Tuesday, December 21, 2021

Episode 608 (12-20-21): Virginia’s Coastal Resilience Planning Moves Forward in December 2021

CLICK HERE to listen to episode audio (5:18).

Sections below are the following:
Transcript of Audio
Audio Notes and Acknowledgments
Extra Information
Related Water Radio Episodes
For Virginia Teachers (Relevant SOLs, etc.).

Unless otherwise noted, all Web addresses mentioned were functional as of 12-17-21.


From the Cumberland Gap to the Atlantic Ocean, this is Virginia Water Radio for the week of December 20, 2021.

MUSIC – ~14 sec - - Lyrics: “When the rains come, when the rains come, is it gonna be a new day?”

That’s part of “Rains Come,” by the Harrisonburg and Rockingham County, Va.-based band The Steel Wheels, from their 2019 album “Over the Trees.”  It opens an update of a previous episode on the Virginia Coastal Resilience Master Plan—an effort to prepare for and adapt to sea-level rise, recurrent flooding, and impacts of climate change.  As in the earlier episode, we set the stage with part of “Cypress Canoe,” by Bob Gramann of Fredericksburg, Va., from his 2019 album “I Made It Just for You.”  The song’s a commentary on the current and potential impacts of sea-level rise, and in the part you’ll hear, the story-teller bemoans a lack of planning and action to avoid or reduce such impacts. Have a listen for about 20 seconds.

MUSIC – ~18 sec – Lyrics: “Half of a city awash in the tides; when I think of what happened, it tears my insides. Oh, we could’ve been smarter, we could’ve have planned, but the world caught a fever, infected by man.”

Facing current and predicted impacts to coastal areas from sea-level rise and recurrent flooding, Virginia has started planning.   On December 7, 2021, Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam announced completion of Phase One of the Coastal Resilience Master Plan.  Work on the plan started about four years ago accelerated after the November 2020 release of a planning framework identifying guiding principles and specific steps to complete the plan.  Since then, a technical study, the work of a technical advisory committee, and input from some 2000 stakeholders have helped form the plan.

The 266-page plan covers the area of Virginia from the Fall Line to the Atlantic coastline, which includes about six million residents.  For those areas, the plan identifies vulnerabilities to, and impacts from, current and expected sea-level rise and increased flooding.  It focuses on ways the Commonwealth can increase resilience, which the plan defines as “the capability to anticipate, prepare for, respond to, and recover from hazards to minimize damage to social well-being, health, the economy, and the environment.”  A Coastal Resilience Database compiled for the plan includes over 500 examples of projects to adapt to changing conditions and of initiatives to build capacity in information, skills, and tools.  Funding for such efforts may come from various sources, but one key source is the Virginia Community Flood Preparedness Fund, created by the Virginia General Assembly in 2020 and using money accrued from the auction of carbon allowances.

Implementation of the plan will be managed by the Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation in cooperation with the Commonwealth’s Chief Resilience Officer and the Special Assistant to the Governor for Coastal Adaptation and Protection.  Phase Two of the plan, with more data and project information, is to be completed by 2024, and updates to the whole plan are supposed to occur every five years.

According to the plan’s impact assessment, between now and 2080 Virginia is projected to face large increases in residents exposed to coastal flooding, in flood property damage, in roadway miles exposed to chronic flooding, and in losses of tidal wetlands, dunes, and beaches.  As Gov. Northam stated in a December 7 letter accompanying the plan’s release, the plan provides a “clearer picture of the scope and scale” of these challenges, catalogs current resilience efforts, and identifies gaps in actions and in information.  Here’s hoping Virginia puts its Coastal Resilience Master Plan to good use.

Thanks to The Steel Wheels and to Bob Gramann for permission to use this week’s music, and we close with about 10 more seconds of Mr. Gramann’s “Cypress Canoe.”

MUSIC – ~11 sec – instrumental.


Virginia Water Radio is produced by the Virginia Water Resources Research Center, part of Virginia Tech’s College of Natural Resources and Environment.  For more Virginia water sounds, music, or information, visit us online at virginiawaterradio.org, or call the Water Center at (540) 231-5624.  Thanks to Stewart Scales for his banjo version of Cripple Creek to open and close this episode.   In Blacksburg, I’m Alan Raflo, thanking you for listening, and wishing you health, wisdom, and good water.


This Virginia Water Radio episode is a follow-up to Episode 552, 11-23-20.

“Cypress Canoe,” from the 2019 album “I Made It Just for You,” is copyright by Bob Gramann, used with permission.  More information about Bob Gramann is available online at https://www.bobgramann.com/folksinger.html.  This music was used previously by Virginia Water Radio most recently in Episode 552, 11-23-20.

