Virginia CZM Program: 2016 Coastal Grant Project Description and Final Summary

Project Task:VA CZM logo



Northern Virginia Regional Commission

Project Title:

Northern Virginia’s Roadmap to Resilience

Project Description:

Northern Virginia will experience a variety of impacts related to climate change such as an increased risk of damaging storm-surge events, rising sea levels, longer heat waves, heavy precipitation events, flash flooding,  and other extremes. The predicted combination of impacts will put valuable infrastructure, property and large numbers of people at risk, particularly in low lying areas such as Old Town Alexandria and parts of Fairfax and Prince William Counties. Impacts from flooding can range from temporary road closures to the damage or loss of homes, businesses, property and life. Flooding problems are linked to water bodies and therefore often transcend locality boundaries.  In coastal Virginia, the cost of large storm damage can range from millions to hundreds of millions of dollars per storm. With a long history of flooding from strong storms, the Northern Virginia region needs to identify vulnerable areas and plan appropriate adaptation strategies to reduce the impact of future climate and storm-related events.

The Virginia Institute of Marine Science has recommended that coastal localities in Virginia begin comprehensive and coordinated planning efforts; initiate identification, collection, and analysis of data needed to support effective planning for response efforts. Since climate change is a global problem, communities must work together to share tools for assessing and managing climate change impacts, and help build their capacity to respond.

The Virginia Institute of Marine Science has also reviewed global flood management strategies and concluded that it is possible for Virginia to develop effective flood responses.  However, these efforts may take 20 to 30 years to effectively plan and implement.

In order for communities in Northern Virginia to plan for and invest in climate adaptation and resiliency initiatives, they need to fully understand how climate change will affect their infrastructure, environment, economies, and residents. The aftermath of Hurricane Sandy focused attention on the importance of highly advanced resiliency planning across the United States.  The products of these planning experiences included several national tools and models to assist with forecasting hazards and providing recommendations concerning adaptation to climate change.  These tools include the Nature Conservancy’s Coastal Resilience, SLOSH, FEMA-HAZUS.  These pioneering initiatives serve as excellent examples suitable for equivalent regional resiliency planning along Virginia’s coastal zone. 

The funding requested in this proposal addresses the CZMP Goal of planning for Coastal Resiliency. Building upon the previous data produced for the Sustainable Shorelines and Community Management Project conducted in FY10, NVRC technical staff will utilize the latest tools available to provide the data at a scale necessary to perform comprehensive coastal resiliency planning and inform future management, policies and practices within and across the 14 jurisdictions of Northern Virginia as part of the first Northern Virginia Climate Resiliency Roadmap.  Since Northern Virginia is closely integrated into the Washington Metropolitan Region, NVRC proposes to align this effort with parallel resiliency and climate adaptation planning efforts undertaken by the National Capitol Planning Commission, Washington Metropolitan Council of Governments and Washington D.C. through coordination and technical transfers of information.

The goals of this project are  to 1) Identify  and  assess  the  effects  of  climate  change  on  the  natural and built environment of the Northern Virginia coastal zone; 2) Identify the policy framework surrounding climate change planning and adaptation; 3) Determine how to integrate  climate  change  considerations  into local plans and policies; 4) Identify methods to and techniques to manage  associated risks; and 5) Collaborate with multiple stakeholders on  developing a response for the region.

The specific objectives that will be accomplished through this scope of work are: 1) bring together technical and policy experts from across the region to discuss the need for a long-term and sustainable regional climate adaptation roadmap; 2) form an interdisciplinary collaborative workgroup to guide plan development and implementation; 3) develop planning scenarios based on best-available and current scientific models; and 4) develop an outcome oriented strategic climate resiliency roadmap.

The completed project will culminate in a comprehensive Roadmap that emphasizes communication, coordination, and proactive preparation so that integrated strategies can be developed across the political jurisdictions of the region while implemented by numerous players.

Federal Funding:


Project Contact:

Corey Miles, 703.642.4625,

Project Status:

10/1/16 - 9/30/17; Project Open

Final Product:


Project Summary:


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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