Sea level rise discussed by planners

by Bill Nachman - Posted on Jul 24, 2013 - 01:02 PM

Sea level is projected to rise 1½ to 2 feet in this region by 2100, Marcia Berman of the Virginia Institute of Marine Science at Gloucester Point has said.

Berman was addressing the Gloucester Planning Commission, which met July 11 in the colonial courthouse. Her remarks were part of a report about Comprehensive Coastal Resource Management Plans for Tidewater localities. She is director of the Comprehensive Coastal Inventory Program, Center for Coastal Resources Management at VIMS.

Berman said that forecast indicate that sea level rise, which is already taking place, is expected to accelerate after 2100.

Commissioner Mike Winebarger asked why sea level rise is occurring. Berman said there are many factors including melting icepacks, changing land mass, well drilling, among others.

One way to combat impacts of sea level rise, Berman said, is by increased use of living shorelines. Instead of riprap and other structures being built along the shoreline, plants and marshes can provide other means of protection, she said.

Permanent structures along the shoreline can cause impacts to other property owners, she said.

Commissioner Keith Belvin said he thinks "no wake" zones can be an important tool to protect the shoreline. He pointed to the no wake zone in Timberneck Creek as being "extremely effective." Berman said that studies have shown no wake zones can be effective, especially in smaller creeks.