Region making progress to bolster resilience
Originally posted by: The Virginian Pilot
A JUNE 23 op-ed (“Cost poses biggest challenge to regional resilience” by Skip Stiles) cited the need for regional collaboration on sea level rise and resiliency in Hampton Roads. We agree. As the chair and vice chair of the Hampton Roads Planning District Commission Coastal Resiliency Subcommittee, we are pleased to report that the region is working collaboratively to produce results to address this critical issue for our region.
In 2018, the HRPDC unanimously approved a set of sea level rise planning scenarios (1.5 feet for 2050; 3 feet for 2080; 4.5 feet for 2100). All 17 localities of our region came together to approve these consistent standards. We are one of the only regions in the country to accomplish this task.
Last year, we also stood up a subcommittee of elected officials throughout the region to specifically focus on coastal resilience, which is supported by similar committees among the chief administrative officers as well as respective city staff.
These committees and HRPDC staff have created an inventory of regional flood mitigation/resiliency projects throughout the region, including those that have been funded and those still in need of resources. This interactive mapping tool helps us demonstrate the investments our localities have made to address flooding challenges, document the need for state and federal funding to address this issue and understand how these projects relate to one another on a regional and watershed basis.
Our localities have also worked collaboratively to understand the impact that recurrent flooding has on our military bases. The HRPDC served as project manager for the Norfolk/Virginia Beach Joint Land Use Study, one of the first such efforts in the country to focus on the impact of flooding on our military.
This joint land use study brought together stakeholders from the military, the cities of Norfolk and Virginia Beach and the community to identify strategies and actions that can be taken to address the impacts of flooding on our military installations in these cities. The Norfolk/Virginia Beach land use study is available for public review; moreover, a similar study was launched in the cities of Chesapeake and Portsmouth this year.
To inform our residents of the importance of purchasing flood insurance as we advance into hurricane season, the HRPDC and our member localities released a regional campaign entitled that can be found at getfloodfluent.org with a video and interactive questionnaire.
Moving forward, our regional efforts are shifting to advocacy at the state and federal levels for funding. To help demonstrate to our state and federally elected officials the importance of sea level rise and resiliency to our region and needed funding assistance, the HRPDC Subcommittee on Coastal Resiliency has developed a video that can be viewed at bit.ly/HRflooding.
As noted in the video and has been profiled in the pages of this newspaper, Hampton Roads includes many assets that are critical to the economy and security of both our commonwealth and nation. We contain the second largest number of military personnel of any metropolitan region in the country, the largest naval base in the world and a Port that supports the economy of the eastern United States. And, our region is second only to New Orleans in terms of flood risk.
We must all work together to identify solutions and funding in order to protect our national security and economic security. This is not a future issue. This is a now issue.
As the chair and vice chair of the HRPDC Coastal Resiliency Subcommittee we are impressed at the support among all of our region’s officials to address this important topic. Clearly, there is much more work to be done, but we are going forward on a regional basis. As representatives of our localities and the Hampton Roads region, we stand united in our efforts to address this issue.
Andria McClellan, a member of the Norfolk City Council, is chair of the Hampton Roads Planning District Commission Subcommittee on Coastal Resilience. Donnie Tuck, the mayor of Hampton, is vice chair of that subcommittee.
By Andria McClellan & Donnie Tuck