“Rains Come,” from the 2019 album “Over the Trees,” is copyright by The Steel Wheels, used with permission.  A July 2019 review by Americana Highways of this album and track is available online at https://americanahighways.org/2019/07/09/review-the-steel-wheels-over-the-trees-is-primary-rhythms-and-organic-melodies/.  More information about The Steel Wheels is available online at https://www.thesteelwheels.com/ and in a July 2015 article at http://whurk.org/29/the-steel-wheels.  This music was used previously by Virginia Water Radio in Episode 552, 11-23-20.

Click here if you’d like to hear the full version (1 min./11 sec.) of the “Cripple Creek” arrangement/performance by Stewart Scales that opens and closes this episode.  More information about Mr. Scales and the group New Standard, with which Mr. Scales plays, is available online at http://newstandardbluegrass.com.


Map of the four master planning regions, with their respective and the planning district commissions (PDC) and regional commissions (RC), in the “Virginia Coastal Resilience Master Plan, Phase I,” December 2021. Map from the plan document, page 9, accessed online https://www.dcr.virginia.gov/crmp/plan.

Chart of population and Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in the four master planning regions identified in the “Virginia Coastal Resilience Master Plan, Phase I,” December 2021. Image from the plan document, page 24, accessed online at https://www.dcr.virginia.gov/crmp/plan.


Following is an excerpt from the December 7, 2021, news release from Virginia Governor Ralph Northam’s office, Governor Northam Releases Virginia’s First Coastal Resilience Master Plan; Virginia takes monumental action to build a resilient coast, combating climate change and rising sea levels.

“HAMPTON—Governor Ralph Northam today released the Virginia Coastal Resilience Master Plan, providing a foundational and fundamental step towards protecting Virginia’s coast.

“Virginia's coastal areas face significant impacts from rising sea levels and increased storm flooding.  The Commonwealth, regional and local entities have to take meaningful and continuous action to ensure the long-term sustainability of Virginia’s coastal resources and communities. …

“Earlier this year, the Commonwealth worked with 2,000 stakeholders to build the Coastal Resilience Master Plan.  This plan documents which land is exposed to coastal flooding hazards now and into the future, as well as the impacts of those future scenarios on coastal Virginia’s community resources and manmade and natural infrastructure.

“The Master Plan concluded that between 2020 and 2080:

the number of residents living in homes exposed to extreme coastal flooding is projected to grow from approximately 360,000 to 943,000, an increase of 160%;

the number of residential, public, and commercial buildings exposed to an extreme coastal flood is projected to increase by almost 150%, from 140,000 to 340,000, while annualized flood damages increase by 1,300% from $0.4 to $5.1 billion;

the number of miles of roadways exposed to chronic coastal flooding is projected to increase from 1,000 to nearly 3,800 miles, an increase of nearly 280%; and

an estimated 170,000 acres, or 89%, of existing tidal wetlands and 3,800 acres, or 38%, of existing dunes and beaches may be permanently inundated, effectively lost to open water.

“The Coastal Resiliency Database and Web Explorer is a publicly available database that shows the impact of coastal flood hazards, current and proposed resilience projects, as well as funding sources.  This database will serve as a vital tool to support resilience efforts at the state, regional, and local levels. …

“The Commonwealth intends to develop successive updates of the Master Plan on at least a five-year cycle, managed by the Department of Conservation and Recreation in consultation with the Chief Resilience Officer, the Special Assistant to the Governor for Coastal Adaptation and Protection, and the Technical Advisory Committee.

“The next phase of the Master Plan is anticipated by 2024, will aim to address recommendations of the TAC to broaden the analysis of natural hazards by including rainfall-driven, riverine, and compound flooding, expand and improve the inventory of resilience projects, by continuing to add efforts and working with project owners to better understand the benefits of projects, and extend this critical work beyond the coastal region to encompass statewide resilience needs. …”


Used for Audio

Virginia Governor’s Office News Release, Governor Northam Releases Virginia’s First Coastal Resilience Master Plan; Virginia takes monumental action to build a resilient coast, combating climate change and rising sea levels, December 7, 2021.

Virginia Governor Ralph Northam, December 7, 2021, letter accompanying release of the Virginia Coastal Resilience Master Plan, online (as a PDF) at https://www.dcr.virginia.gov/crmp/document/CRMP-Gov-Letter.pdf.

Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation, “Community Flood Preparedness Fund Grants and Loans,” online at https://www.dcr.virginia.gov/dam-safety-and-floodplains/dsfpm-cfpf.

Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation, “Virginia Coastal Resilience Master Plan,” online at https://www.dcr.virginia.gov/crmp/plan.  The full document and a two-page summary are available on the page.   “Resilience” is defined in the Master Plan “Introduction” on page 5; the areas covered by the plan are identified in the “Introduction” on page 9; who’s coordinating the plan is identified in the “Introduction” on page 6.

