Document Type



Virginia Institute of Marine Science

VIMS Department/Program

Center for Coastal Resources Management (CCRM)

Publication Date


Data Access

See Download tab and additional files below.


Community resilience to storm-driven coastal flooding is improved with the presence of natural and nature-based features (NNBFs) such as wetlands, wooded areas, living shorelines, and beaches. These natural and created features can provide multiple benefits for a local community, including mitigating the impacts of storm surge and sea-level rise and allowing communities to take advantage of programmatic incentive programs like FEMA’s Community Rating System and nutrient reduction crediting.

As part of a NOAA-funded project NA17NOS4730142, an exportable geospatial protocol and NNBF ranking methodology was developed with the goal of incentivizing the protection and creation of NNBFs across Chesapeake Bay localities by highlighting the multiple benefits these features can provide, identifying target areas where new or restored NNBFs would benefit buildings that lack in benefits from existing NNBFs, and incorporating this information within existing online tools for local and state managers and regulators.


Data collection methods: NNBFs and target areas were determined for lands at less than 10-feet in coastal Virginia. Data acquisition and methodology are described in the metadata (embedded in the shapefile).

Data is in zip file, shapefile format, readable by ESRI ArcGIS Pro/ArcMap software.

Files | Description

  • Folder: TargetAreas_NNBFs_Shapefile | Files:_NewNNBF.shp : Shapefile – embedded metadata, 8 files IN Download tab
  • Folder: Coastal_NNBF_Ranked | Files: NNBF_CCRM_2020.shp : Shapefile – embedded metadata, 8 files IN Additional materials section.



Flooding, sea level rise, NNBFs, natural and nature-based features, resilience, Virginia, restoration, FEMA open space, water quality, co-benefits


This work was funded by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) through grant # NA17NOS4730142. These data and related items have not been formally disseminated by NOAA, and do not represent any agency determination, view, or policy. (440484 kB)
Coastal NNBF Ranked files