The Virginia Coastal Zone Management (CZM) Program has been awarded more than $2M to advance marine restoration efforts that provide critical habitat for wildlife along the Eastern Shore. These funds, awarded by the National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration, will enable Virginia CZM and its grantee, the Virginia Institute of Marine Science (VIMS), to plant 60 acres of eelgrass and release more than 6 million bay scallops.
Virginia CZM is a network of state agencies and coastal localities, led by the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ), that administers the Commonwealth’s coastal laws and policies.
Disease and a hurricane eliminated once bountiful eelgrass and bay scallops from the area in the early 1930s. However, they returned in 2002, when restoration began under Virginia CZM’s Seaside Heritage Program and VIMS.
The funds provide DEQ and its network of partners the “opportunity to enhance our environment and improve its resiliency to future challenges,” said DEQ Director Michael Rolband, who also serves as Vice Chair of the ECOS Water Committee. “Seagrass and bay scallop restoration not only provide habitat, but also improve water quality, and seagrass helps reduce shoreline erosion as well.”