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  • Writer's pictureChris

Member Updates – Spring 23

Updated: Feb 29


– Check your email for dates & RSVP links –

Imagine a warm spring Saturday afternoon following a long work week where fun and food are well deserved.

For this event, members will be catered around an open table with family style plates, where oysters collide with comfort breakfast food.

Mixed Use & User Conflicts:

For similar reasons someone might choose to live next to a National Forest (better views, more privacy, no chance of development, accessible recreation) people also buy property on the water. The vision of one’s backyard transforms from their personal landscape and a privacy fence to an open view, expanses of natural space, and a personal paradise.

It is therefore understandable when the unexpected threatens one’s paradise: there is extreme resistance. Imagine your private forest being clear cut by a timber company! Just as the Forest Service grants rights to the timber industry to harvest forest products under the premise of their assigned stewardship of a natural resource, the Virginia Marine Resources Commission (VMRC) is charged with the stewardship of marine resources for the ecological and commercial benefit of Virginia.

This is the reality of living next to public lands and it is a reality that homeowners sometimes learn the hard way: A notice in the mail or execution of a project in their view shed with zero warning.

While notifications are in place, the system does little to help people cut through rhetoric, proactively clear up misunderstandings or address fears of legitimate forms of mixed use that have safely coexisted for years.

The homeowner position is often summed up as: “not in my backyard” but is this really the case when the backyard is owned by all of Virginia and her residents’? Living next to public lands is a privilege that comes with the potential of sharing public resources. Maybe the best first step in reconciling opposing views over mixed use starts with this understanding.

Did you know?

Waterfront property owners in Virginia, if they meet certain criteria, can obtain a “riparian right” which grants them access to all shellfish on the bottom & the option to use the general-use permit to practice aquaculture. However, because most residential waters are condemned to shellfish harvesting, most apply for the rights to buffer their real-property line from direct contact with oyster ground lessees.

"?Where you aware of "riparian rights

  • YES

  • NO

Unfortunately, Virginia homeowners along the southern coast of the Potomac River are out of luck. Here, the state of Maryland’s boarder includes the entire Potomac water-body. This means that Virginia residents, while they might have a water view, they have low-to-zero representation as to how it might be used or managed. 


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