Program’s Leadership and Data Maps Lessen Ocean-Use Conflicts
The Takeaway: As offshore wind energy comes to the state, the Virginia Coastal Zone Management Program helps a variety of sectors air concerns and document existing ocean uses.
By 2026, the nation’s largest offshore wind energy facility in federal waters is expected to power as many as 650,000 homes from Virginia Beach to Richmond, Virginia. Over the past decade, the Virginia Coastal Zone Management Program has been a leader in enabling people with a stake in area fisheries and other marine life to address their concerns with offshore wind energy interests. The program also helped to map many important fishery areas and other data sets, which can be viewed and shared via the Mid-Atlantic Ocean Data Portal.
- Mapped marine life data on birds, fish, migrant species, and more
- A marine life library
- Fine-scale maps of commercial and recreational fishing areas and fishing communities at sea
- Maps showing where locations have shifted for 18 fish species
The data portal, initiated by Virginia’s coastal zone program in 2009, is made possible by the multi-partner Mid-Atlantic Regional Council on the Ocean and its portal team.
Moreover, the manager of Virginia’s coastal zone program sits on the Virginia Offshore Wind Development Authority, which helps facilitate, coordinate, and support offshore wind and related products and supply chains. In addition, the program supports a coordinator from Virginia Commonwealth University who engages with ocean users from commercial and recreational fishing communities.
Virginia’s coastal zone program received funding from, and worked closely with, the federal Bureau of Ocean Energy Management and the Virginia Department of Mines, Minerals, and Energy to document concerns and existing ocean uses.
The Coastal Virginia Offshore Wind research project will feature two 6-megawatt Siemens Gamesa turbines on a tract leased from the federal Bureau of Ocean Energy Management by the state Department of Mines, Minerals, and Energy. The power provider will be Dominion Energy and the turbines will be built by Ørsted. (2020)
More Information: Project planning and outcomes
Partners: Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Dominion Virginia Power, Mid-Atlantic Regional Council on the Ocean, Virginia Coastal Zone Management Program, Virginia Department of Mines, Minerals, and EnergyPRINT