NORFOLK, Va. (WAVY) — Old Dominion University and the Chesapeake Bay Foundation have teamed for a new program focusing on helping communities deal with flooding and other climate change-related issues.

The Virginia General Assembly established the partnership between the Bay Foundation and ODU’s Institute for Coastal Adaptation and Resilience (ICAR) during the 2022 legislative session, and the program officially launched this week.

“Action on climate change is essential to saving the Bay, and many nature-based practices both combat flooding and lead to cleaner waterways,” said CBF Virginia Policy and Grassroots Advisor Jay Ford. “As flooding and more intense storms increasingly upend the lives of people across Virginia, many academic, nonprofit, and government organizations are working to make communities and the Chesapeake Bay more resilient to climate change,”

The program has three key focus areas: training workers to design and build resilience projects, helping communities get the funding for them and advising government stakeholders on how to implement the projects.

ODU is hiring a program manager and four new research faculty positions that will be Chesapeake Bay Foundation Resilience Fellows, focusing on geospatial analysis, resilience planning, resilient engineering and design, and natural resource economics.

“We are so excited to work with the Chesapeake Bay Foundation to build out this partnership. There is a lot of work to be done, and we are glad to help add capacity for turning science into action,” said Jessica Whitehead, the Joan P. Brock Endowed Executive Director of ICAR.

The Bay Foundation says Republican Virginia Delegate Barry Knight and Democratic Virginia Senator George Barker, both leaders of their respective chamber finance committees, were “indispensable” in creating the partnership.

“Flooding and sea level rise are already creating challenges for homes and businesses in Hampton Roads and across Virginia,” said Knight, who represents Virginia Beach. “I’m proud of my work in the General Assembly to bring together ODU and CBF, two recognized Virginia experts in resiliency. This partnership creates an important hub that will provide communities with practical solutions to threats from flooding and extreme weather.”

ODU’s Institute for Coastal Adaptation and Resilience officially started in 2018 with the mission of advancing “the practice of coastal resilience and adaptation by engaging with communities, organizations, and businesses to develop and deploy solutions based on integrated, innovative, and applied research.”

You can read more about the institute here.