The Virginia Coastal Policy Center at William & Mary Law School, the Virginia Institute of Marine Science, and Virginia Sea Grant have each received funding for projects during the latest round of grants from the Virginia Environmental Endowment (VEE), the VEE announced on May 9.
The grants were among VEE awards of $277,500 to 14 organizations.
“As VEE celebrates its 40th anniversary, we are again honored to support partners whose work will make a difference in the quality of life, community health, and natural resource protection across Virginia. A recent Christopher Newport University poll of Virginia voters found that a strong majority say that environmental issues are very important to them personally, and that they want to see progress continued. Many of these grant projects will produce both local and statewide benefits for clean water and conservation of open spaces and natural resources,” said VEE Executive Director Joseph H. Maroon in a May 19 press release announcing the grant awards.
The William & Mary Projects are:
• Support for legal and policy research conducted by the Virginia Coastal Policy Center (VCPC) to assist local communities with resilience planning due to sea level rise, groundwater depletion, and recurrent flooding, and support for VCPC’s annual conference to be held at William & Mary on October 27 titled “Defending Our Coasts: Ensuring Military Readiness and Economic Viability as Waters Rise.” Included in the grant is work with the Southeast Community in Newport News, a socially vulnerable area that is subject to recurrent flooding. ($35,000)
• In partnership with the Virginia Sea Grant Program and Virginia Institute of Marine Science, establish the Commonwealth Coastal and Marine Policy Fellowship program, which will provide one-year opportunities for recent post-graduate students to serve within host state natural resources agencies. The first three Fellows will be placed in the Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ), the Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR), and the Marine Resources Commission (VMRC). ($10,000 per year for two years)
The Virginia Coastal Policy Center has benefited from VEE support since the Center’s founding at William & Mary Law School in 2012, according to Elizabeth Armistead Andrews, the Center’s Director and a Professor of the Practice of Law. “VEE is a key partner in our efforts to provide policy support for coastal localities and state agencies to help them address challenges such as recurrent flooding and Chesapeake Bay restoration,” she said. “VEE’s steadfast support has been crucial to the increasing importance of our annual conference on coastal issues. We appreciate their vision, their leadership and their generosity.”
Commonwealth Coastal and Marine Policy Fellowship Program
“We’re very thankful to VEE for their generous support of this regional program, as are the students and state agencies that will benefit,” said Dr. John Wells, VIMS Dean and Director.
Benefitting from the VEE support in W&M’s School of Marine Science at VIMS are graduate students Sara Blachman and Bruce Pfirrmann. Also selected as an inaugural Commonwealth Coastal and Marine Policy fellow was VCU graduate student Andrew Fick. Fick will serve at DEQ, with Blachman at VMRC and Pfirrmann at DCR. Read the announcement on the VIMS page.
Blachman said she "is thrilled to be joining the Fisheries Management team at VMRC, where I‘ll put the knowledge about Chesapeake Bay and scientific modeling that I learned at VIMS to good use working on blue crab stock assessments and regulations.” She begins her fellowship in July.
Pfirrmann echoed the enthusiasm, and said, “I’m really excited about the opportunity and grateful to have the chance to delve into the policy side of marine affairs with DCR.” He will be working with DCR scientists and staff to quantify how shoreline management practices are being implemented across the Commonwealth, in order to better incorporate this information into the computer models used to help manage Chesapeake Bay. He begins his fellowship in August.
“We were very excited about the quality of the candidate pool, and are confident that this is going to be a great experience for both the Fellows and the hosts,” said Dr. Troy Hartley, Virginia Sea Grant Director.
Hartley initiated the idea of the Commonwealth Coastal and Marine Policy Fellowship program, modeling it after NOAA’s highly successful John A Knauss Marine Policy Fellowship, which matches graduate students from across the nation with "hosts" in the legislative and executive branch of government in Washington, D.C.
VIMS has placed 44 graduate students as Knauss Fellows since the program began in 1979, first in Virginia and tied for fourth in nation among marine science graduate schools.
About William & Mary Law School
Thomas Jefferson founded William & Mary Law School in 1779 to train leaders for the new nation. Now in its third century, America's oldest law school continues its historic mission of educating citizen lawyers who are prepared both to lead and to serve.
About the Virginia Institute of Marine Science
The Virginia Institute of Marine Science (VIMS) is one of the largest marine centers in the United States. VIMS provides research, education, and advisory service to help protect and restore Chesapeake Bay and coastal waters. The Institute offers Master's and Ph.D. degrees through William & Mary’s School of Marine Science.