Kirk Havens Home Page

Kirk J. Havens

Professor; Director, CCRM

Email: [[kirk]]
Phone: (804) 684-7386
Office: Davis Hall 208
Section: Ecosystem Health
Unit: Center for Coastal Resources Management
Website: {{}}

  • Ph.D. Environmental Science and Public Policy, George Mason University 
  • M.S. Oceanography, Old Dominion University 
  • B.S. Biology, Old Dominion University 
Research Interests

My research interests are in the area of coastal resource management. Within this discipline, the emphasis of my research programs has been the translation of science to practical solutions and resource management policy. My two programs, the Nontidal Wetlands Program and the Marine Debris Program, were both mandated by the Virginia General Assembly and are recognized nationally and internationally. The majority of my research is focused on actionable since and has direct advisory service application thus my research and advisory activities are closely intertwined. Primary research interests include tidal and nontidal wetlands ecology and functional assessments, environmental law, public policy, adaptive management, marine debris, biopolymers, derelict fishing gear, indigenous knowledge, and land use and watershed issues.  I am a past Chair of the Chesapeake Bay Program’s Scientific and Technical Advisory Committee (STAC) and serve as the Virginia Governor’s representative to the STAC. I also serve as the Chair of the Leadership Council for the Albemarle – Pamlico National Estuary Partnership.

