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Virginia CZM Program 2009 Coastal Grant Project Description and Final Summary

Project Task:



Hampton Roads Planning District Commission

Project Title:

Sustainable Communities Focal Area: Climate Change in Hampton Roads

Project Description as Proposed:

Climate Change in Hampton Roads: Climate change will likely result in several significant adverse impacts on Hampton Roads including inundation of both developed and natural areas due to sea level rise, increased impacts from severe weather events and associated storm surge, and adverse impacts on coastal and marine ecosystems due to temperature increase and loss of wetlands habitat. This task will involve building on the previous collection and analysis of information on climate change and associated ramifications, an initial attempt to identify economic and infrastructure impacts, development of a set of draft policy recommendations and development of a framework for both mitigating and adapting to climate change within the region. This project provides an excellent opportunity to utilize the networked structure of the Virginia Coastal Zone Management Program to bring varied resources and expertise to the discussion and analysis of these evolving issues. The process of integrating the networked resources of the Coastal Program will be coordinated with the Virginia NEMO Program when appropriate. In addition, this project provides an important opportunity for coordination among the Planning Districts in the Virginia Coastal Zone in the sharing of information and evolving policy positions.

Federal Funding:


Project Contact:

Benjamin McFarlane - 757.420.8300; or  John M. Carlock - 757.420.8300;

Project Status:

10/1/2009 - 12/31/2010; Project Completed

Final Product Received:

Climate Change in the Hampton Roads - Phase II: Storm Surge Vulnerability and Public Outreach (pdf)

Project Summary Provided by Grantee:

This report documents the work done during the second year of the Hampton Roads Planning District Commission’s (HRPDC) Climate Change Adaptation focal area grant. During this year, the focus shifted from documenting general impacts and coordinating with local government staffs to estimating the potential impacts on the region from sea level rise and flooding. The analysis described in this report provides an estimate of the current exposure and vulnerability of the Hampton Roads region to storm surges during hurricanes, as well as future exposure and vulnerability to sea level rise. Twelve localities were included in the analysis, and results were aggregated at the local, sub-regional (Peninsula, Southside), and regional levels. Results are displayed in maps and tables that summarize the area, population, roads, businesses, and critical facilities (such as schools, police and fire stations, and hospitals) that are within each of four storm surge zones. The data used for this analysis came from the Federal Emergency Management Agency, the Virginia Department of Emergency Management, the Virginia Department of Transportation, the U.S. Census Bureau, and ESRI. The analysis found that both sub-regions are vulnerable to Category 1 and 2 surges, but that Southside Hampton Roads is more vulnerable to Category 3 and 4 surges. The most vulnerable localities across the region are Chesapeake, Gloucester County, Hampton, Norfolk, Poquoson, Virginia Beach, and York County. The report also documents the public outreach efforts HRPDC staff engaged in to educate the public on the issues of sea level rise and climate change.

The report will be distributed in hard copy format to Hampton Roads localities. A digital version of the report will be available online at

Disclaimer: This project summary provides the federal dollars initially awarded to the grantee. Due to underexpenditure or reprogramming of grant funds, this figure may change. For more information on the allocation of coastal grant funds, please contact Laura McKay, Virginia Coastal Program Manager, at 804.698.4323 or email:

A more detailed Scope of Work for this project is available. Please direct your request for a copy to

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Virginia Department of
Environmental Quality
P.O. Box 1105
Richmond, VA 23218
(804) 698-4000

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