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Study under way to address sea level rise along coastal regions of Virginia

Crystal Graham
norfolk virginia beach
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A feasibility study is in the works to investigate sea level rise and flooding along coastal regions and rivers in Virginia.

The City of Hampton and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers will work together to conduct the Virginia Peninsula Coastal Storm Risk Management Feasibility Study.

The research will include much of Hampton Roads including the cities of Hampton, Newport News, Poquoson and Williamsburg, and York and James River counties.

The study is funded for an initial $3 million and approved under the long-term disaster recovery investment plan component of the 2019 Additional Supplemental Appropriations Disaster Relief Act.

The study will examine the feasibility of implementing measures that may include building elevation or flood-proofing, nature-based solutions such as wetland restoration and structural measures including tide gates and flood walls to help manage the risk of storm damage.

“Hampton has taken a very proactive position on mitigating the impact of storms and sea-level rise. This is a study we have been seeking for several years and are pleased that it is moving forward,” said Hampton City Manager Mary Bunting. “We are very excited for the opportunity to partner with our regional partners and the Army Corp of Engineers.

“Floodwaters cross borders, and this comprehensive study is an opportunity for the Peninsula to have a regional planning approach for shoreline protection projects. The Army Corps’ study will provide an understanding of those issues and develop potential solutions that will make the region safer and stronger.”

Based on the findings of the study, the city and surrounding communities will partner with the Army Corps of Engineers to develop a plan to design measures that will lead to construction that will tangibly manage coastal storm risk and improve economic resiliency of the Peninsula region.

“We’re excited to partner with the City of Hampton and work with the cities of Newport News, Poquoson, Williamsburg and the counties of James City and York,” said Col. Brian Hallberg, commander of the Norfolk District of the Army Corps of Engineers. “This study aims to examine suitable, feasible and acceptable measures to reduce the effects of coastal storms and strengthen the resilience of the Peninsula region against flooding.”


Crystal Graham

Crystal Graham

Crystal Abbe Graham is the regional editor of Augusta Free Press. A 1999 graduate of Virginia Tech, she has worked for nearly 25 years as a reporter and editor for several Virginia publications, written a book, and garnered more than a dozen Virginia Press Association awards for writing and graphic design. She was the co-host of "Viewpoints," a weekly TV news show, and co-host of Virginia Tonight, a nightly TV news show. Her work on "Virginia Tonight" earned her a national Telly award for excellence in television.