Lawmakers push for federal study to include sea-level rise in Hampton Roads

Washington-DC

19th Street flooding in Ocean View during Hurricane Dorian.

WASHINGTON, DC (WAVY) — Two U.S. senators and one House representative from Virginia are pushing for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to include sea-level rise in its Fiscal Year 2020 Work Plan.

Sens. Mark Warner and Tim Kaine, as well as Rep. Elaine Luria, have sent a letter to the Office of Management and Budget and Army Corps making the request, they announced in a news release.

The study was authorized under the 2018 Water Resources Development Act (WRDA).

The act was supported by Warner and Kaine to look at flood risk threats from sea-level rise, coastal storm surge and rainfall events.

The act also aims to develop watershed-based mitigation solutions to reduce flood risk for Norfolk, Chesapeake and Virginia Beach.

“This study is crucial to the long-term vitality and resilience of the City of Virginia Beach and the entire Coastal Virginia region. This region is home to four critical military bases, which employ 33,000 military and civilian personnel and their families. If the Army Corps approves this study, the City of Virginia Beach will be able to continue its efforts in mitigating sea level rise and recurrent flooding, serving as a model to coastal cities in need of more resilient infrastructure, economies, and communities,” wrote Luria, Kaine and Warner in the release.

A copy of the letter can be found here and below:

Dear Director Vought and Assistant Secretary James:
We write today to express our support for the City of Virginia Beach’s Comprehensive Regional Coastal Storm Risk Management Study, and ask that it be included in the FY 2020 Army Corps Work Plan.
The authority for this study is the Water Resources Development Act of 2018 Section 1201 (9) for Coastal Virginia. This study will analyze the flood risk threats from sea level rise, coastal storm surge and rainfall events, and will develop watershed-based mitigation solutions to reduce flood risk in the cities of Virginia Beach, Norfolk, and Chesapeake, Currituck County, North Carolina, and the Joint Expeditionary Base at Little Creek- Fort Story. The City of Virginia Beach has support from the USACE North Atlantic Division and Norfolk Division, and has garnered additional support from the business and environmental communities.
This study is crucial to the long-term vitality and resilience of the City of Virginia Beach and the entire Coastal Virginia region. This region is home to four critical military bases, which employ 33,000 military and civilian personnel and their families. If the Army Corps approves this study, the City of Virginia Beach will be able to continue its efforts in mitigating sea level rise and recurrent flooding, serving as a model to coastal cities in need of more resilient infrastructure, economies, and communities. Specifically, the Regional Coastal Storm Risk Management Study advances the Corps’ mission of building long-term coastal resilience as outlined in USACE’s North Atlantic Coast Comprehensive Study: Resilient Adaptation to Increasing Risk.
In addition, the study will lead to a reduced risk to vulnerable populations, property, ecosystems, and infrastructure – including significant military installations – in one of the country’s most flood-prone population centers and augments existing federal resiliency investments in Virginia Beach and the greater Hampton Roads region.
As the Army Corps works with the Office of Management and Budget to develop its FY20 Work Plan, we encourage you to include the Virginia Comprehensive Regional Coastal Storm Risk Management Study. The City of Virginia Beach is a long-standing civil works partner with the Corps of Engineers and is prepared to provide the matching non-federal cost share to move this vital project forward.
Thank you again for your attention to this issue. We look forward to your response.”

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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