data provide the basis for determining the End Point Rate of change along the shore as well as the geomorphic evolution of Virginia’s Bay coast. The patterns and rates of shore change are the response to the hydrodynamic process of waves and currents upon the coast. This understanding is critical to determining effective shoreline management strategies for each section of coast particularly when Living Shorelines are used for long-term shore protection. In order to facilitate the design and construction of Living Shoreline systems, the day-long course for contractors and consultants were shown how to access important design web-based data such as tide ranges, storm surge frequency and design waves. In addition, examples of how to actually design a system were presented to provide some hands-on, real world applications of the information we presented.   

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Shore Evolution Reports ---

Living Shoreline Design ---

Shore Management Guidelines ---

Development and Applications for the Virginia Shoreline Inventory --- Marcia Berman & Pam Mason, VIMS Center for Coastal Resources Management 

Abstract - Marcia Berman:  The Chesapeake Bay Shoreline Inventory collects and maintains data on the condition of tidal shoreline in Virginia. The inventory delineates the state of the coast with respect to land use, shoreline stability and the extent to which the shoreline has been directly impacted by anthropogenic activities.   These data support local planning and regulation and provide important data to evaluate trends in Virginia’s coastal management programs. Several uses and applications for the data will be demonstrated; among them the development of Shoreline Management Plans. These plans can be customized to address specific issues or concerns of an individual locality but in general provide information to improve local decision making with respect to tidal shoreline management. During a recent workshop, local governments were queried to determine what information is most valuable to them and how they prefer to see information delivered. Some of those results will be discussed in this presentation. 

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Abstract - Pam Mason:  The Center for Coastal Resources Management at the Virginia Institute of Marine Science is working on many projects, with funding by the Virginia Coastal Zone Management Program as well as other sources, to advance our understanding of shoreline ecosystems to support better management of these resources. Two such efforts include a General Assembly directed study of shoreline management in Virginia and the launch of a enhanced website for living shorelines. The shoreline management study, mandated by Senate Joint Resolution 35 during the 2010 session, directed VIMS to do the following: 1) study shoreline management in Virginia and other states, 2) identify potential changes to the regulatory structure of tidal shoreline management to reduce the cost and time required to issue a permit; 3) identify regulatory innovations that would increase adoption of living shorelines among shoreline landowners; and 4)make specific recommendations to achieve the sustained protection of tidal shoreline resources.

A review of the management processes shows that other states share similar issues with multi-jurisdictional decision complexity, but state ownership of tidal wetlands in most other states allows for decisions which support state missions directed toward protection of public trust resources. However, Virginia and Massachusetts have private property ownership to low water and both rely on citizen decision-making at the local government level to manage tidal wetlands. 

Opportunities to reduce cost and time associated with shoreline management programs lie mostly in providing a more predictable, transparent process that addresses gaps ad over-lap in the various program. We recommend the cooperative development of State-level integrated guidance which identifies preferred shoreline management approaches and the resource trade-offs associated with various choices. Several states, notably Maryland and North Carolina, have implemented regulatory programs to advance the use of living shorelines – Maryland has passed legislation to require living shorelines and North Carolina has implemented a general permit. These programs offer possible models for Virginia. The implementation of a general permit with well defined criteria is a good option for Virginia. A recent VCZMP funded effort to update the CCRM living shorelines website with information on the benefits, descriptions of the approaches and examples of projects on the ground is intended to promote the use of living shorelines for erosion protection in Virginia. See

Finally, the development of comprehensive plans for shoreline management decision-making based on an integrated perspective for the sustainability of shoreline resources is recommended for Virginia.

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Session: State-Listed Threatened and Endangered Species Management


An overview of the State-Listed Threatened and Endangered Species in Virginia's Coastal Zone --- Chris Ludwig, Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries

Abstract:  Chris Ludwig presented an overview of Virginia’s listed species, approximately 40 of which are known from Virginia’s Coastal Zone.  When possible, species will be grouped by habitat so that threats and conservation opportunities can be addressed.

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Coastal States’ Management of Threatened and Endangered Species --- Jim McElfish, Environmental Law Institute

Abstract:  Virginia has included threatened and endangered species in its coastal zone management program from the very beginning. These species are mentioned in both the original executive order and the current executive order establishing this networked program.  The implementation mechanisms, however, for integrating state-listed species fully into the program have never been thoroughly worked out.  A number of other states have addressed state-protected species in their coastal zone management programs, but approaches and priorities have varied substantially, just as state species-protection laws have varied.

