REGIONAL — The Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR) has been awarded a $1 million grant to be put towards bolstering efforts to expand living shorelines by almost 1,400 feet along the along Virginia’s Northern Neck and Middle Peninsula.
The DCR, the state’s lead natural resource conservation agency, will use the funding to reduce coastal erosion and encourage better water quality in the Chesapeake Bay. The agency will use its Shoreline Erosion Advisory Service (SEAS) to provide financial incentives for the construction of living shorelines.
“A living shoreline is a nature based approach to shoreline protection that uses native vegetation often in combination with strategically placed sand and rock,” the VDRC said in a press release. ” Living shorelines reduce erosion, protect and enhance wetlands, provide an attractive natural appearance, and improve water quality. Living shorelines also provide critical habitats for fish and wildlife. These green infrastructure techniques absorb incoming wave energy and buffer low-lying areas from storm surge, thereby strengthening coastal resiliency in the face of sea level rise.”
SEAS will focus on growing partnerships throughout Rural Coastal Virginia, which is a 12-county region that includes, Northern Neck, Middle Peninsula and Eastern Shore. Developing living shorelines is vital to the overall health of the Chesapeake Bay because it covers tidal portions of the Potomac, Rappahannock and York rivers, as well as many smaller coastal tributaries.
The grant is funded by the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF) and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) through the Innovative Nutrient and Sediment Reduction Grant Program, a core program under NFWF’s Chesapeake Bay Stewardship Fund promoting community-based efforts to protect and restore the diverse natural resources of the Chesapeake Bay.
“Living shorelines are critical to restoring the Chesapeake Bay, and to protecting coastal communities from increased flooding and erosion associated with climate change and sea level rise,” Secretary of Natural and Historic Resources Matthew J. Strickler said. “Virginia is grateful for this funding from NFWF and EPA.”
Installing living shorelines is part of a bigger plan outlined in the Virginia Phase III Watershed Implementation Plan, which is the state’s blueprint for restoring the Chesapeake Bay and achieving the shoreline management goals for the bay by 2025.