Shoreline Conservation and the Northeastern Beach Tiger Beetle
Northeast Region


November 19, 2012
- VMRC approves permit for project.
Gloucester/Mathews Gazette Journal November 28, 2012
December 5, 2012

September 5, 2012 - Mathews County Wetlands Board approves permit for Bavon Beach project. Awaiting VMRC approval.

July 2012 - Newly formed Chesapeake Shores HOA is awarded ownership of beach fronting their section of shoreline.

November 30, 2011 - Joint Permit Application submitted for Bavon Beach project.

July 28, 2011 - Bavon beach homeowners met with VHB engineers to view and discuss plan for proposed breakwaters.

Meeting Held by VHB July 28, 2011

Hear how the Service, landowners and other partners will save Bavon Beach and its special resident, the northeastern beach tiger beetle.
Watch more videos.

Some of the key partners:

US Fish and Wildlife Service logo Mathews County, Virginia logo

The Nature Conservancy logo

US Army Corps of Engineers logo

Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation logo

Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services logo

Virginia Institute of Marine Science logo

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administratration logo



Conserving Virginia's Coast

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service embarked in 2010 on efforts with a community and many other partners to conserve shoreline habitat for the threatened northeastern beach tiger beetle and to help residents protect private property and maintain their vibrant coastal community in Mathews County, VA.

Aerial view of Bavon Beach

The Problem
The shoreline at Bavon Beach has the ebb and flow of the changing tide. As waves move sand both north and south depending on the season, vacationers and year-round residents continue losing the buffer between their homes and the rising Chesapeake Bay.

But those aren't the only homes at stake. Nearly all 1,023 meters of Bavon Beach shoreline support the federally threatened northeastern beach tiger beetle (Cicindela dorsalis dorsalis) and other beach-dwelling wildlife. While the tiger beetle historically was found from New England to Virginia, it is now only found in Massachusetts, Maryland and Virginia.

The Solution
The Service's Virginia Field Office is working with Bavon Beach property owners and other partners to develop and fund the construction of a breakwater system with beach and dune replenishment and restoration.

The system would help guard the shoreline against hurricanes and other storms. It would also restore a functioning beach community, increase habitat for the tiger beetle and other wildlife, and ensure that the site will continue to support the beetle while helping property owners reduce property loss risk. Offshore breakwaters on the Eastern Shore have supported growing tiger beetle populations and submerged aquatic vegetation growth and acted as homes for oysters, young fish, and other wildlife.

The Partners
The partnership for this project continues to grow and includes federal, state and local agencies, corporations, landowners, conservation groups, corporate partners, and others.

• The Bavon Beach Homeowners Association,
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Virginia Field Office,
Mathews County,
The Nature Conservancy,
U.S. Army Corps of Engineers,
Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation,
Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services,
Virginia Institute of Marine Science,
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Fisheries,
• and several interested corporate partners.

Supplies and funding continue to be secured for this project. The Service's Northeast Law Enforcement program and the Virginia Ecological Services Field Office have committed substantial funding and support to this project. Portions of these funds have gone to a contract with VHB, Inc., to conduct land surveys, bathymetric surveys, and to produce a draft set of plans for the project design.

The Future
The Mathews County government is interested in pursuing conservation measures on a county-wide basis for the tiger beetle and other beach-dependent species. Similar partnerships in other portions of the Chesapeake Bay have the potential to significantly improve fish and wildlife habitat while providing for the needs and values of local communities.

This approach embodies several of the objectives of the Strategy for Protecting and Restoring the Chesapeake Bay Watershed, resulting from the Chesapeake Bay Executive Order, including recovering habitat, sustaining fish and wildlife habitat, conserving land, and expanding citizen stewardship. The Service hopes that this project and partnership will serve as a model and be repeated throughout other areas of the remaining Chesapeake Bay beaches.

Bavon Beach in History

The area is home to the third oldest lighthouse on the Chesapeake Bay and was a U.S. Army anti-aircraft training camp during WWII.

Get to know Bavon Beach through pictures of its coast, wildlife and people.
See full-size photos and captions.

Losing Habitat to Climate Change: The Northeastern Beach Tiger Beetle

The federally listed threatened northeastern beach tiger beetle depends significantly on the remaining beaches of the Chesapeake Bay for recovery. It historically lived on sandy beaches from Massachusetts to Virginia, but the majority of remaining occupied habitat is found in the Bay.

Restoring the Chesapeake Bay:
Contamination, Wetlands and Shorelines

Local, state and federal environmental agencies have focused on the Chesapeake Bay, the largest estuary in the U.S., for some time.

Related Links:

Northeastern beach tiger beetle

Chesapeake Shores HOA

Chesapeake Bay Program

Chesapeake Bay Foundation

Chesapeake Bay Executive Order

TNC, New Point Comfort Virginia guidebook for Natural Area Preserves (Page 5) (PDF - 2.45MB)

Last updated: March 19, 2013