Virginia Mercury reported this week that Old Dominion University’s Institute for Coastal Adaptation and Resilience and the Chesapeake Bay Foundation announced the launch of the Resilient and Adaptable Communities Partnership Wednesday morning following a year’s worth of planning and $1.5 million in funding from the state.
Both Virginia’s coastal areas and rural inland communities have been struggling to deal with increased flooding linked to sea level rise and more intense rainfall, respectively, leading to millions of dollars being doled out for projects to prevent loss of life and damage from catastrophic weather events.
The partnership announcement comes after the Virginia Institute of Marine Science released a report last week that stated Norfolk is experiencing the highest rate of sea level rise along the East Coast, WHRO reported last week.
To assist with the climate change fight, the new partnership is currently hiring research faculty to help secure federal funding, analyze data, provide assistance with incorporating nature-based technologies like living shorelines into engineering projects and conduct cost-benefit analyses.
The partnership will further work with local governments to put resilience plans into action by fostering collaboration across various departments, including parks and recreation and economic development. ODU will also provide credentialing and academic degree programs to train a workforce to design and build projects that protect homes and businesses while benefiting the Bay, as well as look to introduce resiliency concepts to students at the elementary school level, Whitehead said.
Several other Virginia environmental organizations and university research institutions already involved in resilience efforts such as the Resilience Adaptation Feasibility Tool, or RAFT, the partnership will work to fill any gaps and identify communities that haven’t made as much progress. It will have a representative on the state’s Resilience Authority Workgroup and support implementation of the Coastal Resilience Master Plan and Virginia Flood Protection Master Plan.
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