City’s Infrastructure Retrofits Will Build on Flood-Resilience Progress

The City of Virginia Beach is assessing flood hazards and developing customized resilience plans.

Virginia Beach has one of the highest rates of sea level rise on the U.S. Atlantic Coast. That causes big problems for this city located in the Hampton Roads region, an area housing 1.7 million people, a vital maritime industry, and the world’s largest naval base. A planning process supported by NOAA will prioritize and put in place the construction or relocation of infrastructure to address sea level rise impacts on land use and development.

Much of the city’s housing and infrastructure were built more than fifty years ago, and sea level in Hampton Roads has risen nearly 12 inches since 1960. The result is frequent flooding of low-lying coastal areas and a stormwater system often unable to drain the overflow.

A lot is at stake economically. In 2016 Virginia Beach had an ocean economy of nearly $899 million in gross domestic product, and more than 95 percent of that ocean economy is in the tourism and recreation sector.

NOAA’s Coastal Resilience Grant of $844,487, which is administered by the NOAA Office for Coastal Management, was matched by $899,440 in nonfederal funding. The project is part of a multi-year strategy by Virginia Beach to assess recurring flood hazards within each watershed and develop customized resilience plans. Other project partners include the City of Virginia Beach, Dewberry, Georgetown Climate Center, Hampton Roads Planning District Commission, and Old Dominion University-Virginia Sea Grant. (2018)

Partners: City of Virginia Beach, Dewberry, Georgetown Climate Center, Hampton Roads Planning District Commission, and Old Dominion University-Virginia Sea Grant

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