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Threatened and Endangered Species Management in Virginia --- Ellie Irons, Virginia Department of Environmental Quality

Abstract: The Department of Environmental Quality is responsible for coordinating the Commonwealth’s review of federal consistency documents submitted pursuant to section 307 of the Coastal Zone Management Act Coastal Zone Management ActVirginia's Designated Coastal Management Area) must be consistent with the enforceable policies of the VCP (Enforceable Policies. The VCP is a networked program with several agencies administering the enforceable policies. Virginia also has several advisory policies (Advisory Policies) which were established to serve as a discretionary guide during project planning. These Advisory Policies of the VCP include spawning/nursery/feeding grounds and significant wildlife habitat areas. Although not required for the purposes of consistency with the VCP, in accordance with 15 CFR §930.39(c), federal agencies should consider the advisory policies (recommendations) of the VCP as well. The 1990 CZMA amendments clarified that all federal agency activities meeting the “effects” standard are subject to CZMA consistency and that there are no exceptions, exclusions or categorical exemptions from the requirement. Because Virginia has an approved Coastal Zone Management Program (VCP) (Virginia Coastal Zone Management Program), federal actions (Definition of federal actions) which are reasonably likely to affect any land or water use or natural resources of Virginia’s designated coastal resources management area.

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Session: Non-Point Source Water Quality Issues


Advances in Estimating and Detecting Impervious Surface Areas --- Kevin F. Byrnes, George Washington Regional Commission & Jamie Christensen, Worldview Solutions, Inc. 

Abstract:  Impervious surface area is a key indicator of environmental quality and has become a subject important to the discussion of how to improve the water quality of major tributaries to and the Chesapeake Bay itself.  As an important ecological indicator of cumulative water resource impacts on urban watersheds, methods of cost-effectively detecting, estimating and mapping impervious surface areas have become important to local governments’ efforts to develop and implement watershed plans (to achieve compliance with TMDL waste load allocations) and achieve more sustainable urban development patterns.  In this presentation, the authors discuss : 1) public-domain tools for estimating impervious surface areas (and tree canopy) and the findings from regional analysis of a high growth area, and 2) a method for detecting and mapping impervious area, among other land covers, in a regional watershed and the usefulness of the results.  Implications for the Virginia coastal zone program will be discussed. 

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Water Quality Planning through the Chesapeake Bay Preservation Act and TMDL Watershed Implementation Plan - Phase II --- Joan Salvati, Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation, Division of Chesapeake Bay Local Assistance 

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Conserving Virginia's Healthy Waters --- Rick Hill, Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation, Division of Soil and Water Conservation

Abstract:  Virginia’s Healthy Waters initiative seeks to conserve ecologically rich streams and rivers of the Commonwealth. Conservation of these critical resources starts with knowing where they are. To that end, the Commonwealth has built outstanding stream ecological health assessment and classification methodologies and one of the largest steam databases in the Country. To put this “blue infrastructure” data in the hands of decision makers and resource managers, an interactive website has been developed that allows 24 hour a day access to an interactive mapping service that has data about the location and relative ecological health of streams and rivers that have been assessed. This information can be accessed through the Coastal GEMS portal or by going directly to the interactive stream assessment website housed at Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU): In addition, Virginia has developed a striking outreach publication and web presence to help communicate information about these resources and why it is critical that they be conserved.

Virginia’s Healthy Waters initiative began as an effort by the Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR) to inform watershed prioritization by including ecological information. With funding from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, and support from the Coastal Zone Management Program, the Department of Environmental Quality, the Department of Game and Inland Fisheries, and DCR, Virginia has assessed the ecological integrity of more than 2500 streams and rivers. This assessment, known as the Interactive Stream Assessment Resource (INSTAR), incorporates high quality archival data and field data. INSTAR uses a multi-metric assessment of stream ecological health that incorporates habitat and physical conditions and information about fish and macro-invertebrate communities. Stream health is classified based on a percent comparability to what would be expected for similar streams in the same ecological region. Working with multiple agencies, VCU developed the assessment and classification methodology and led data development and field work. VCU also hosts the INSTAR application. 

For the first time, INSTAR provides the Commonwealth with a common basis for identifying healthy waters; however, other definitions of healthy waters are used where INSTAR data is not available or where other indicators of stream health exist. The next steps in working to conserve healthy waters in Virginia will be to incorporate these conservation priorities into existing programs such as land conservation and to work with local partners to inform planning and land use decision-making.

