Virginia Sea Grant Extension partners presented the findings of their efforts to map and prioritize working waterfronts in Virginia and Maryland at the nation’s third Working Waterfronts Conference this March. The session “A Case Study on Successful Research and Extension in the Chesapeake Bay” was lead by Extension Leader and Virginia Institute of Marine Science Economist Tom Murray.
Murray has been a leader in the national working waterfronts movement since 2007, when he convened the first national conference in Norfolk. That conference took the first steps toward preserving working waterfronts by bringing together previously competing recreational and commercial waterfront users to work together to preserve access for all.
“Virtually every water-dependent interest was present at the Norfolk meeting,” Murray said in a 2011 article about the national working waterfront movement. “What came out of that meeting was a consensus definition that was general enough to include all of the players and could be applied across the country, but it was specific enough to really address the common problems all groups are facing.”
The first meeting sparked a national movement that has led to sharing of tools, best practices, and other creative solutions to evolving waterfront challenges, which continues today.
The 3rd National Working Waterfronts Conference took place in Tacoma, WA, March 25-28, 2013.
Virginia Coastal Zone Management, Virginia Institute of Marine Science, and Virginia Sea Grant will hold a local meeting in 2014 to discuss key findings from the national conference and how these findings can be applied to Virginia localities.