Community Engagement

Virginia Sea Grant works to enhance the sustainability and viability of coastal communities through economic and social science research, as well as extension activities. The Virginia Institute of Marine Science Marine Advisory Program conducts economic analyses and supports coastal industries such as marinas, boating, seafood, and tourism. We have also partnered with Old Dominion University and William & Mary Law School on projects that address climate change adaptation.

Virginia Clean Marina Program

There are approximately 1000 marinas and 230,000 boaters in the tidal waters of Virginia that share in the scenic beauty, economic benefits and general use of Virginia’s waterways. This extensive interaction between users and natural resources increases the potential for negative impacts on water quality from nonpoint sources of pollution. Marina operators can prevent and reduce these potential impacts by following a series of best management practices promoted through the Virginia Clean Marina Program.

hampton roads adaptation forum

Virginia Sea Grant, Old Dominion University and the Hampton Roads Planning District Commission plan and host quarterly meetings that bring together local municipal government staff, scientific experts, private-sector engineers, state and federal agency staff, NGOs, and other stakeholders to facilitate regional coordination, information exchange and to share adaptation best practices.

Meeting since late 2012, the forums provide an opportunity for stakeholders to discuss science and policy in an informal setting. The forums have grown into a network of professionals who share lessons learned and other information relevant to adaptation in Hampton Roads communities. Up-to-date research on sea-level rise, flood modeling and adaptation options is made available to those who will be using it to make public policy decisions. The forum allows for researchers and users to present their findings, and answer questions from local government staff.

Using information from the forum, local government staff have made recommendations to update comprehensive plans to incorporate sea-level rise, and floodplain management ordinances to address increased flooding risks, and recent regulatory changes.

Fishery Resource Grant Program

The Virginia Legislature ratified House Bill 1634 in 1999 providing $300,000 to the Virginia Graduate Marine Science Consortium to “protect and enhance the state’s coastal fishery resources through the awarding of grants.”

The Fishery Resource Grant Program is administered by the Virginia Graduate Marine Science Consortium / Virginia Sea Grant College Program with input from an appointed Advisory Board. Each year, the Advisory Board, with input from members of the fishing industry, develops priorities for the following areas:

  • New fisheries equipment and gear
  • Environmental pilot studies
  • Aquaculture/mariculture
  • Seafood technology and utilization


Marina operators can prevent and reduce pollution by following a series of best management practices promoted through theĀ  Virginia Clean Marina Program.

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