Legislators meet at VIMS to discuss recurrent flooding

by Bill Nachman - Posted on Oct 07, 2015 - 01:51 PM

Members of a Virginia House of Delegates’ subcommittee met recently at Gloucester Point to discuss ways to develop a comprehensive and coordinated plan for addressing coastal flooding and sea level rise in the commonwealth.

The legislators, along with a group of citizens, policymakers and researchers at the Virginia Institute of Marine Science, met at the school’s Gloucester Point campus on Sept. 21 in a forum that was planned long before the recent flooding throughout Tidewater, said David Malmquist, director of communications at VIMS. Del. Keith Hodges (R-Urbanna) and state Sen. Lynwood Lewis (D-Accomac) were among those in attendance.

The House Joint Subcommittee to Study Recurrent Flooding was convened by Virginia’s General Assembly this past March, Malmquist said, as a follow-up to an earlier joint resolution mandating VIMS to study strategies for adaptation to prevent recurrent flooding throughout Tidewater and the Eastern Shore.

Molly Mitchell of VIMS’s Center for Coastal Resources Management, was lead author of VIMS’s recurrent flooding study. Mitchell told the group that recent VIMS research shows that observed rate of sea level rise is tracking toward higher projections.

Mitchell said efforts are underway to develop portals so that localities can view the effects of sea level rise by use of an interactive web-based system.

Other speakers included Colonel Jason Kelly, Norfolk District Commander of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers; Whitney Katchmark of the Hampton Roads Planning District Commission; Lewis Lawrence, executive director of the Middle Peninsula Planning District Commission, and Dr. Katerina Oskarsson of the Norfolk City Manager’s Office.

Lawrence stressed the need for improvements in roadside drainage ditches in Mathews, a report said.