The VIMS Wetlands Program is composed of faculty and staff of the Department
of Resource Management and Policy. Responsibilities of the Wetlands Program
include advisory activities for projects which impact marine, estuarine,
and wetland (both tidal and nontidal) resources, graduate and outreach
education, and basic and applied research. Through our tidal wetland advisory
efforts data on the impacts to tidal wetlands are collected on a project-by-project
Onsite data collection entails enumerating proposed impacts (in square
feet) for each tidal wetlands community type by activity category (e.g.
bulkhead, riprap, commercial structure). Global Positioning System (GPS)
location and digital images of the project site are also collected.
Impacts to tidal wetlands are classified by date, locality,
immediate water body, primary waterway, watershed,
and extent of proposed activity, and wetland community type. These data
are entered into a computer database and a report is generated which summarizes
proposed tidal wetland impacts by location and community type, and includes
advisory comments about the project. These project-specific reports are
distributed to the applicant/agent and various local, state and federal
agencies which play an advisory or decision-making role. These agencies
may include, but are not limited to, the local Wetlands Board, the Virginia
Marine Resources Commission, the Virginia
Department of Environmental Quality, the United
States Army Corps of Engineers, the Environmental
Protection Agency, the United States Fish
and Wildlife Service, and the National
Marine Fisheries Service.
Through the decision-making process, a project may be permitted as proposed,
altered, modified, or denied. Any changes to a project through the permit
process may change the impacts the project would have on tidal wetlands.
If changes occur, they are reported by the decision-making body (i.e. the
local Wetlands Board, the Virginia Marine Resources Commission, the Virginia
Department of Environmental Quality, or the United States Army Corps of
Engineers). The database is subsequently updated. Therefore, through the
database we are able to distinguish between proposed and permitted impacts
to tidal wetlands (from 1993 to the present).
The date of final decision is used to delineate a "data year." For example,
data for 1995 includes all impacts associated
with projects that received final decisions from all state permitting agencies
in 1995, regardless of when the project was first proposed. It is common
for projects, especially large projects such as marinas, to undergo multiple-year
reviews and modifications prior to final decisions being rendered by the
The data years 1988-1992 and 1993-present are different in structure.
Modifications to the database occurred in 1993 which increased the detail
in data summarization capabilities. Prior to 1993, impacts to separate
wetland community types could not be extracted from the database by activity
category. Therefore, the query designs for these categories of data years
are not identical and reflect the level of detail inherent in each data
If the data presented through this web site is not to the level of desired detail, users may request specific data summaries through the "Request further information" link on the Tidal Wetlands Impacts Data Home Page. Data requests are honored in order of receipt and on an as-time-allows basis ONLY. We cannot guarantee that requests will be filled in requested time periods. Furthermore, requests which are not specific, or requests for extensive amounts of summarized data will not be honored.