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Norfolk Plans for Resilience in the Face of Climate Change – News

The city of Norfolk, Virginia is implementing what could serve as a model for other areas in coping with climate change, writes Leslie Kaufman in Bloomberg Green. The Ohio Creek Watershed Project will build a tidal gate and park that serves as water retention area and restore local wetlands in an effort to mitigate the increasingly severe flooding that threatens some of the city’s neighborhoods and most important roadways.

Using a $112 million grant won in HUD’s 2014 National Disaster Resilience Competition, the Ohio Creek Watershed plan will “improve flooding, public access to the waterway and connections to the rest of the city” with mitigation features and an elevated road.  

“Norfolk is experiencing the fastest sea-level rise on the U.S. East Coast, with a projected increase of roughly 1.5 feet by 2050, the city estimates.” With this in mind, the city is taking active steps to defend Norfolk’s 200 miles of coastline and protect the major roads that are often “rendered impassible by flooding.” The city’s chief resilience Oofficer, Douglas Beaver, manages Norfolk’s resiliency plan, bringing together “employees from different departments such as city planning, parks and recreation, and transportation to see which projects need to be prioritized or can serve multiple functions.” And sometimes, Beaver points out, “you just have to know when to call it quits.”

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