Chesapeake Bay Program

The Chesapeake Bay, along with its tributaries, is one of the most important and productive estuarine systems in the world, providing economic and social benefits to the citizens of the City of Portsmouth and the Commonwealth of Virginia. The health of the Bay is vital to maintaining the city's economy and the welfare of its citizens.

The Chesapeake Bay waters have been degraded significantly by many sources of pollution, including nonpoint source pollution from land uses and development. Existing high quality waters are worthy of protection from degradation to guard against further pollution. Certain lands that are proximate to shorelines have intrinsic water quality value due to the ecological and biological processes they perform. Other lands have severe development constraints from flooding, erosion, and soil limitations. With proper management, they offer significant ecological benefits by providing water quality maintenance and pollution control, as well as flood and shoreline erosion control. These lands together, designated by the city council as Chesapeake Bay Preservation Areas ("CBPAs"), need to be protected from destruction and damage in order to protect the quality of water in the Bay and consequently the quality of life in the City of Portsmouth and the Commonwealth of Virginia.

Development in the CBPAs is regulated under Chapter 9.1 of the Portsmouth City Code in accordance with the requirements of the Code of Virginia.

Click here to access the current Portsmouth Chesapeake Bay Ordinance

Interactive Map

Utilize our interactive map to find out if your property is located in a Chesapeake Bay Preservation Area.


Contact the Department of Engineering and Technical Services at 757-393-8592 for assistance with technical issues related to Chesapeake Bay Preservation Area Development such as:

  • Best Management Practices (BMPs)
  • Stormwater / BMP Calculations
  • Erosion and Sediment Control measures
ChesBay rma rpa annotated


Click here for information about developing in wetland areas.