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Session: Marine Debris Issues


Land-based Marine Debris --- Katie Register, Clean Virginia Waterways/Longwood University

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Derelict crab pots in the Chesapeake Bay --- Kirk Havens, Virginia Institute of Marine Science

Abstract:  The blue crab, Callinectes sapidus, is an icon of the Chesapeake Bay, contributing both ecologically and economically to the region. Over the past decade, landings of hard crabs have been historically low and harvest of peeler crabs and soft crabs decreased by 40%. In response to the reduced blue crab harvest, Virginia and Maryland enacted a number of additional conservation measures designed to boost the blue crab population. In the Commonwealth of Virginia, one such measure was the closure of the practice of dredging for crabs during the winter months known as the winter crab dredge fishery. Federal assistance was allocated to Virginia to assist those economically hurt by the commercial fishery failure and to support the restoration of the fishery. In response, the Virginia Marine Resources Commission developed a Blue Crab Fishery Resource Disaster Relief Plan. One component of the plan, the Marine Debris Location and Removal Program, involved the employment of commercial fishers directly affected by the closure of the winter dredge fishery to locate and remove lost or derelict blue crab pots from Virginia waters. Blue crab pots are galvanized or vinyl-coated two-chambered wire traps designed to be deployed and recovered by a line and buoy system. Typically, pots become lost when buoy lines are severed by vessel propellers, lines break because of age, pots are abandoned or are vandalized, or storms roll the pots, pulling the buoy below the surface. It is estimated that 10% to 30% of deployed pots are lost annually. Seasonal catch of marketable crabs by lost pots is estimated at about 50 crabs per pot. If lost or abandoned, pots can continue to capture crabs, fish, and other organisms for multiple years.

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Lunch Speaker - Conservation Easements: Fiscal Impacts to Localities in the Middle Peninsula --- Lewie Lawrence, Middle Peninsula Planning District Commission

Abstract:  During the past several years the Dragon Run Steering Committee has recognized a conservation easement as a useful tool for private landowners to preserve rural character and promote natural resource-based economies, while protecting the natural resources that enable this way of life. As interest in conservation easements and conservation land holdings expanded in and around the Dragon Run Watershed, <st1:ST1:PLACE w:st="on"><st1:ST1:PLACENAME w:st="on">Middle <st1:ST1:PLACETYPE w:st="on">Peninsula localities started to be concerned about intended or unintended tax revenue impacts and their effects on local economies.  Some elected officials have questions the overall fiscal benefit of easements and look to limit conservation easements.  This session establishes a nexus between state aide for k-12 funding via the composite index and conservation easements.

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Session: Section 306A of the CZMA – Land Acquisition, Public Access & Habitat Restoration


Using Section 306A Funds to Buy Land, Restore Habitat and Build Public Access --- Laura McKay, Virginia Coastal Zone Management Program 

Abstract:  The Virginia CZM Program has successfully used funds from NOAA under Section 306A of the Coastal Zone Management Act to create a variety of “on the ground” improvements in Virginia’s coastal zone. Projects undertaken or completed since the last Coastal Partners’ Workshop are quantified and summarized. Highlights include land acquired on the southern tip of the Eastern Shore and public access improvements made possible through the 2202-2008 Seaside Heritage Program focal area.

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Seaside Heritage Program - Seagrass Restoration in the Virginia Seaside Bays: A Model of Restoration Success (the grass really is greener on the seaside) --- Bob Orth, Virginia Institute of Marine Science

Abstract:  The Virginia seaside bays once supported lush beds of eelgrass through the early 1930s when a combination of a hurricane and disease wiped out eelgrass, and all the associated fauna, including the commercially important bay scallop.  Eleven years of eelgrass seed addition conducted in a coastal lagoon system with four contiguous sub-basins that had been devoid of seagrass since 1933 have resulted in a rapid rate of expansion of eelgrass beyond the initially seeded plots.  Following initial success of adult plant test plots, we initiated large scale (>103 m2 areas) seed introductions using millions of seeds, simulating massive seed recruitment events in areas where the relative isolation from the nearest seed-producing beds may have historically resulted in rare, low-density seedling recruitment. Through 2010 we have broadcast over 38 million seeds into 307 acres which has now spread to roughly 4300 acres in these bays.  Water quality monitoring has suggested that water temperature could be one key ingredient in long term survival of eelgrass.  This success suggests that recovery of the bay scallop which requires eelgrass for a settling substrate may indeed be a real possibility, something not seen in the annals to fisheries restoration.

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Seaside Heritage Program - Predation Management as an Approach to Habitat Restoration for Colonial and Beach-nesting Waterbirds on the Virginia Barrier Islands --- Ray Dueser, Utah State University

Abstract:  Mammalian predators often have severe detrimental effects on populations of colonial and beach-nesting waterbirds. These effects vary with predator species and with habitat, but often are extreme on islands. The raccoon and red fox are frequently implicated in depredation events. The Virginia barrier islands remain the only undeveloped barrier system on the eastern seaboard, and, as such, provide critically important breeding habitat for more than 20 species of colonial and beach-nesting waterbirds, including the federally-threatened Piping Plover and the American Oystercatcher, a species of high conservation concern. Based on 30 years of breeding bird counts, most colonial and beach-nesting waterbird populations have declined in both overall numbers and numbers of colonies in recent decades on these islands. Several lines of evidence indicate that nest depredation by the raccoon and red fox have had a substantial cumulative impact on these populations. Many of the commonly employed approaches to predation management are inappropriate and/or inapplicable in the wet, windy, salty coastal environment. Predator removal and predator behavioral modification may hold particular promise in such situations. Experimental management was undertaken on three “predator removal” islands in 2001 and on three additional islands in 2002. The numbers of breeding pairs of birds, numbers of nests, and productivity per nest provide multiple measures of the responses of breeding waterbirds to this management. Early indications are that predator removal is having a positive effect on American Oystercatchers and perhaps Piping Plovers. We discuss the complexity of documenting avian responses to predator removal and the difficulty of maintaining predator-free conditions. We also report promising results from an experimental test of predator behavioral modification as a means of reducing nest depredation. Aversive conditioning holds significant promise as an alternative or supplemental management strategy. Predation management has proven to be an effective means of avian habitat restoration on the Virginia barrier islands.