Selected Outreach Projects
  • Ocean Bridge Educators Lesson Plan. 2013 to present. Ghostbusting in the Chesapeake: Rounding Up Derelict Fishing Gear. C. Petrone, K.J. Havens, D. Bilkovic, D. Stanhope, K. Angstadt.
  • Co-Host/Co-ProducerA Healthy Bay for Healthy Kids: Cooking with Virginia’s First Lady. Grade school children follow along with Virginia’s First Lady as a Chef shows how to make a healthy Chesapeake Bay seafood dish. First Ladies of Virginia Susan Allen (Gov. George Allen), Lisa Collis (Gov. Mark Warner), Anne Holton (Gov. Timothy Kaine), Maureen McDonnell (Gov. Robert McDonnell), Dorothy McAuliffe (Gov. Terry McAuliffe). 2002 – Present.
  • Host/Producer with WVEC- Chesapeake BayWatch! With Dr. Kirk Havens. Public Service Announcement television series. 12 segments,
Selected Research Projects
  • Memorandum of Understanding. VDOT/Office of the Secretary of Natural Resources. 2019-2024. PIs: K. Havens, C. Hershner, D. Bilkovic.
  • Engaging students, citizens, and watermen in the removal of derelict blue crab traps (VA,MD). National Fish & Wildlife Foundation. PI: K. Havens. Co-PIs: D. Bilkovic, A. Scheld.
  • Accelerating removal of derelict crab traps plaguing coastal Louisiana, and collecting data to assess their economic impact. NOAA Marine Debris Program, subcontract with Lake Pontchartrain Foundation. 2019-2021. PI: D. Bilkovic. Co-PIs: A. Scheld, K. Havens.
  • Farm Resiliency Education for At-Risk Coastal and Riparian Agricultural Lands (MD.VA). National Fish & Wildlife Foundation. 2019 -2020. PI: K. Havens. Co-PIs: D. Bilkovic, C. Hershner.
  • Bio-hinge Escape Mechanism for Dungeness Crab Traps. National Fish & Wildlife Foundation. 2019-2020. PI: K. Havens.
  • Tidal Shoreline Management Policies & Procedures Handbook. 2018-2019. NOAA/DEQ Coastal Zone Management. PI: P. Mason. Co-PI: K. Havens.
  • Refining Program Capacity to Enhance and Protect Wetland Resources in Virginia. 2018-2020. EPA/DEQ. PI: K. Havens. Co-PIs: D. Bilkovic, C. Hershner, M. Mitchell.
  • An Innovative Mechanism for Reducing Nitrogen and Phosphorus Inputs to Virginia Waters. 2017-2019. Virginia Commonwealth Research Commercialization Fund. PI: K. Havens. Co-PIs: R. Chambers, C. Hershner, D. Bilkovic.
  • Building Capacity for Wetland Program Protection of Wetland Resources in Virginia. 2017-2018, US EPA/VADEQ.  PI: C. Hershner. Co-PIs: K. Havens D. Bilkovic, M. Berman.
  • Food security, energy and water in island systems: indigenous wisdom, ocean connections, global lessons W&M Commonwealth Center for Energy and the Environment. 2016. PIs K. Havens, K. Weng.
  • Enhancing the Adaptive Capacity of VA Coastal Wetlands to Lessen Vulnerability to Climate Change. 2016-2018. US EPA. PI: D. Bilkovic. Co-PIs:  C. Hershner, K. Havens, M. Mitchell.
  • National Wetlands Condition Assessment. 2016. US EPA. PI: K. Havens.
  • Regional Impact Assessment of Derelict Fishing Gear in the Chesapeake Bay. 2014-2016. NOAA – Global Science & Technology, Inc. PI: K. Havens. Co-PI: D. Bilkovic.
  • Plastics in the environment. Problems, Opportunities, and Solutions. W&M Commonwealth Center for Energy and the Environment. 2015 – 2016. PI: R. Hale. Co-PIs: D. Luellen, B. Song, D. Bilkovic, K. Havens.
  • Eliminating Plastic Shotun Wads As a Source of Hamful Aquatic Debris. 2015-2015. VA Center for Innovative Technology. PI: K. Havens. Co-PI: D. Bilkovic.
  • Development of Strategies to Improve Conservation of VA Headwater Wetland Ecosystems in the Face of Climate Change. 2014-2017. US EPA. PI: D. Bilkovic. Co-PIs: K. Havens, C. Hershner.
  • National Wetlands Assessment – Virginia. (EPA) 2011. PI.
  • National Wetlands Assessment – Maryland (EPA) 2011. PI.
  • Marine Debris Location and Removal Project (NOAA)  2008-2012. PI.
Selected Publications
  • Bilkovic, Donna Marie, Molly M. Mitchell, Kirk J. Havens, and Carl H. Hershner. "Chesapeake Bay." In World Seas: an Environmental Evaluation, pp. 379-404. Academic Press, 2019.
  • Havens, K.J., C. Hershner, T. Rudnicky, D. Stanhope, D. Schatt, K. Angstadt, M. Henicheck, D. Davis, D.M. Bilkovic. Virginia Wetland Condition Assessment Tool (WetCAT): A Model for Management. In John Dorney, Rick Savage, Ralph Tiner, and Paul Adamus, editors, Wetland and Stream Rapid Assessments: Development, Validation, and Application. Elsevier Publishing. 2018.
