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Virginia Environmental Endowment funds William & Mary projects

The Virginia Coastal Policy Center at William & Mary Law School and William & Mary’s Virginia Institute of Marine Science have each received funding for projects during the latest round of grants from the Virginia Environmental Endowment (VEE).

The grants were among VEE awards of more than $250,000 to 13 organizations.

“As we look toward the Endowment’s 40th Anniversary in 2017, we are encouraged by our partnerships with organizations making significant improvements in water quality and the health of Chesapeake Bay, the conservation of sensitive landscapes, and the education of the Commonwealth’s citizens and decision-makers regarding several of Virginia’s pressing environmental issues,” said VEE Executive Director Joseph H. Maroon in a May 16 press release announcing the funding.

The William & Mary projects are:

  • Support for the Virginia Coastal Policy Center’s annual climate change conference and its “Targeting Assistance to Virginia Coastal Communities in Responding to Climate Change Challenges” Project ($30,000)
  • Support for determination of the status of Kepone pesticide levels in the James River. No data has been collected since 2009 due to state budget cuts. Settlement of the Kepone case in 1977 led to the creation of VEE ($21,436).

The Virginia Coastal Policy Center has benefited from VEE support since the center’s founding in 2012, according to Elizabeth Andrews, the center’s director.

“We are excited that VEE has chosen to fund our efforts to address climate change challenges faced by local communities, and we are pleased to have the opportunity to continue working in partnership with VEE,” she said.

Mike Unger, associate professor of marine science, heads the James River Kepone project and is a principal investigator in the Environmental Chemistry Research Program at VIMS.

“We greatly appreciate the VEE funding,” said Unger. “Kepone concentrations in fish from the James River have declined over the years, but we still saw detectable levels during our last field season in 2009. The VEE funds will allow us to see if the downward trend is continuing and to assure the public that fish from the James River have low concentrations of this contaminant.”