Coastal Zone Management

Virginia boasts more than 5,000 miles of shorelines and the Virginia Coastal Zone Management (CZM) Program works every day to protect our coastal resources and the industries and livelihoods that depend upon them. The Program’s goals are outlined below. DEQ serves as the lead agency for the Virginia CZM network of state agencies and coastal localities, and houses the Virginia CZM Program office in Richmond. DEQ helps develop coordinated policies and the network implements the enforceable laws, regulations and policies that protect our coastal resources and foster sustainable development across Virginia’s coastal zone. A Coastal Policy Team consists of representatives from each of the agencies and coastal Planning District Commissions (PDCs) to discuss and resolve crosscutting coastal resource management issues. To accomplish its goals, the Virginia CZM office administers an annual grant award of approximately $3 million from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), National Ocean Service, Office for Coastal Management, through the federal Coastal Zone Management Act.

From DEQ’s Coastal Zone Management

Products of GWRC’s CZM Grants

Regional Environmental Managers Technical Committee

GWRC provides staff support to the Regional Environmental Managers Technical Committee, which is made up of local environmental planners, MS4/stormwater program managers/staff, development review personnel, Rappahannock River Basin Commission, and Soil & Water Conservation Districts, Friends of the Rappahannock, and other stakeholders. This group meets quarterly to discuss topics of mutual interest including any new or revised regulatory changes, best practices, and other matters important to the group. This group has been effective in facilitating and propagating the latest changes in the stormwater regulations and best practices.

Environmental Strategic Plan

GWRC worked with regional stakeholders to develop a multi-year strategic plan for coastal zone management that aligns with the goals and focus areas of the Virginia Coastal Zone Management Program and responds to the needs of our local jurisdictions. The plan identifies and prioritizes planning, design, construction, and outreach projects to provide a strategic direction for future CZM and other grants. Creating new partnerships and strengthen existing partnerships is aligning programs across the community, creating co-benefits, and making community leaders and local government leadership more aware of the opportunities available to the region when we partner on our most challenging environmental issues.

 2022 Urban Heat Island Study

The George Washington Regional Commission (GWRC) and Friends of the Rappahannock (FOR) are pleased to announce the publication of their 2022 joint study on Urban Heat Islands in Planning District 16 (Caroline, King George, Spotsylvania, and Stafford Counties and the City of Fredericksburg). The study combined citizen science and Geographic Information Systems (GIS) to identify areas with a high concentration of impervious surfaces (such as asphalt, concrete, buildings, etc.) and their correlation to higher ambient air temperatures through heat absorption. This effect is known as Urban Heat Islands and, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Heat Island impacts can affect a community’s environment and quality of life in multiple ways, including increased energy consumption, elevated emissions of air pollutants and greenhouse gases, compromised human health and comfort, and impaired water quality.


Crow’s Nest in Stafford County