Virginia Legislative Information System (LIS), online at http://lis.virginia.gov/lis.htm. See particularly the following bills related to recurrent coastal flooding:
2014 HJ 16 and SJ 3, calling for formation of the Joint Subcommittee to Formulate Recommendations for the Development of a Comprehensive and Coordinated Planning Effort to Address Recurrent Flooding;
2016 HJ 84 and SJ 58, continuing the work of the joint subcommittee formed in 2014 and changing it to the Joint Subcommittee on Coastal Flooding;
2016 SB 282, establishing the Virginia Shoreline Resiliency Fund;
2020 HB 22 and SB 320, continuing the Shoreline Resiliency Fund as the Community Flood Preparedness Fund;
2020 HB 981 and SB 1027, establishing a carbon allowances trading program for Virginia and providing that some of the revenue from the sale of carbon allowances go to the Community Flood Preparedness Fund.

For More Information about Sea Level Rise, Coastal and Tidal Flooding, and Resilience

John Boon et al., “Planning for Sea Level Rise and Coastal Flooding,” Virginia Institute of Marine Science (VIMS), October 2008, online (as PDF) at https://www.vims.edu/research/units/legacy/icccr/_docs/coastal_sea_level.pdf.

City of Alexandria, Va., “Flood Mitigation,” online at https://www.alexandriava.gov/special/waterfront/default.aspx?id=85880.

City of Norfolk, Va., “Flood Awareness and Mitigation,” online at https://www.norfolk.gov/1055/Flooding-Awareness-Mitigation.

City of Virginia Beach Department of Public Works, “Sea Level Wise,” online at https://www.vbgov.com/government/departments/public-works/comp-sea-level-rise/Pages/default.aspx.

Coastal Resilience, online at https://coastalresilience.org/. Coastal Resilience/Virginia is online at https://coastalresilience.org/category/virginia/.

Sandy Hausman, “Online Tool Helps Coastal Communities Plan for Climate Change,” WVTF FM-Roanoke, Va., 10/11/18, 2 min./34 sec. audio https://www.wvtf.org/post/online-tool-helps-coastal-communities-plan-climate-change#stream/0. This is a report about the Virginia Eastern Shore Coastal Resilience Mapping and Decision Support Tool.

Joey Holleman, “Designing for Water—Strategies to Mitigate Flood Impacts,” Coastal Heritage, Winter 2019, South Carolina Sea Grant Consortium, online at https://www.scseagrant.org/designing-for-water/.

Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), “Sixth Assessment Synthesis Report,” online at https://www.ipcc.ch/ar6-syr/.  Sea level rise is addressed in the “Physical Science Basis” section (by Working Group I), online at https://www.ipcc.ch/report/sixth-assessment-report-working-group-i/. The IPCC “Special Report on the Ocean and Cryosphere in a Changing Climate,” September 2019, is online at https://www.ipcc.ch/srocc/home/.

Rita Abou Samra, “Alexandria is already often waterlogged. How will it adjust to climate change?” 9/13/18, for Greater Greater Washington, online at https://ggwash.org/view/69058/alexandria-is-already-often-waterlogged-how-will-it-adjust-to-climate-change.

SeaLevelRise.org, “Virginia’s Sea Level Is Rising—And It’s Costing Over $4 Billion,” online at https://sealevelrise.org/states/virginia/.

U.S. Climate Variability and Predictability Program (US CLIVAR), “Sea Level Hotspots from Florida to Maine—Drivers, Impacts, and Adaptation,” April 23-25, 2019, workshop in Norfolk, Va., online at https://usclivar.org/meetings/sea-level-hotspots-florida-maine.

Virginia Institute of Marine Science (VIMS), “U.S. Sea Level Report Cards,” online at https://www.vims.edu/research/products/slrc/index.php.

Virginia Institute of Marine Science (VIMS), “Recurrent Flooding Study for Tidewater Virginia,” 2013, available online (as a PDF) at http://ccrm.vims.edu/recurrent_flooding/Recurrent_Flooding_Study_web.pdf.  This study was significant in the Virginia General Assembly’s formation in 2014 of the Joint Subcommittee to Formulate Recommendations for the Development of a Comprehensive and Coordinated Planning Effort to Address Recurrent Flooding.

Virginia Institute of Marine Science (VIMS)/Center for Coastal Resources Management, “Climate Change and Coastal Resilience,” online at https://www.vims.edu/ccrm/research/climate_change/index.php.  This site includes a 40-second video on sea level rise in Virginia and a 40-second video on nuisance flooding.

