States / Virginia


Coastal Management

The focus is on managing coastal areas to increase resilience, with an emphasis on balancing environmental, economic, and human wellbeing. Mandated by the Coastal Zone Management Act, the two federal programs designed for this task are the National Coastal Zone Management Program and the National Estuarine Research Reserve System. Programs are administered, on the federal side, by NOAA’s Office for Coastal Management, in partnership with the coastal states.

A pink and gold sunset over the Colonial Beach Municipal Pier with a gazebo in the center of the frame as a person walks down the pier.

State Programs

Coastal Zone Management

Virginia Coastal Zone Management Program. Established in 1986, the Department of Environmental Quality leads the program in collaboration with state agencies and coastal localities. Together they enforce laws, regulations, and policies for sustainable development in Virginia’s coastal zone. A coastal policy team addresses cross-cutting issues, and the coastal management office manages an annual $3 million grant from NOAA to fulfill its mission under the Coastal Zone Management Act.

National Estuarine Research Reserves

Chesapeake Bay-Virginia National Estuarine Research Reserve. Designated in 1991 and protecting 3,072 acres, this reserve is located one hour north of Norfolk, Virginia. As the nation’s largest estuary, a diverse collection of habitats are found here, including oyster reefs, seagrass beds, tidal wetlands, sandy shoals, and mudflats. (See handout)