Our Story

Protecting and Restoring Virginia Beach Waterways



Every community in Virginia should have pure water, clean air and access to open spaces for recreation.  It is in our state constitution.  Article XI states: To the end that the people have clean air, pure water, and the use and enjoyment for recreation of adequate public lands, waters, and other natural resources, it shall be the policy of the Commonwealth to conserve, develop, and utilize its natural resources, its public lands, and its historical sites and buildings. Further, it shall be the Commonwealth’s policy to protect its atmosphere, lands, and waters from pollution, impairment, or destruction, for the benefit, enjoyment, and general welfare of the people of the Commonwealth. 

Is there anything more basic to a healthy life than pure water, clean air and access to open spaces for recreation?  At Lynnhaven River NOW (LRNow), we believe this is everyone’s right and we work with the community and our leaders to try to insure that these basic fundamentals of life are available to all residents of Virginia Beach.


Our work began in 2002 and was focused on the Lynnhaven River watershed area of Virginia Beach.  Our initial goal was to improve water quality to meet the rigorous standard for shellfish harvest by 2007.  And we reached that goal!  In 2002, only 1% of the river met that standard and watermen were unable to harvest oysters in the Lynnhaven.  By 2007, 29% of the river was open and commercial oyster farming had returned.  This was phenomenal progress and taught us two important things.  One, nothing is accomplished without the participation of our city leaders and our citizens.  Partnerships are what make things happen.  And secondly, what is good for the Lynnhaven watershed, is good for all the watersheds in our city.

The Pearl School program, our first pearl program, began in 2007. We made the program available in all of the watersheds in Virginia Beach.  Today, we work throughout the city, not only on education and outreach, but also restoration and advocacy efforts. We work actively with many partners to help citizens learn now we can contribute to conserving our valuable natural resources. LRNow has six key programs that help us reach our goal of healthy and clean waterways: Pearl Homes and Neighborhoods, Pearl Schools, Pearl Faith Communities, Restoration Programs and Advocacy.



Waterways define our communities in Hampton Roads.  In fact, our region’s name Hampton Roads refers to the maritime definition of ‘roads’ as a harbor that provides shelter from the threats posed by open waters.  Flying into the Norfolk airport, it is apparent that the land is shaped by and insignificant to the many and varied waterways.

All of our rivers, bays and estuaries, drain into the two largest and most productive estuaries in our country, the Chesapeake Bay to the north and the Albemarle and Pamlico Sounds to the south, adding to the importance of restoring and protecting our local waterways.

We work on restoring and protecting Virginia Beach’s waterways and natural resources. Virginia Beach has a very complex system of eight watersheds that make up 3 major watersheds: Little Creek, Lynnhaven River, Atlantic Ocean, Ruddee and Owl Creek, Back Bay, North Landing River, Eastern Branch of the Elizabeth River and, the Northwest River. Do you know which watershed you live in?



PEARL HOMES are places where people care about our environment and want to do what they can to help protect our resources.

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Lynnhaven River NOW recognizes schools providing outstanding environmental education as a Pearl School.

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PEARL BUSINESSES are essential to truly move towards a more sustainable Virginia Beach and cleaner waters.

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We all want to do our part to restore the health of all of our sacred waterways and protect them for future generations to enjoy.

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SUSTAINABLE YARDS PROGRAM: Let us help you “green” your Lynnhaven watershed home. This unique program provides specific stormwater management practices to your yard at a significantly reduced cost to you.

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