Riparian Rights - Chesapeake Bay: VIRGINIA WATERFRONT PROPERTY LAW

Dock on the Chesapeake Bay

Chesapeake Bay /

Legal Services for Chesapeake Bay Waterfront Property Owners in Virginia

Covering an area of over 200 square miles, the Chesapeake Bay is the largest estuary in the United States and one of the largest in the world. Most of the rivers and tributaries in the Commonwealth flow into the Chesapeake Bay. Although it is still a rich source of fish, clams, and oysters, these fisheries have experienced great harm from the pollution created by the 17 million people who live along the Bay. Thankfully, the health of the Chesapeake Bay improved in 2015, marking three years of gains over the past four years. Overall, the water quality in the Bay has improved of late, and the shellfish harvest is once again on the rise. Our teams’ extensive knowledge of waterfront (riparian) property rights law, maritime and admiralty law, and environmental law has helped clients all across Virginia.


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Examples Of Our Experience Defending Chesapeake Bay Property Owners

Helped Property Owner with Resource Protection Area and Chesapeake Bay Preservation Act

Assisted a waterfront property owner who demolished a residence located within the Resource Protection Area (RPA) of the Chesapeake Bay Preservation Act. Penalties for violating the Act can be severe, with fines up to $5,000 for each day of violation. We assisted the owner in tailoring a design that resulted in approval for re-building without moving entirely outside the RPA.

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Protesting The Installation Of Industrial-sized Floating Oyster Aquaculture Farm

Oyster lease permit hearings at the Virginia Marine Resources Commission (VMRC), including representing riparian property owners protesting the installation of an industrial-sized floating oyster aquaculture farm in Hungars Creek, which flows into the Bay from the Eastern Shore.

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Helped Commercial Client Resolve Environmental Enforcement Action

Helping a commercial client resolve an environmental enforcement action brought by the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality after the inadvertent release of 1,700 gallons of toxic chemicals into the Bay during a construction project, in violation of the Virginia State Water Control Law.

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Resolved A Waterfront Property Ownership Dispute Near Historic Fort Monroe

Provided an expert legal opinion to help resolve a waterfront property ownership dispute relating to Old Point Comfort near historic Fort Monroe.

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Commercial Fishing Fleet

Represented several commercial fishing fleet owners defending Jones Act claims for personal injuries brought by vessel crew members.

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We Protect Your Waterfront Property, Maritime, and Environmental Rights

These represent just a few of the many instances in which Jim and his team have assisted clients on or near Virginia’s waterways. If you have a legal issue pertaining to any Virginia waterway, call Jim Lang and his team at (757) 502-7326 or email him at:


Waterfront & Riparian Rights Law Experience With Virginia Waterway

We work in one of the longest and most diverse coastlines in the world - 7,213 miles – over three times the distance between Virginia Beach and San Diego. Virginia is also home to numerous rivers and tributaries, and a great variety of wetlands. These waterways include:

Although no two cases are alike, click on the links above to see examples of our work helping Virginians in the waterways of Virginia. We’re standing by and ready to help navigate your unique situation - Schedule Your Consultation.


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Phone: (757) 502-7326.


Maritime Emergency?

Call or text Tom Berkley 24 hours a day

Phone: (757) 572-2657