Nathan Burchard


During its 2019 session, the Virginia General Assembly passed numerous pieces of legislation related to the private leasing grounds program. In addition to increasing lease application and transfer fees and requiring that VMRC establish a fee structure for lease renewals, the new legislation also expanded the factors for VMRC to consider when approving, renewing, or transferring a lease. In spring 2019, VMRC formed the Aquaculture Management Advisory Committee (AMAC), which will provide ongoing management advisory assistance to VMRC staff and continue to address shellfish management issues addressed by the SNR Work Group. AMAC is comprised of industry, nonprofit, and academic representatives from throughout Virginia’s coastal region and chaired by Ellen Bolen, VMRC’s Deputy Commissioner. Current efforts of AMAC include lease renewal fee setting and determining an appropriate interpretation of beneficial use that will adequately reflect the goals of current legislation and the various parties involved.

This paper will focus on the private leasing grounds program to summarize the existing framework for use plans and beneficial use criteria in Virginia, provide examples of how other states utilize use plans and use criteria, and briefly touch on additional considerations such as fee structures and lease terms. For each of these items, this paper will identify potential changes that could be made to Virginia’s program in order to increase shellfish production.

This abstract has been taken from the author's introduction.

Document Type

Resilient Coastal Economies and Aquaculture

Publication Date

Summer 2019