VIMS report lays out recommended responses to recurrent flooding

by Bill Nachman - Posted on Jan 23, 2013 - 01:06 PM

A new report from the Virginia Institute of Marine Science, Gloucester Point, lays out a detailed plan for how the state can best respond to the ongoing challenges that storm surge, rising sea level and other factors pose to residents and localities along Virginia’s Chesapeake Bay and Atlantic shorelines.

David Malmquist, director of communications at VIMS, said that the authors of the report presented the 135-page document to legislators Jan. 10 for consideration during the General Assembly’s 2013 session. The report by VIMS was called for by a joint resolution of Virginia’s House and Senate in 2012.

Titled "Recurrent Flooding Study for Tidewater Virginia," the report is the result of a year-long effort by researchers led by Molly Mitchell and Carl Hershner. An advisory panel that assisted with the report included researchers from VIMS, Old Dominion University, the College of William and Mary Coastal Policy Clinic, the Hampton Roads Planning District Commission (of which Gloucester County is a member jurisdiction), and other groups.

"Recurrent flooding is already a significant issue in Virginia’s coastal zone," Mitchell said, and is "predicted to become even worse over reasonable planning horizons." Other factors affecting coastal flooding include high tides, intense rain storms and sinking land, the report said.

Hershner said that an optimal strategy might be for individual localities to match adaptation options to their unique local circumstances.