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Public Meetings to Explore Ways to Plan for Sea Level Rise in Virginia Beach

Leaders of the Old Dominion University Climate Change and Sea Level Rise Initiative will take part in a series of listening sessions in Virginia Beach aimed at soliciting information from the community while also helping residents gain a better understanding of the complex topic of sea level rise.

In partnership with the University of Virginia's Institute for Environmental Negotiation, Hampton Roads Planning District Commission, City of Virginia Beach and Wetlands Watch, ODU will co-host the Virginia Beach Sea Level Rise Listening Sessions on Wednesday and Thursday, March 30-31.

During the four sessions, participants will share information and ideas about next steps in planning to address the issues and ensure that Virginia's coastal communities are prepared for sea level rise.

Sessions are scheduled for:

• March 30

1-4 p.m. at the Virginia Aquarium

5:30-8:30 p.m. at Red Mill Elementary on Sandbridge Road.

• March 31

8:30-11:30 a.m. at the Meyera E. Oberndorf Central Library on Virginia Beach Boulevard.

1-5 p.m. at Bayside Recreation Center

The Hampton Roads' economy and its citizens' property are vulnerable to sea level rise and natural coastal disasters. According to scientists, by 2100, the projected relative sea level rise in the Chesapeake Bay region is 2.3 to 5.2 feet, which is attributed to a combination of global oceans rising and the southeastern Virginia region subsiding. Virginia Beach could lose about 45,000 acres.

The Virginia Beach-Norfolk Metropolitan Statistical Area ranks 10th in the world in the value of assets exposed to increased flooding from relative level sea rise, and Hampton Roads is rated second to New Orleans as the most vulnerable area relative to sea level rise in the U.S.

While planning agencies have begun to recognize the urgency of the situation, many policymakers and citizens have questions about what sea level rise means for the community and what should be done about it.

This article was posted on: March 28, 2011

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