“We’re trying to encourage folks that are just getting out of graduate school that are in resource management programs to identify state and federal resource management jobs as potential career tracks because we feel like we need newer, younger folks to get into this field.”

– Tony Watkinson
Habitat Management Division Chief, VMRC

2021 Commonwealth Coastal & Marine Policy Fellowship



Receive on-the-job training and hone your professional skills while improving the stewardship of the Commonwealth’s coastal and marine resources. This fellowship develops and supports exceptional post-graduates by partnering them with a state government or non-governmental organization host office mentor. The program also aims to increase the capacity of the host offices by supporting fellows who are working on mission-relevant programs, and leveraging the knowledge and capacity of Virginia’s academic institutions.

Past-participating offices include:

  • Office of the Secretary of Natural Resources 
  • Virginia Department of Environmental Quality
  • Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation
  • Virginia Marine Resource Commission
  • Hampton Roads Planning District Commission
  • The Nature Conservancy’s Virginia Coast Reserve

Past projects and assignments include:

  • Total maximum daily load and water pollution
  • Shoreline erosion
  • Coastal community resilience 
  • Coordinating environmental document reviews and comments
  •  Implementation of electronic permitting
  • Blue crab fisheries management

VASG is committed to building inclusive research, extension, communication, and education programs that serve people from diverse backgrounds, circumstances, needs, perspectives, and ways of thinking. Diversity includes, but is not limited to, age, disability and/or health status, ethnicity, gender identity, geographic origin, nationality, race, religion, sexual orientation, socio-economic status, and/or veteran status. 

VASG does not tolerate any form of misconduct, discrimination or harassment, including sexual harassment, or sexual misconduct (e.g. sexual assault within its organization, at awardee organizations, field sites, meetings, or anywhere VASG-funded research, outreach and education are conducted).


Each office listed below has expressed interest in hosting a fellow during the 2021 fellowship year. Additional host offices and projects may be added before the fellowship application deadline. Click below to download a PDF of the full office and project descriptions.


Department of Conservation and Recreation

Project: Verification of Shoreline Management BMPs for Chesapeake Bay TMDL Pollutant Reduction Credits


Department of Environmental Quality

Project: Watersheds & Local Government Assistance Program Technical Methods and Policy Improvement for Specific Water Quality Impairments: Dissolved Oxygen and pH


Department of Wildlife Resources

Project: Climate Change Preparedness and Planning


Office of the Secretary of Natural Resources

Project: Commonwealth of Virginia Coastal Master Plan Initiative


The Nature Conservancy

Project: Advancing Responsible Offshore Wind Development in Virginia

Real experience, real professional growth opportunities

Commonwealth Fellows work alongside mentors in their host office to address pressing coastal and marine resource issues, while learning about the policy and management process occurring at the state level. This experience and knowledge have positioned past fellows to be highly competitive for opportunities at the conclusion of the fellowship year. The majority of our alumni have accepted full-time positions at Virginia agencies.

The Nature Conservancy

Office of the Secretary of Natural Resources

Virginia Marine Resources Commission

Virginia Department of Conservation & Recreation


Virginia Sea Grant and the Virginia Environmental Endowment anticipate supporting three post-graduate fellows for the 2021 Commonwealth Coastal & Marine Policy Fellowship.

Length: 12-month, nonrenewable fellowship assignment

Start Date: October 1, 2021

Funding: $35,000 stipend, $5,000 for critical expenses and professional development activities

vasg@vaseagrant.org    804-684-7339

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