WASHINGTON, D.C. – Rep. Elaine Luria’s (D-VA) flood protection measures for Coastal Virginia were advanced on a bipartisan vote by the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure as part of the Water Resources Development Act (WRDA) of 2022.
WRDA provides authority for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) to carry out water resource development projects and studies. This bipartisan legislation seeks to protect communities, while strengthening commerce and maintaining our quality of life.
“Hampton Roads is defined by its wetlands, Chesapeake Bay tributaries, and the Norfolk Harbor, which requires significant investments in water infrastructure and resiliency. Federal facilities and installations make up a significant portion of Coastal Virginia, and the Eastern Shore faces serious resiliency threats, particularly from erosion, which my requests will address,” Rep. Luria said. “I am pleased that two of my WRDA priorities to invest in Coastal Virginia’s resiliency and water infrastructure passed out of committee in a bipartisan manner, and I look forward to working with my colleagues on final passage to improve resiliency and infrastructure in our communities.”
Congress has successfully enacted four consecutive bipartisan WRDA bills, in 2014, 2016, 2018, and 2020. More information on the WRDA Act of 2022 can be found here.
Information on Rep. Luria’s 2022 WRDA requests can be found here:
Comprehensive Flood Risk Management for Coastal Virginia
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers currently has separate project development roles with respect to military installations and civil works projects, which causes a challenge for regions like Coastal Virginia. The Hampton Roads region is home to 18 military installations, including Norfolk Naval Station, the largest navy base in the world, and Langley Air Force base, the longest continuously active Air Force base in the world.
Although some Civil Works feasibility studies may include geographical regions that contain military installations or federal facilities, there are limitations under existing authorities that restrict the ability to incorporate these installations and facilities into the Civil Works planning and construction processes. Rep. Luria’s request would clarify that federal facilities are included in the Coastal Resiliency Feasibility Study for Coastal Virginia. Not only will this ensure greater flood protection but also potentially generate federal cost savings.
Eastern Shore of Virginia Navigable Waterways Request
The Eastern Shore of Virginia has been actively fighting erosion, sea-level rise, and land subsidence. This is a request to authorize a new feasibility study for Cedar Island, a major Virginia seaside barrier island that has undergone significant coastal erosion for decades and sustained substantial damage from Hurricane Sandy. The continuing erosion of Cedar Island will eventually open the seaside marsh and mainland to full ocean impact, and this project request provides opportunities for coastal resilience combining ecology, geology, and engineering aspects within the dynamic coastal zone.