Virginia Coastal Policy Center


Virginia’s ocean waters feature vast natural resources, and are used by its residents, visitors, and the military for recreation, commerce, and national security. New and intensified uses, such as offshore energy production, aquaculture, and increased shipping could impact Virginia’s ocean resources. To ensure the continued protection of these resources, while allowing them to be used sustainably, the Commonwealth is developing its first ocean management plan. Because several state agencies currently manage Virginia’s territorial sea waters, a coordinated and proactive approach is needed to effectively develop this plan. Developing a Virginia Ocean Plan can help protect the Commonwealth’s ocean resources and facilitate coordination among federal, state, and local bodies as pressures increase.

Virginia can learn from the states that have already developed state ocean plans, as well as from regional ocean planning efforts. The plan can be implemented through enforceable state-level lawmaking, gubernatorial executive orders, memoranda of understanding (MOUs) between state and federal agencies, or formal adoption of its policies and guidelines by relevant state agencies. Additionally, Virginia can build upon the progress it has made regionally as a member of the Mid-Atlantic Regional Council on the Ocean (MARCO) to coordinate with neighboring states and stakeholders to successfully meet the goals of its ocean plan. This white paper analyzes several states’ ocean plans to provide lessons learned and other helpful guidance to Virginia’s ocean planning process. It then recommends potential options and topics to implement the successful practices and avoid negative experiences of other states.

This abstract has been taken from the authors' introduction.

Document Type

Offshore Uses and Ocean Planning

Publication Date

Fall 2021