  • Brooks, R.,  K.J. Havens, H. Ingram, K. Angstadt, D. Stanhope, A. Jacobs, M. Nassry, D. Wardrop. Creating a Unified Mid-Atlantic Rapid Condition Assessment Protocol for Wetlands. In John Dorney, Rick Savage, Ralph Tiner, and Paul Adamus, editors, Wetland and Stream Rapid Assessments: Development, Validation, and Application. Elsevier Publishing. 2018.
  • Corso, A.D., Huettenmoser, J.C., Trani, O.R., Angstadt, K., Bilkovic, D.M., Havens, K.J., Russell, T.M., Stanhope, D. and Chambers, R.M., 2017. Experiments with by-catch reduction devices to exclude diamondback terrapins and retain blue crabs. Estuaries and Coasts, 40(5), pp.1516-1522.
  • Scheld, A., D.M. Bilkovic, and K. Havens. 2016. The dilemma of derelict gear. Sci. Rep. 6, 19671; doi: 10.1038/srep19671
  • Bilkovic, DM, KJ Havens, D Stanhope, and K. Angstadt. 2014. Derelict fishing gear in Chesapeake Bay, Virginia: Spatial patterns and implications for marine fauna. Marine Pollution Bulletin.
  • Wardrop, D.H., M. E. Kentula, R.P. Brooks, M.S. Fennessy, S.J. Chamberlain, K.J. Havens, and C. Hershner. 2013. Monitoring and Assessment of Wetlands: Concepts, Case Studies, and Lessons Learned, Chapter 11 in Mid-Atlantic Freshwater Wetlands: Advances in Wetlands Science, Management, Policy, and Practice, R.P. Brooks & D.H Wardrop (eds). Springer, New York.
  • Bilkovic, D.M., K. Havens, D. Stanhope, and K. Angstadt. 2012. Use of fully biodegradable panels to reduce derelict pot threats to marine fauna. Conservation Biology 26(6): 957–966. This research was featured in Scientific American, Jan 2013.
  • Bilkovic, D.M., M.R. Mitchell, C.H. Hershner, K.J. Havens. 2012. Transitional wetland faunal community characterization and response to precipitation-driven salinity fluctuations. Wetlands 32:425–437.
  • Havens, K.J., D. Bilkovic, D. Stanhope, and K. Angstadt. 2011. Fishery Failure, Unemployed Commercial Fishers, and Lost Blue Crab Pots: An Unexpected Success Story. Environmental Science and Policy 14(4): 445-450.
  • Brooks, R., M. M. Brinson, K.J. Havens, C. Hershner, R. Rheinhardt, D.H. Wardrop, D. Whigham, A. D. Jacobs, and J. M. Rubbo. 2011. Proposed Hydrogeomorphic Classification for Wetlands of the Mid-Atlantic Region, USA. Wetlands DOI 10.1007/s13157-011-0158-7.
  • Havens, K.J., D. Bilkovic, D. Stanhope, and K. Angstadt. 2009. Location, location, location: the importance of cull ring placement in blue crab traps. Transactions of the American Fisheries Society 138:720–724.
  • Perry, J., D.M. Bilkovic, K. Havens, and C. Hershner. 2009. Tidal Freshwater Marshes of the Mid-Atlantic and Southeastern United States. In Tidal Freshwater Wetlands, pp. 157-166. Eds: A. Barendregt, D.F. Whigham, A.H. Baldwin; Backhuys Publishers, Leiden, The Netherlands.
  • Hershner, C. and K.J. Havens. 2009. Ecosystem Services and Management of Invasive Species in a Changing System: Response to Martin and Blossey. Conservation Biology 23 (2): 497-498.
  • Brooks, R., M. McKenney-Easterling, M. Brinson, R. Rheinhardt, K. Havens, D. O’Brien, J. Bishop, J. Rubbo, B. Armstrong, and J. Hite. 2009. A Stream–Wetland–Riparian (SWR) index for assessing condition of aquatic ecosystems in small watersheds along the Atlantic slope of the eastern U.S.  Environmental Monitoring and Assessment 150: 101-117.
  • Hershner, C. and K.J. Havens. 2008. Managing invasive aquatic plants in a changing system: strategic consideration of ecosystems services. Conservation Biology 22 (3): 544-550. Faculty of 1000 Article Recognition.
  • Chambers, R., K.J. Havens, S. Killeen, and M. Berman. 2008. Common reed Phragmites australis occurrence along estuarine shoreline in Chesapeake Bay. Wetlands 28(4): 1097-1103.
  • Havens, K.J., D.M. Bilkovic, D. Stanhope, K. Angstadt, and C. Hershner. 2008. The effects of derelict blue crab traps on marine organisms in the lower York River, Virginia. North American Journal of Fisheries Management 28(4):1194-1200.
  • Hershner, C., K.J. Havens, D. Bilkovic, and D. Wardrop. 2007. Assessment of Chesapeake Bay Program Selection and Use of Indicators. EcoHealth 4(2): 187-193.
  • Wardrop, D., C. Hershner, K. Thornton, K. J. Havens, and D. Bilkovic. 2007. Developing and communicating a taxonomy of indicators of aquatic health. EcoHeath 4(2): 179-186.

