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In Action

Habitat Creation

Wetlands Mitigation

One of many completed and future wetlands mitigation sites in the Elizabeth River watershed is Paradise Creek Wetlands creation/restoration now known as Paradise Creek Nature Park. In 2011, The Port of Virginia partnered with the Elizabeth River Project to restore 11 acres of previously filled wetlands. This project not only created habitat but also aids in restoring the natural capacity for flood protection as well as providing a natural filter for stormwater runoff.

The site is also home to new nature trails and a kayak launch and is managed by the City of Portsmouth.

One of many completed and future wetlands mitigation sites in the Elizabeth River watershed is Paradise Creek Wetlands creation/restoration now known as Paradise Creek Nature Park. In 2011, The Port of Virginia partnered with the Elizabeth River Project to restore 11 acres of previously filled wetlands. This project not only created habitat but also aids in restoring the natural capacity for flood protection as well as providing a natural filter for stormwater runoff. The site is also home to new nature trails and a kayak launch and is managed by the City of Portsmouth.

To learn more visit www.elizabethriver.org/paradise-creek-restoration

Oyster Reef Mitigation in the Elizabeth River

One phase of mitigation tied to The Craney Island Eastern Expansion (CIEE) mitigation plan consists of oyster restoration and The Port of Virginia in cooperation with Virginia Department of Environmental Quality (VDEQ) and the United States Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) has begun construction of a network of oyster reefs throughout the Elizabeth River in partial compensation for ecological services lost due to the construction of the CIEE and associated Virginia Port Authority (VPA) port facility.

During the regulatory process, as part of the permitting conditions, the VDEQ requested annual monitoring of the newly created oyster reefs for five years.  To that end, The Port of Virginia and USACE have partnered with Christopher Newport University (CNU) to monitor seven oyster reefs which have been established in the following locations:

  • Elizabeth River-Lafayette River (2 areas)
  • Elizabeth River Western Branch-Baines Creek
  • Elizabeth River Southern Branch-Gilligan Creek (2 areas)
  • Elizabeth River Southern Branch-St. Julians/Blows Creek
  • Lower James River-Hoffler Creek

In compliance with permit requirements, CNU has been monitoring and recording data associated with the newly created oyster reefs to assess the success as mitigation.  Monitoring objectives included assessing trend and biomass distribution on the restored habitat at each of the project sites.  All work was performed in accordance with applicable Local, State, and Federal Regulations. The monitoring program was designed to address the following:

  1. Support adaptive management decisions by providing data on critical stages in the development of the reefs that can guide any potential next steps. This monitoring will answer crucial questions that affect future management decisions.
  2. Evaluate intermediate conditions that help to track progress toward the final goals.
  3. Aid in identifying unexpected stresses, environmental conditions, and/or ecological interactions that can affect the overall success of the proje

The Port is continuing to work with our partners to monitor the reefs as well as use the collected data to guide decision making for future mitigation projects.

IMO 2020

On January 1, 2020, the International Maritime Organization (IMO) will impose more stringent vessel emission standards globally. This will significantly reduce the amount of sulphur oxides emanating from ships and should have increased health and environmental benefits globally, particularly for populations living close to ports and coasts. Click here for more information.

There are three major compliance options for ship operators:

  • Burn ultra-low sulfur diesel fuel
  • Install exhaust gas cleaning systems (i.e. scrubbers) and continue to burn marine fuel oil
  • Use an alternative fuel source (with liquefied natural gas currently the only viable option)
SEA\LNG

In 2019, the Virginia Port Authority became the first port in the United States to join SEA/LNG, a multi-sector industry coalition created to accelerate the widespread adoption of liquefied natural gas (LNG) as a marine fuel. The SEA/LNG coalition unites key players from across the LNG marine value chain to address the barriers to the adoption of LNG; advocating for collaboration, demonstration, and communication on key areas such as regulations, emissions, infrastructure, and the economic case, to provide the confidence and demand required for an effective and efficient global LNG value chain for 2020 and beyond.  Click here for more on SEA/LNG.

We are honored and committed to supporting the availability of IMO 2020 compliant fuels for ships calling on our port. Additionally, we have partnered with the Virginia Maritime Association (VMA) to bring together regional stakeholders and industry experts to assess the business case for LNG bunkering in Virginia.  Click here for more information on LNG or to join VMA’s directory of companies and services interested in participating in the LNG bunkering supply chain.

Resiliency

Hampton Roads is one of the most susceptible regions in the United States to sea level rise. The nature of our business requires mindful attention and stewardship efforts to ensure the safety of our colleagues, the cargo we handle, and the communities in which we operate. In addition to accounting for sea level rise, our resiliency efforts span all types of potential disruptions- ranging from weather events to cyber-attacks to electrical power interruptions. The port has approached this challenge along several lines of effort understanding of our vulnerabilities to specific hazards. Through comprehensive assessments, modeling and analysis, we have identified critical infrastructure that may be exposed to hazards associated with flooding or extreme weather events. This knowledge allows us to invest wisely in infrastructure, equipment acquisition and maintenance activities to ensure we’re moving forward with an eye on the future.

Active engagement in the resiliency planning efforts of our neighboring communities and port partners is a critical component of maintaining safe port operations. Port colleagues have participated in numerous efforts locally, including the Hampton Roads Sea Level Rise and Resilience Intergovernmental Planning Pilot Project, the City of Norfolk’s Coastal Storm Risk Management Study, federally-funded Joint Land Use Studies, and US Department of Transportation’s development of a tool to quantify the impact of disruptions on the region’s transportation infrastructure. We are committed to a “whole of community” approach to developing solutions.

In addition to the studies, we appreciate our strong working relationships with regional partners through industry leading training programs like our Marine Fire Fighting School and our Search and Rescue Forum. Additionally, the port ensures that colleagues understand their responsibilities when normal operations are disrupted with our robust internal exercise program.

Green Operator Program

Click on these links for Green Operator Updates and Frequently Asked Questions

Recognizing the need to modernize the drayage truck fleet and reduce the fuel and maintenance costs incurred by truck owners, The Port of Virginia created the Green Operator Program to incentivize truck owners to replace early model trucks with newer trucks equipped with clean-diesel technology.

The Port of Virginia Green Operator Program was the first voluntary truck replacement program ever developed by a U.S. port. To date,  Green Operator remains the most successful clean-truck program in the country, replacing or retrofitting over 400 trucks and reducing NOx,CO, VOC, SO2, and PM emissions from dray trucks servicing the Port by as much as 25%.

As of October 1, 2017, truck owners may apply to receive up to $30K for the purchase of a 2010 or newer truck.

To learn more about The Port of Virginia Green Operator Program, please visit the program’s dedicated website.