AUTHORS:Raymond D. Dueser1,2, Nancy D. Moncrief2, Barry R. Truitt3, Alexandra L. Wilke3, Ruth Boettcher4 and Joel D. Martin1.

1Department of Wildland Resources, Utah State University, Logan UT;  2Virginia Museum of Natural History, 21 Starling Avenue, Martinsville VA;  3Virginia Coast Reserve The Nature Conservancy Nassawadox VA; Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries, Painter, VA

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Seaside Heritage Program - Seaside Oyster Restoration --- Jim Wesson, Virginia Marine Resources Commission

Abstract:  Oyster Restoration in the Eastern Shore’s Seaside bays is conducted differently than in the Chesapeake Bay. Historically oysters in the Chesapeake Bay rivers grew in 8-10 foot high reefs. Seaside oysters tend to grow in intertidal areas, in lower profile beds.  From 1999-2002, the Virginia CZM Program invested $150,000 in seaside oyster restoration. Since 2003, approximately 4.9 acres of oyster reefs have been constructed on public oyster beds in Accomack County, and just under 5 acres of oyster reef have been constructed in Northampton County.  Local watermen/contractors have constructed the oyster reefs with either shucked shells, locally harvested fossil shells, or conch shells. Reefs generally require at least 25,000 bushels per acre, and they are constructed on degraded, intertidal reef footprints.  Spatsets are still relatively large and dependable on Seaside, so all reefs have been colonized and have significant oyster populations. Oyster diseases still significantly impact the larger oysters. All reefs are marked as “NO HARVEST” areas and with signage identifying the reefs as sanctuaries, but poaching continues to be an issue.

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They’re Shore Beautiful! - Plant ES Natives Campaign Sowing Seeds of Success, Virginia Coastal Zone Management Program --- Virginia Witmer, Virginia Coastal Zone Management Program

Native Plant Use Growing on the Shore – A Report from the Field --- Dot Field, Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation, Division of Natural Heritage

Abstract:  In the spring of 2009, the Virginia CZM Program and its partners launched the Plant ES Natives social marketing campaign to increase the use of plants native to Accomack and Northampton counties and increase native vegetation cover on the Shore. An increase in native vegetation will provide water quality benefits critical to maintaining a potable water supply on the Shore, help maintain optimal water quality for Virginia’s shellfish aquaculture industry and provide critical habitat for millions of migratory birds that rely on Virginia’s Eastern Shore. Design of the campaign was guided by research conducted on the Shore in late 2008 through interviews, focus groups and a written survey of private and public landowners, garden centers, nurseries, landscapers, and others. This research identified barriers that have inhibited planting of natives, benefits landowners perceived they would get if they increased their use of natives, and the multi-media approach that would be most effective in reaching an Eastern Shore audience. The major barriers discovered were a misperception that native plants are scraggly, weedy and unattractive; a lack of understanding about which species are native to the Shore; and a lack of availability of natives at local garden centers due to limited demand. Based on this research, the campaign focuses on the beauty of natives (“They’re Shore Beautiful!) and the habitat value of natives (the hugely significant role the Shore plays as a rest stop to migratory birds each spring and fall). The campaign has been well received by gardeners on the Shore. Inventory and sales of native plants at garden centers is growing. A mid-campaign survey of residents conducted in spring 2010 shows very promising results early into what we know will be a multi-year effort to effort to overcome barriers, change behavior and establish a social norm for planting native. It is clear to people in both counties that this campaign can be a winning effort for citizens, local plant providers and the environment.

The approach being taken by the Plant ES Natives campaign to increase use of native plants on the Shore – “community-based social marketing” – relies in large part on neighbors talking to neighbors, friends and family sharing with friends and family. Dot Field, member of the campaign team, resident of the Shore, avid gardener and active member of the community,  shared from her perspective how the Plant ES Natives campaign has been received on the ground. Dot spoke specifically about how the campaign’s native plant guide and native plant demonstration gardens have impacted the choices being made by Eastern Shore gardeners and communities.   

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

This web site 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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