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Virginia Naturally

Coastal, Marine, Ocean, and Water Resources

Get the Facts:

The Virginia Department of Environmental Quality posts facts about water in the Commonwealth.

Water Resources from the EPA:

Get the most up to date news from the EPA regarding water related issues.

Meaningful Watershed Educational Experiences:

  • Meaningful Watershed Educational Experience (MWEE) Resources (PowerPoint)
    The Meaningful Watershed Educational Experience (MWEE) initiative has grown into a statewide environmental education movement. Its implementation has resulted in exciting new partnerships within school systems and the community at large. These resources include curricula, partners, project ideas, field study locations and more.
  • Many programs are focused on meaningful watershed educational experiences (MWEEs). Read the Chesapeake Bay Program's definition of a Meaningful Watershed Education Experience (PDF) and the 2014 Chesapeake Bay Agreement.  Power Point presentation (PowerPoint) .

Blue Green Infrastructures:

Blue Green Infrastructure is a broad concept of the ecological and human life support systems that incorporate natural and built landscapes. Aquatic (blue) and terrestrial (green) natural and built resources include the wide and varied networks of waterways, wetlands, woodlands, wildlife habitats and natural areas; as well as greenways, parks, conservation lands, farms, ranches & forests; wilderness and other open spaces that support native species and sustain ecological and human life systems. The web links below can help guide discussion of blue and green infrastructure that could be considered for conservation.

  • Virginia CZM Blue Green Infrastructure
    Blue or green infrastructure comprises those natural features on the land (e.g. forests, wildlife habitat, wetlands, etc.) or in the water (e.g. anadromous fish use areas, oyster reefs, underwater grass beds, etc.) that are critical to maintaining ecosystem and human health and survival.
  • Virginia DCR Blue Green Infrastructure
    The VCLNA models are being developed as part of a collaborative effort between the Department of Conservation and Recreation Division of Natural Heritage (DCR - DNH), the Virginia Coastal Zone Management Program (VA-CZM), the Virginia Land Conservation Foundation, and the Virginia Commonwealth University Center for Environmental Studies to map Green Infrastructure in Virginia. These maps can provide a context of ecological value for Virginia’s landscape.


  • Center for Coastal Resources Management (CCRM)
    The Center for Coastal Resources Management, operated through the Virginia Institute of Marine Science, develops and supports integrated and adaptive management of coastal zone resources. Specifically the CCRM conducts coastal resource research, provides advisory services for shoreline, fisheries, and resource management, as well as outreach education on coastal resource issues.
  • Centers for Ocean Sciences Education Excellence
    COSEE Networked Ocean World (COSEE NOW) is an online network of scientists and educators focused on using emerging Ocean Observing Systems (OOS) technologies and real time data for public education across a broad continuum including community colleges, the K-12 formal education community, and informal learning institutions.
  • Chesapeake Bay Foundation
    Through Chesapeake Classrooms, CBF provides high-quality professional development that meets the evolving needs of teachers and schools. CBF strives to enable teachers to involve their students in outdoor Bay or stream experiences that are aligned with local school system standards. Follow this link to learn about professional development opportunities available through CBF.
  • The Chesapeake Bay Program
    This is a partnership of bay watershed states and the District of Columbia that provides science, policy, and educational information related to the clean-up of the Chesapeake Bay. Educators can find fact sheets, teaching tools, and additional resource partners through this online clearinghouse.
  • National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Ocean Explorer
    Since the Survey of the Coast in 1807 authorized by Thomas Jefferson, NOAA has played a critical role in the evolution of ocean exploration in the United States and the world. This site offers a comprehensive look at NOAA's 200-year history through a series of chronological essays. Also included is a rich selection of historical quotations, arranged thematically, that capture the many advances, challenges, and misunderstandings through the years as both early and modern explorers struggled to study the mysterious ocean realm.
  • Mid-Atlantic Marine Education Association (MAMEA) - is an organization of people whose common goal is to improve education about all aspects of marine and aquatic environments.
  • Nauticus
    Nauticus is an exciting interactive science and technology center in Norfolk that explores the naval, economic, and nautical power of the sea. Home of the Battleship Wisconsin, Nauticus features Battleship Wisconsin-related exhibits, hands-on exhibits, and national-caliber traveling exhibits for the public, school groups, and professional development.
  • Virginia’s Water Resources – This is a special edition magazine that was produced by the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality
  • Virginia Coastal Zone Management Program
    Although only 29 percent of Virginia's land area lies within the coastal zone, more than 60 percent of Virginia's citizens call it home. Virginia's 2010 population was 5,044,179. Access Virginia specific coastal projects through this online resource.
  • Virginia Institute of Marine Science (VIMS)
    VIMS conducts interdisciplinary research in coastal ocean and estuarine science, educates students and citizens, and provides advisory service to policy makers, industry, and the public. Educators can find the latest scientific research, lecture series for professional growth, and teaching resources related to marine science.

Coastal Hazards:

Future storm surge, shoreline erosion, and rising tides will impact coastal communities. Explore what scientists know about potential concerns and what community responses could be to a changing landscape.

  • National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration Coastal Hazards
    As the coastal population continues to increase, there are many competing demands for limited coastal areas and resources. Coasts are facing increasing pressures from pollution, habitat degradation, over-fishing, invasive species, and coastal hazards, including hurricanes and sea-level rise. Explore this NOAA resource to learn facts related to coastal hazards.
  • United States Geological Survey Coastal Change Hazards
    Forecasts of sea level rise and increased hurricane activity suggest that our nation's coastlines are becoming increasingly vulnerable to the powerful forces of the ocean. Along our coasts, rising sea levels expose higher locations not usually subjected to the power of the sea and to the erosive forces of waves and currents. Explore this USGS site to learn more about shoreline and coastal vulnerability as well as potential hurricane and extreme storm impacts.

Marine Debris:

Marine debris impacts quality of life on the shore and on the water for wildlife and people. Preventing debris from entering our waters is a key strategy for addressing this issue, but what can be done about the litter after it gets in the rivers and streams? Explore these resources to learn more about where marine debris comes from and strategies for fixing the problem.

  • National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration Marine Debris
    Marine debris is one of the most widespread pollution problems facing the world's oceans and waterways. Learn more about the issue and arm yourself with the most accurate information!
  • Environmental Protection Agency Marine Debris
    Explore basic information about sources of marine debris, its impacts upon the environment, economy, and human health & safety as well as what current laws and regulations are in place to address this challenge.
  • EPA Marine Debris Prevention Toolkit
    With just a few clicks, you can find a variety of outreach materials, including video and audio public service announcements, print materials, educational tools, and promotional items that were developed by local governments, state agencies, and nonprofits.