Havens, K. and E. Sharp. 2016. Thermal Imaging Techniques to Survey and Monitor animals in the Wild: A Methodology. Academic Press, ISBN 9780128033845, 376pp.


"...a valuable manual for biologists and resource managers interested in understanding and applying thermal imaging to current wildlife-related observation excellent job of balancing technical information with figures, examples, and summaries of current knowledge and practice..." --The Quarterly Review of Biology

Short Courses & Lectures
  • GIS 490 GIS Remote Sensing, W&M (Lecture) 2015 annually to present.
  • MSCI 698 Headwater Wetlands Ecology, co-instructor with D. Bilkovic & C. Hershner
  • Virginia Coastal Policy Center (W&M Law School) Collaborating Partner and Advisor– 2013 to present.
  • LAW 339 Natural Resource Law (W&M Law School) – 2005 to 2010 (lectures).
  • LAW 741 Environmental Law & Science Clinic (project with W&M Law School 1998 to 2001.
  • MSCI 698 Habitat Degradation VIMS (Lecture) 2002 to 2005.
  • MSCI 685 Practical Application of Marine Resource Management Techniques VIMS (lecture) 2002 to 2005.
  • BIOL 627 Wetland Ecosystems W&M (lectures) 2002 to 2005.
  • MSCI 579 Wetlands Ecology VIMS (lectures) 2002 to 2005.
  • MSCI 542 Principles and Theory of Resource Management, VIMS (lectures) 2002 to 2005.
  • EVSP 540 Wetland Policy - George Mason Univ. (lecture) 1998 to 2000.
  • Nontidal Wetlands Functions and Values. Chesapeake Bay Governor’s School (invited lecture). 2000.
  • Christopher Wren Association Marine Science Lecture Series (invited lecture). 1999.
  • Tidal Wetlands (VIMS short course for the public) 1996 to 2002.
  • Wetlands Delineation (Public VIMS short course for the public) 1996 to 2002.
  • Wetland Hydrology (Public VIMS short course for the public) 1996 to 2002.
  • Wetland Soils (VIMS short course for the public) 1996 to 2002.
  • Hydrology (VIMS short course for the public) 1996 to 2002.
Recent Invited Scholarly Papers & Talks
  • The State Arboretum of Virginia. Presentation on marine plastics pollution. “Science Café” Winchester, VA. May 2019.
  • National Fisheries Institute Leadership Program. Plastic Pollution in the Marine Environment. May 2019.
  • US Department of State. World Wildlife Day. Presentation on marine debris / derelict fishing gear. Special invitation from the Deputy Asst. Secretary for Oceans & Fisheries, U.S Department of State. March 2019.
  • North Landing Albmarle Pamlico Sound Symposium, Virginia Beach. Wetlands in the southern watershed. April 2018.
  • Association of State Wetlands Managers – presentation on WetCAT – Shepherdstown, West Virginia. 2017.
  • US EPA - Wetlands and long term change – Cacapon, West Virginia. 2017.
  • Virginia Department of Transportation Research Council – innovative biopolymers for pollutant removal. 2017.
  • Marine Debris – Malama’ Honua Summit, Honolulu, Hawaii. 2017.
  • Phragmites australis overview – Sea Grant Invasive species summit. 2017.
  • Presentation on Virginia’s Wetland Condition Assessment Tool (WetCAT) to the Mid Atlantic Wetlands Workgroup annual meeting. 2017.
  • Welcoming comments to the Albemarle-Pamlico National Estuary Partnership State of the Estuary Symposium. 2017.
  • VIMS After Hours Lecture. Microplastics. 2016.
  • Virginia Environmental Health Association. Derelict crab pots. 2016.
  • US Foreign Press. Derelict crab pots, plastics, biopolymers. 2016.
  • US EPA Regional Administrator press conference. VIMS. Wetlands Research. 2016.
  • Plastic in the marine environment. Longwood University Invited Speaker Series. 2015.
  • Wetland Assessment: WetCAT. Virginia Association of Wetland Professionals. 2015.
  • Wetland Assessment:WetCAT. Association of State Wetland Managers. Shepherdstown, WV, March 20, 2013.
  • Virginia Wetlands Management. EPA Region III coordination with Norfolk Corps of Engineers. Virginia Beach, VA, April 10-11, 2012.
  • New England Derelict Fishing Gear Conference. Portland, ME, NOAA – NFWF, Feb 27-29, 2012.
  • 5th International Marine Debris Conference, Session Chair. Derelict Fishing Traps. March 20-25, 2011, Honolulu, HI
  • 5th International Marine Debris Conference. “Derelict Blue Crab Traps in the Chesapeake Bay”. March 24, 2011. Honolulu, HI
  • 5th International Marine Debris Conference. “Engaging Fishermen in the Removal of Derelict Traps”. March 24, 2011. Honolulu, HI
  • Wetlands Ecology William & Mary Environmental Law Class, Taskinas Creek, Toano, October 2010.