Wetlands Watch, “Dutch Dialogues—Virginia: Life at Sea Level,” online at http://wetlandswatch.org/dutch-dialogues.

William and Mary Law School/Virginia Coastal Policy Center, 7th Annual Conference: “The Three P’s of Resilience: Planning, Partnerships, and Paying for It All,” November 15, 2019, Williamsburg, Va., online at this link.


All Water Radio episodes are listed by category at the Index link above (http://www.virginiawaterradio.org/p/index.html).  See particularly the “Weather/Climate/Natural Disasters” subject category.

Following are links to some previous episodes on climate change, sea-level rise, and coastal flooding in Virginia.

Episode 231, 9-15-14 – Climate change impacts in Virginia National Park Service units, including Assateague Island National Seashore.
Episode 441, 10-8-18
– on sea-level rise and citizen measurement of king tides.
Episode 494, 10-14-19
– on sea-level rise and coastal flooding.
Episode 511, 2-10-20
– on sea-level rise and the Saltmarsh Sparrow.
Episode 552, 11-23-20 – on the Virginia Coastal Resilience Master Planning Framework.
Episode 602, 11-8-21 – on photosynthesis, including its relationship to climate change.


Following are some Virginia Standards of Learning (SOLs) that may be supported by this episode’s audio/transcript, sources, or other information included in this post.

2020 Music SOLs

SOLs at various grade levels that call for “examining the relationship of music to the other fine arts and other fields of knowledge.”

2018 Science SOLs

Grades K-5: Earth and Space Systems
4.4 – Weather conditions and climate have effects on ecosystems and can be predicted.

Grade 6
6.6 – Water has unique physical properties and has a role in the natural and human-made environment.
6.9 – Humans impact the environment and individuals can influence public policy decisions related to energy and the environment.

Life Science
LS.9 – Relationships exist between ecosystem dynamics and human activity.

Earth Science
ES.6 – Resource use is complex.
ES.8 – Freshwater resources influence and are influenced by geologic processes and human activity.
ES.10 – Oceans are complex, dynamic systems subject to long- and short-term variations.
ES.11 – The atmosphere is a complex, dynamic system subject to long-and short-term variations.
ES.12 – The Earth’s weather and climate result from the interaction of the sun’s energy with the atmosphere, oceans, and the land.

BIO.8 – Dynamic equilibria exist within populations, communities, and ecosystems.

2015 Social Studies SOLs

Virginia Studies Course
VS.10 – Knowledge of government, geography, and economics in present-day Virginia.

United States History: 1865-to-Present Course
USII.9 – Domestic and international issues during the second half of the 20th Century and the early 21st Century.

Civics and Economics Course
CE.7 – Government at the state level.
CE.8 – Government at the local level.
CE.10 – Public policy at local, state, and national levels.

World Geography Course
WG.2 – How selected physical and ecological processes shape the Earth’s surface, including climate, weather, and how humans influence their environment and are influenced by it.
WG.18 – Cooperation among political jurisdictions to solve problems and settle disputes.

Virginia and United States History Course
VUS.14 – Political and social conditions in the 21st Century.

Government Course
GOVT.8 – State and local government organization and powers.
GOVT.9 – Public policy process at local, state, and national levels.
GOVT.15 – Role of government in Va. and U.S. economies, including examining environmental issues and property rights.

Virginia’s SOLs are available from the Virginia Department of Education, online at http://www.doe.virginia.gov/testing/.

Following are links to Water Radio episodes (various topics) designed especially for certain K-12 grade levels.

Episode 250, 1-26-15 – on boiling, for kindergarten through 3rd grade.
Episode 255, 3-2-15 – on density, for 5th and 6th grade.
Episode 282, 9-21-15 – on living vs. non-living, for kindergarten.
Episode 309, 3-28-16 – on temperature regulation in animals, for kindergarten through 12th grade.
Episode 333, 9-12-16 – on dissolved gases, especially dissolved oxygen in aquatic habitats, for 5th grade.
Episode 404, 1-22-18 – on ice on ponds and lakes, for 4th through 8th grade.
Episode 406, 2-5-18 – on ice on rivers, for middle school.
Episode 407, 2-12-18 – on snow chemistry and physics, for high school.
Episode 483, 7-29-19 – on buoyancy and drag, for middle school and high school.
Episode 524, 5-11-20 – on sounds by water-related animals, for elementary school through high school.
Episode 531, 6-29-20 – on various ways that animals get water, for 3rd and 4th grade.
Episode 539, 8-24-20 – on basic numbers and facts about Virginia’s water resources, for 4th and 6th grade.
Episode 606, 12-6-21 – on freezing and ice, for kindergarten through 3rd grade.