Document Type



Virginia Institute of Marine Science

Publication Date



The Virginia Institute of Marine Science (VIMS) was directed under Senate Joint Resolution 35, to conduct a study of tidal shoreline management in Virginia. The resolution directed four specific tasks to be included in the study: “(i) review tidal shoreline management in the Commonwealth and similarly situated states; (ii) identify potential changes to the regulatory structure of tidal shoreline management to reduce the cost and time required to issue a permit; (iii) identify regulatory innovations that would increase adoption of living shorelines among shoreline landowners; and (iv) make specific recommendations to achieve the sustained protection of tidal shoreline resources.” The Center for Coastal Resources Management at VIMS was delegated the responsibility for the study. We conducted detailed reviews of the shoreline management construct of Virginia along with three states: Massachusetts (is similar to Virginia with private property ownership to low water) and neighboring North Carolina and Maryland, and a less detailed review of other coastal states. The review was to assess models for use in Virginia that address multi-jurisdictional decision-making or living shorelines or both and at the same time, look for possible complications or ineffective programmatic efforts to avoid. The review enabled the identification of possible options for time and costs savings for permit issuance and supported the identification of regulatory innovations to increase the use of living shorelines. A look at the current shoreline management structure in Virginia and the future cast of adverse resource effects due to management decisions and natural losses calls for a comprehensive approach to achieve sustainability of shoreline resources.



Shoreline Management, Virginia, Environmental Policy

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.

Publication Statement

We would like to acknowledge Joan Salvati and Shawn Smith, DCR, Division of Chesapeake Bay Local Assistance, and Tony Watkinson and Robert Neikirk, Virginia Marine Resources Commission for assistance with this report. We also thank the local government staff that provided information on shoreline decision processes. The Center for Coastal Resources Management at the Virginia Institute of Marine Science is responsible for the content of this report and it does not reflect the formal position of any other individuals or agencies.