The City of Virginia Beach was awarded $6,000,000 from VRA's Clean Water Revolving Loan Fund to purchase 84 acres for a land conservation project. This purchase is part of the City's Lynnhaven Oyster Restoration and Estuary Protection project to safeguard a mix of maritime forests, beaches, wetlands, open water areas, and shallow water habitats. This land conservation project is expected to cost about $13 million, with $5,000,000 of that coming from the City of Virginia Beach.
Owning this additional land is important to the City because it will help improve storm water run-off, stabilize shorelines, preserve and restore wetlands and maritime forests, allow for the construction of oyster reefs in order to improve the water quality of the Lynnhaven River, and provide open space and water access for the public. The long-term focus of the project will be placed on the restoration of the Lynnhaven River's water quality and its oyster population. The river is currently listed as impaired for violating multiple water quality standards under the Clean Water Act.
The Lynnhaven River's watershed covers 64 square miles and was once famous along the East Coast for its oysters. The oyster population has significantly declined in recent years due to pollution and runoff. With this funding, the City of Virginia Beach hopes to restore a healthy, thriving oyster population to the Lynnhaven River and protect it from future harm.