NORFOLK, Va. (WAVY) — With rapid sea-level rise increasingly becoming a threat for areas on the coast including Hampton Roads, some organizations are working alongside the flooding instead of moving away from it.
The Elizabeth River Project announced on Thursday “The Next Wave” campaign which will not only provide flood resilience measures and allow for education and research to continue, but it will help restore the environmental health of the Elizabeth River.
The three main goals with The Next Wave is to construct a Resilience Lab in Norfolk, expand the River Academy in Portsmouth, and support five years of pioneer river education throughout — including on the Learning Barge.
The total project is a $9 million campaign and as of June 17, the team is about 70% to the desired goal. It also incorporates many Elizabeth River projects and pioneer educational programs such as the Dominion Energy Learning Barge and the Youth Resilience Clearinghouse.
The Resilience Lab is expected to be located at 4610 Colley Avenue in Norfolk and is planned to be a highly sustainable building that uses less energy and water while using more renewable materials. The plan is that it will allow residents to continue living and working along the shores of the river even as sea levels rise.
According to the flood zones on the Norfolk city page, the location of the lab is in an AE Zone area which is most likely to flood during a “flood event.”
The conceptual design video released shows the entire building is elevated 10 feet above the ground and uses solar power for energy which are just a few among the list environmentally efficient plans for the building.
The expansion of the River Fred W. Beazley River Academy at Paradise Creek Nature Park in Portsmouth will be at the top of the list for being built. The expansion will allow for the academy to increase capacity and educational efforts offering opportunities to youth outreach at-risk kids. It will potentially add about 1,500 square feet to the existing structure which is about 1,300 square feet as it stands now.
The Frank and Aimee Batton Challenge gives the community an opportunity to be a part of The New Wave as each dollar donated to the campaign will be matched 1:1, up to $1 million.
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