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Virginia Institute of Marine Science

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The Commonwealth of Virginia manages its tidal wetlands resources through implementation of the Tidal Wetlands Act (Va. Code §28.2-1300 et seq.). This Act establishes a state-local regulatory program providing the option for local governments located in the coastal zone to voluntarily assume the primary responsibility for local implementation, through a citizen wetlands board, with oversight by the Virginia Marine Resources Commission (VMRC). The Tidal Wetlands Act charges local wetlands boards with balancing the preservation and use of tidal wetlands in order to protect the ecosystem services they provide. In addition, Virginia has an established state policy of no-net loss of wetlands resources and is a partner in the Chesapeake Bay Program, committed to “achieve a no-net loss of existing wetlands acreage and function.” This means that if wetlands are lost due to development or shoreline stabilization, for example, then the resulting loss must be offset by creating a comparable amount of wetlands elsewhere. VMRC’s Tidal Wetlands Mitigation-Compensation Policy (Reg. 4 VAC 20-390-10 et seq.) requires wetlands boards to minimize or mitigate the loss of wetlands and the adverse ecological effects of all permitted activities when implementing the Tidal Wetlands Act. For the past 40 years, the Center for Coastal Resources Management (CCRM) at the Virginia Institute of Marine Science (VIMS) has developed extensive guidance to assist local governments in making permit decisions to meet the intent and goals of the Tidal Wetlands Program. Most recently, guidance provided supports a management preference for strategies which incorporate the use of natural resources for shoreline protection and seek to more effectively balance public and private interests.



Wetlands, Virginia, Shoreline Management, Environmental Policy

Creative Commons License

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


Environmental Protection Agency Assistance #: CD-96301401-0