The Hampton Roads Conservation Corridor Study (HRCCS) was developed under a grant from NOAA via the Virginia Coastal Program. The goal of the study was to identify, prioritize, and potentially link several categories of open lands while taking into account local planning goals. Ideally, implementation of the conservation corridor system will provide multiple benefits to the region, such as habitat protection, stormwater management, wetlands mitigation, and recreation opportunities. The model for identifying areas to include in the corridor was developed in GIS using data layers such as riparian areas, wetlands, and land use. In addition, the model incorporates the recent work done by the Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR), Division of Natural Heritage in the pilot phase of its Virginia Conservation Lands Needs Assessment (VCLNA) Natural Landscape Assessment (NLA). The ecological “cores” identified and prioritized by DCR are one of the main components of the conservation corridor model. Multiple opportunities were provided for stakeholder involvement as the project progressed. These included presentations by state and federal natural resource agencies, discussions at regular HRPDC Joint Environmental Committee meetings, a meeting with natural resource experts, and meetings with planners from Hampton Roads jurisdictions. Draft maps were also sent to local parks and recreation and planning departments for review and comment.
In addition to GIS products, an educational video about the conservation corridor system was developed. The video discusses the concept of green infrastructure and encourages business, industry, and individual landowners to help in establishing and maintaining these corridors in their communities. The video was provided to local governments for use on cable access stations. Downloads:
The Final Project Report and Appendices files together make up the entire HRCCS report. This report describes the analytical process used to define the corridors as well as the stakeholder involvement process. There is also a section describing the educational materials that were developed.
The final project map shows the Suitability for Conservation data and the Opportunities for Connectivity data as developed through the HRCCS. Note that this map is intended as a tool to aid in the regional planning process and does not necessarily reflect the actual future land use plans of individual Hampton Roads localities. This map should be interpreted at a regional level only. The second map depicts the same information as the first, with the addition of the locations of currently protected lands in Hampton Roads.
Final map (Figure 7 in report) (PDF – 2.12 mb)
Final map with protected lands (Figure 8 in report) (PDF – 2.39)
The GIS data is available for download in a ZIP file. The ZIP file also contains the metadata in an .html format and an ArcMap layer file.