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Category for Coastal Communities


What We Do


Virginia Sea Grant works to enhance the sustainability and viability of coastal communities through economic and social science research as well as extension activities. The coastal community development program within VIMS Marine Advisory services department conducts economic analyses and supports coastal industries such as marinas, boating, seafood, and tourism. We have also partnered with Old Dominion University and William & Mary Law School on projects that address climate change adaptation.

Extension projects include:


Current research and extension work is featured below.


Hannah Fish. ©VCPC

VCPC Tackles Wetlands Law and Sea Level Rise

Hannah Fish will research the connection between expected sea level rise and the federal wetlands permitting process under the Clean Water Act.

Ben Willis. ©VCPC

VCPC Analyzes Water Quality Standards in the Bay

Ben Willis will write a white paper for the Clinic analyzing the impact of sea level rise on the Chesapeake Bay Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL).

©Margaret Pizer/VASG

A Week of Policy: VASG and VCPC in 2014

2014 has been a busy year for the Virginia Coastal Policy Clinic (VCPC), and Virginia Sea Grant has never been more excited to count the clinic as part of its extension family.

©VIMS

Working Waterfronts Benefit Northampton Co. Businesses

Working waterfronts are critical for water-dependent business and a new report by Virginia Institute of Marine Science and Virginia Sea Grant proves it.

Mark Brush (right) uses a smart board projector to demo the new model. ©Janet Krenn/VASG

Enduser Input Shapes Delmarva Bays Planning Tool

As part of the Delmarva Modeling Project, researchers met with endusers to develop a new tool aimed to improve the condition of Delmarva’s coastal bays.

©Julia Robins/VASG

VCU Students Talk Gloucester Land Use at Public Meeting

On October 7, interested Gloucester residents attended a public meeting to discuss the future use of the Lands End subdivision.

©Glenn Markwith

VA’s Watermen Tours Gain Insight From VASG Intern

This summer, CEC brought on a VASG-funded business intern to learn more about the pros and cons of watermen tours, both for consumers and watermen.

Michelle Covi. ©Julia Robins/VASG

Comparing Risk Assessment Tools for Sea Level Rise

Attendees of the Hampton Roads Adaptation Forum gathered to compare risk assessment tools for flooding and sea level rise.

A view of the Elizabeth River from one of Top Rack's docks. ©Julia Robins/VASG

Top Rack Marina Awarded “Clean Marina” Designation

The Virginia Clean Marina Program awarded Top Rack Marina with Clean Marine designation for voluntarily preventing and reducing pollution at their facility.

A photo of the model displaying oyster aquaculture vulnerability in Virginia and Maryland. Dark green represents places with no threat, while red represents places where significant use conflict exists. ©Julia Robins/VASG

Mapping the Bay to Plan for Shellfish Aquaculture

Who would suspect that in a bay with as much shallow water as the Chesapeake there would be competition for space in its shallow water habitat?

Encroaching seas have devastated trees at Bethel Beach in Mathews County, Virginia. ©Wetlands Watch

Sea Level Rise: A Relentless Reality That Virginia Must Plan For Carefully

Motivated by flooding from recent hurricanes, leaders at state and local levels have begun to take a serious look at planning for rising sea levels.

Stephanie Smallegan. ©VASG

Graduate Fellow Studies Storm Damage on Assateague Island

During her fellowship, Stephanie will study the effects of storm damage on coastal environments.

View of the Severn River from the property. ©VASG

VCU Professors Lay Plans to Revitalize Middle Peninsula Waterfront

On June 20, a group of professors from Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU) took the first step toward revitalizing a rural tidewater waterfront property far removed from the hustle and bustle of Richmond, Virginia.

Jennifer Murray-McClain sits in on University-Community Partnership meeting. ©Chelsea Carter/VASG

Fellow Investigates Ways to Partner Universities with Community

To strengthen economic development in the area, Middle Peninsula Planning District Commission (MPPDC) and Virginia Sea Grant (VASG) are investigating ways to get Virginia universities to partner with the community.

Thomas Wysong © Julia Robins/VASG.

Aberdeen Creek Seeks Maintanence, Funding

Thomas Wysong, Virginia Sea Grant Policy Intern, is looking for a way to dredge Aberdeen Creek with a policy that doesn’t raise taxes, doesn’t divert current funds, and distributes revenue fairly.

Bird Island, FL, August 21, 2008 -- Houses on Sea Gate Circle in the North Brevard County community are locked in by the flooding from Tropical Storm Fay. State and Federal teams have started assessing the extent of damage caused by the slow storm throughout the Central Coastal and North Central regions of Florida. Barry Bahler/FEMA © VASG.

CRS Makes Reducing Individual Flood Insurance a Community Effort

Tom Wittig is investigating ways for local communities to gain credit through CRS and hopes to explain how communities can earn credit from sea level rise adaptation efforts.

Assateague Island, VA

How Do Barrier Islands Respond to Hurricanes?

  The creation of a channel on a barrier island and the landward transport of sediment during storms have the potential to devastate coastal environments. Using a numerical model, Stephanie Smallegan of Virginia Tech will investigate the processes that govern these occurrences on Assateague Island, VA. Findings may improve predictive tools for storm damage, helping […]

Coastal Tourism Business Development Summer Internship for Grad Students

Coastal Tourism Business Development Summer Internship for Grad Students

Deadline: May 16, 2014 Virginia Sea Grant (VASG) and Chesapeake Environmental Communications (CEC) are pleased to announce the availability of an 8-10 week summer internship for graduate students in business development ($5,000 stipend). A graduate student with a business and/or marketing background will support research to assess the market feasibility and growth potential of a […]

Clinic Reviews How New FEMA Maps Will Change VA Flood Policies

Clinic Reviews How New FEMA Maps Will Change VA Flood Policies

By Julia Robins, Virginia Sea Grant Student Correspondent New floodplain maps could change the way Virginia’s localities handle flooding risk and flood insurance. Virginia Sea Grant-sponsored Virginia Coastal Policy Clinic (VCPC) at The College of William and Mary Law School is helping localities get ready. The updated maps are part of the National Flood Insurance […]

Jie (Jessica) Hou.

Law Students Compare Fisheries to Local Government

Externs compared fisheries management plans with local land use ordinances to see to what extent fisheries policy and local government align.

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