Managing Virginia’s Coastal Resources

Governor Ralph Northam yesterday announced the Commonwealth of Virginia sought and received authorization from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) to continue the Commonwealth’s partnership with the agency through the Virginia Coastal Zone Management (CZM) Program in perpetuity.

Virginia Governor Ralph Northam

Through a “transmittal letter,” Governor Northam replaces the need for Executive Orders that each new governor would have to sign to continue this federal-state partnership.

“I am pleased that we will be able to establish the responsible management of our coastal resources as a permanent fixture of Virginia public policy,” said Governor Northam.

“The Virginia CZM Program has a long list of accomplishments, including restoring eelgrass on the seaside of the Eastern Shore, enhancing oyster populations, improving protection of beaches and dunes, and increasing opportunities for ecotourism,” added Virginia Secretary of Natural Resources, Matthew J. Strickler. 

The program was federally approved in 1986 as part of a national coastal zone management program, a voluntary partnership between the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) National Ocean Service Office for Coastal Management and U.S. coastal states and territories authorized by the federal Coastal Zone Management Act.

To manage Virginia’s coastal resources, the program relies on a network of state agencies and local governments to administer the enforceable laws and regulations that protect the wetlands, dunes, subaqueous lands, fisheries, and air and water quality within the Virginia “Coastal Zone.”