Explore Our Seaside Partners

The seaside of Virginia’s Eastern Shore is almost entirely owned and managed by non-profit, state and federal agencies. These partners share the common goal of protecting natural resources, while balancing sustainable recreational and economic use of the seaside.

The Nature Conservancy
US Fish and Wildlife Service
National Park Service
Virginia Department of Wildlife Resources
Virginia Coastal Zone Management Program
Virginia Department of Conservation & Recreation
Virginia Marine Resources Commission
NASA
NOAA
Accomack Northampton
The Nature Conservancy

The Nature Conservancy Virginia Coast Reserve

The Nature Conservancy is a global conservation organization dedicated to conserving the lands and waters on which all life depends. Guided by science, the Conservancy creates innovative, on-the-ground solutions to our world’s toughest challenges so that nature and people can thrive together.

The Virginia Coast Reserve (VCR) is a landscape program within the Virginia Chapter of the Conservancy that is headquartered in Nassawadox, Virginia on the Eastern Shore. VCR is made up of 14 barrier and marsh islands, extensive salt marshes and several mainland properties including the Brownsville Preserve. Programs at VCR address conservation topics on the Eastern Shore such as migratory bird conservation, marine habitat restoration, coastal resilience, land protection and outreach and education. VCR works collaboratively with federal and state partners to manage The Nature Conservancy’s properties, including the barrier islands and Brownsville Preserve, to ensure the protection of sensitive natural resources while also accommodating for low-impact visitor use.

Virginia Department of Conservation & Recreation

Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation

The Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR) conserves Virginia's natural and recreational resources. DCR's Division of Natural Heritage (Virginia Natural Heritage Program) manages the Virginia Natural Area Preserve System, established to protect Virginia's rare species and ecologically significant natural communities. The Natural Heritage Program's work focuses on science-based conservation to protect Virginia's native plant and animal life and the ecosystems upon which it depends. Scientists collect data on natural communities and rare plants and animals, develop land conservation data and online mapping tools, and provide up-to-date information to enable timely conservation decisions. Virginia's Natural Area Preserve System provides long-term protection and outdoor recreation access to some of the state and the planet's most ecologically important lands. Our and our partners’ work focuses on ensuring the conservation of Virginia’s common, rare and endangered species and ecosystems. As a member of NatureServe, DCR's Natural Heritage Program contributes to an understanding and conservation of global biodiversity.

Virginia Department of Wildlife Resources

Virginia Department of Wildlife Resources

The Virginia Department of Wildlife Resources (DWR) is responsible for the management of inland fisheries, wildlife, and recreational boating for the Commonwealth of Virginia. Its mission is to lead in wildlife conservation and inspire people to value the outdoors and their role in nature. The VMRC and DWR works in partnership with The Nature Conservancy Virginia Coast Reserve and other state and federal partners to manage Virginia’s barrier islands and seaside marshes.

Virginia Marine Resources Commission

Virginia Marine Resources Commission

The Virginia Marine Resources Commission (VMRC) serves as the steward of the Commonwealth’s marine and aquatic resources, and protectors of its tidal waters and homelands. It manages recreational and commercial saltwater fishing and works to create and maintain sustainable coastal fisheries. VMRC also manages a significant portion of the state’s tidal marshes and water bottoms to ensure the long term protection and productivity of these sensitive habitats.

Virginia Coastal Zone Management Program

Virginia Coastal Zone Management Program

The Virginia Coastal Zone Management Program is a network of state agencies and coastal localities that implement state coastal protection laws. It works to protect, restore and strengthen Virginia's coastal ecosystems and economy. The Virginia Department of Environmental Quality serves as its lead agency. The program is funded by NOAA's Office for Coastal Management under the federal Coastal Zone Management Act. Since 1986 the Virginia CZM Program has worked with local partners and funded scores of projects on Virginia's Eastern Shore including eelgrass, oyster, bay scallop and songbird habitat restoration; acquisition of critical coastal habitat for migratory birds; construction of ecotourism infrastructure; and development of special area management plans.

Accomack Northampton

Accomack-Northampton Planning District Commission

The mission of the Accomack-Northampton Planning District Commission (A-NPDC) is to respond to local government requests for assistance in planning and for managing growth in the region. This includes, but is not limited to, facilitation of affordable housing development, protection and wise use of natural resources, growth and development of the region, and providing technical assistance. The A-NPDC is focused on enhancing climate change resiliency and adaptability through promoting ecotourism, implementing stormwater management regulations, conservation plans, transportation plans, economic development plans, and the Eastern Shore of Virginia Hazard Mitigation Plan.

NOAA

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

The Office for Coastal Management at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) partners with Virginia and other coastal states and territories to take a comprehensive approach to coastal resource management, including: protecting natural resources; managing development in high hazard areas; giving development priority to coastal-dependent uses; providing public access for recreation; prioritizing water-dependent uses; improving water quality and reducing marine debris; and coordinating state and federal actions. Authorized under the federal Coastal Zone Management Act (CZMA) of 1972, the national program also provides annual funding to the states to support these activities.

Since the Virginia CZM Program was approved in 1986, NOAA has partnered with Virginia to implement a program that best addresses local challenges and works within state and local laws and regulations. NOAA's annual funding to Virginia has greatly benefited Virginia's Eastern Shore, enabling increased public access, habitat restoration and preservation on land and in the water, sustainable economic development and increased ecotourism opportunities.

NASA

National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA)

NASA is a U.S. government agency that is responsible for science and technology related to air and space. The Wallops Flight Facility supports NASA efforts through its suborbital and special orbital programs and Earth science studies. Using sounding rockets, scientific balloons, aircraft and small spacecraft scientists explore space and our home planet from locations around the world. It operates a test range that includes tracking facilities, a research airport and a rocket launch range. NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility resides over 6,000 acres including its Main Base along Rt. 175 and Wallops Island. It hosts government and commercial organization operations including the U.S. Navy, U.S. Coast Guard, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Agency and the Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport.

National Park Service

National Park Service

The National Park Service preserves unimpaired the natural and cultural resources and values of the National Park System for the enjoyment, education, and inspiration of this and future generations. The Park Service cooperates with partners to extend the benefits of natural and cultural resource conservation and outdoor recreation throughout this country and the world.

Assateague Island National Seashore is one of the largest and last surviving Mid-Atlantic barrier islands possessing a continuum of intact coastal habitats where the full range of natural processes occur with little or no human interference. Amidst the highly developed Mid-Atlantic region, the National Seashore’s coastal resources provide unique opportunities for nature-based recreation, education, solitude, and inspiration.

U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service

Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge Complex, including Chincoteague, Eastern Shore of Virginia and Fisherman Island National Wildlife Refuges, is just one of more than 560 in the National Wildlife Refuge System, administered by the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service. The National Wildlife Refuge System is a network of lands and waters encompassing 150 million acres. These special places are managed specifically for the protection of wildlife and wildlife habitat. The Refuge System represents the most comprehensive wildlife resource management program in the world. Units of the system stretch across the United States, from northern Alaska to the Florida Keys. It also includes small islands in the Caribbean and South Pacific, as well as Marine National Monuments such as the Mariana Trench. The character of the refuges is as diverse as the nation itself and these protected lands provide habitat for more than 700 species of birds, 220 species of mammals, 250 reptile and amphibian species and more than 1,000 species of fish. More than 380 threatened or endangered plants or animals are protected on National Wildlife Refuges.