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Virginia CZM Program 2010 Coastal Grant Project Description and Final Summary

Project Task:



Middle Peninsula Planning District Commission

Project Title:

Middle Peninsula Climate Change - Initiating Adaptation Public Policy Development

Project Description as Proposed:

Under grant #NA08NOS4190466 Task 12.04 and grant #NA09NOS4190163 Task 12.05, the Middle Peninsula Planning District Commission staff worked with various elected officials, local planning commission members and several stakeholder groups which can, and often do, influence local public policy as it relates to climate change and sea level rise. In year #2 an interactive software, known as Qwizdom, was utilized to engage stakeholders on the topic of climate change, sea level rise, and governments role in managing potential impacts. This information assisted MPPDC staff in understanding some regional perceptions of the “climate change” phenomenon.
Climate change and sea level rise is fast becoming a partisan issue. Nevertheless, discussion of local impacts and challenges are still necessary and should be framed within the context of public health, safety and welfare provisions. Therefore, in Year 3 of this project, MPPDC staff propose to continue educational outreach to the general public and to elected officials about climate change and sea level rise. Similar to the Year 2 educational initiative, the outreach in Year 3 will include general information about climate change, sea level rise and related potential impacts, but MPPDC staff will also begin to incorporate the public policy ramifications of these issues into outreach efforts.
To encourage Middle Peninsula member localities to consider the development of public policy to respond to climate change and sea level rise impacts, MPPDC staff will also create a “START” (Start Adaptation and Response Today) kit. START will take a comprehensive approach in assembling, presenting, and customizing relevant information including (1) local scientific data, (2) Kaiser-Permanente Natural Hazard Vulnerability Assessment Tool results for the Middle Peninsula, (3) local, state, national and international case studies as well as (4) sample ordinances from communities (nationwide and internationally) that have adopted adaption policies. Furthermore the START kit will accommodate the different public policy needs for coastal and inland localities. The START kit will be transmitted to each governing body of the Middle Peninsula with the intentions of adoption and then will be forwarded to local planning commissions for coordination and synchronizing with local policy.

Federal Funding:


Project Contact:

Lewie L. Lawrence - 804.758.2311:

Project Status:

10/1/2010 - 9/30/2011; Project Completed

Final Product Received:

Initiating Adaptation Public Policy Development (pdf)

Project Summary Provided by Grantee:

For the past three years, the Middle Peninsula Planning District Commission (MPPDC) has been funded through the Virginia Coastal Zone Management Program to begin addressing climate change and sea level rise impacts in the region. With 1,055 miles of shoreline and 888,064 acres of land, the region is vulnerable to such impacts.

While Phase 1 focused on identifying potential impacts of climate change and sea level rise within the Middle Peninsula and assessed the associated economic and ecologic losses, Phase 2 aimed to understand the social perceptions on the topic within the region. In this final year, Phase 3 continued outreach efforts geared toward the general public and elected officials and also developed a START (Start Adaptation and Response Today) kit which organized information that Middle Peninsula localities can consider when addressing potential climate change and sea level rise impacts.  In particular, the START kit includes: (1) local scientific data (2) Kaiser– Permanente Natural Hazard Vulnerability Assessment Tool results from the Middle Peninsula, (3) local, state, national, and international case studies, as well as (4) sample adaptation ordinances from other communities (domestic  and internationally). On April 25, 2012, the MPPDC Commission took action to receive the Phase 3 Initiating Adaptation Public Policy Development final report.  As part of the adoption process, MPPDC staff reported that Josh Landis, previously of World News Tonight, spent two days on the Middle Peninsula interviewing citizens for a Video titled “Surging Seas-Climate Central.  The video focused on the Middle Peninsula and  impacts of sea level rising and climate change. Citizens from Gloucester County were interviewed and spoke of the challenges of rising water. The second video was shown entitled, “‘Ghost’ Wild Areas Haunt Chesapeake Bay Region.”  Dr. Bryan Watts, Director of the Center for Conservation Biology of The College of William and Mary, spoke about how sea level rise has created “ghost trees” on the Catlett Islands along the York River. Dr. Roger Mann, VIMS Director of Research and Advisory Services, was in attendance and advised that sea level is rising and land is sinking in the Middle Peninsula. MPPDC Commissioners engaged in a lengthy discussion about local government’s responsibilities for addressing sea level rise, repetitive flooding and the increased costs to the public at large.  In the end, the Commission took action to receive the report and directed PDC staff to transmit the report and finding to each Middle Peninsula local government for review, coordination and syncing with local policy. MPPDC staff remains available to help localities in understanding the material presented in the kit and will offer assistance as needed.

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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