To protect people and the environment across Virginia from flooding, rising seas, and extreme storms, Virginia legislators are currently considering several coastal resiliency proposals.
Many practices that prevent erosion and flooding also can reduce pollution entering waterways and create wildlife habitat. The Chesapeake Bay Foundation (CBF) urges legislators to prioritize natural solutions to resiliency that create these multiple benefits, such as living shorelines and wetlands restoration, rather than relying solely on expensive hard infrastructure like floodwalls and armored shorelines.
Virginia has made important progress responding to increased flooding, but must keep that work moving forward while ensuring all communities become more resilient in the face of climate change. CBF supports the following legislation in Virginia’s General Assembly:
- Resilient Virginia Revolving Loan Fund- (S.B. 756, Sen. Lewis) This legislation creates the Resilient Revolving Loan Fund to offer loans and grants to local governments for resiliency projects. These funds can be used to help individual homeowners and businesses address flooding issues.
- Virginia Flood Protection Master Plan- (S.B. 551, Sen. Marsden, and H.B. 516, Del. Bulova) This bill would create a Virginia Flood Protection Master Plan to address severe and repetitive flooding and administer the Virginia Coastal Resilience Master Plan. It also creates a process to ensure that communities vulnerable to flooding are engaged in the development of these master plans.
- Local Resilience Strategies- (S.B. 732, Sen. Lewis) This legislation would require local governments to prepare for and adapt to changing climate conditions and damaging storms by including resilience strategies in their comprehensive plans. Learn more about this bill and how you can advocate for it in our current action alert.
Chesapeake Bay Foundation Virginia Executive Director Peggy Sanner issued the following statement.
“These bills continue ongoing efforts to build a framework across Virginia to prepare for flooding and extreme storms. Climate change is already damaging communities from Hampton Roads to southwest Virginia, and this problem is only going to get worse.
“As we protect these communities, we must also support our decades-long investment in restoring Virginia’s rivers, streams, and the Chesapeake Bay. By prioritizing nature-based projects that address flooding and erosion while also reducing pollution, Virginia will secure the maximum benefits from its investments.”
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