The primary mission of PlanESVA – the Planning Department within the A-NPDC – is to respond to local government requests for assistance in planning for and managing growth in the region. This includes bringing emerging issues of regional importance to the attention of local government, helping to implement regional plans and administer regional programs, and providing technical assistance with specific planning activities as requested by localities. Technical assistance often includes administering federally funded grants and the associated reporting and compliance requirements: including performing environmental review and historic resources due diligence, providing for public engagement as required by the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), and complying with civil rights provisions as set forth in Title VI of the Civil Rights Act. Technical assistance also includes developing budgets and managing project construction or implementation.
Every one of the 23 Planning District Commissions in the Commonwealth is a unique expression of its region. For the Eastern Shore of Virginia, the A-NPDC has been tasked with providing structure to regional coastal resilience goals. Because the Eastern Shore of Virginia lies between the Chesapeake Bay and the Atlantic Ocean, all of our projects include environmental conservation initiatives. We staff several regional standing committees whose purpose is to protect the Eastern Shore’s fragile ecosystem. For example, the Ground Water Committee manages the Shore’s EPA-designated sole source aquifer. Our ground water system is the only source of drinking water for the Eastern Shore of Virginia. Our ground water is not limitless. Without appropriate management, this critical resource could be permanently damaged. Water quality in our surficial aquifer is threatened by the many land uses that discharge, leach or dispose of contaminants to the ground water. And availability of water from the deep aquifer is limited and therefore less sustainable.
Another standing committee A-NPDC staffs is the Navigable Waterways Committee. The Eastern Shore of Virginia, both bayside and seaside, is one big working waterfront. The Eastern Shore of Virginia, for example, is the largest clam producer in the US, with oyster production not far behind. Sediment continuously washes into navigable channels requiring these working channels to be dredged. The flip side is that the Shore and its barrier islands serve as an erosion control mechanism against the constant threat of sea level rise to our working waterfront. Ideally, the dredged material from the commercial channels could be applied to provide storm protection and even restore existing shorelines, thus enhancing tidal ecosystems that support commercial waterfront activity. The beneficial use of dredged material is an expensive activity, so the Committee must rely on federal and state funding that A-NPDC applies for annually.
Additionally, the A-NPDC staffs the Economic Development Committee and is responsible for producing and keeping up-to-date a regional Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy. Traditionally, our rural area has been devoted to agriculture. We are a national leader in poultry production and crop production, including tomatoes, soybeans, corn, and wheat. At the northern end of the Atlantic is the Wallops Flight Facility, a NASA space launch base. The aerospace sector is responsible for the region’s current growth trend in 21stcentury workforce numbers.
Check out our current Committee meetings, projects, and initiatives by clicking on the icons of our PlanESVA landing page.