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Warner, Kaine Announce $835,000 For VIMS To Combat Sea Level Rise in Hampton Roads

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senators Mark R. Warner and Tim Kaine announced today that the Virginia Institute of Marine Science (VIMS) will receive $835,000 for research into cost-effective nature-based infrastructure from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) through the Coastal Resilience Grants Program. With a range from 1 ½ to 7 feet of sea level rise projected by the year 2100, the Hampton Roads region is the second largest population center at risk from sea level rise in the nation, behind only New Orleans. Analyses by the Congressional Budget Office and the Multihazard Mitigation Council of the National Institute of Building Sciences estimate that every $1 invested in resilient infrastructure upfront saves $3 to $4 in future losses on the back-end after a major disaster strikes.

“Each year, coastal Virginia sees major storms and flooding, and it’s wise to invest in resilient infrastructure upfront – not just after an extreme weather event – and to put the expertise of leading scientists at places like VIMS to good use,” the Senators said. “Resilience isn’t only about building seawalls and pumps but about making smarter use of nature’s infrastructure, like tidal wetlands that absorb more flood water and reduce risk to flood-prone areas. We are grateful to NOAA for recognizing this innovative research, and we will continue working to bolster Virginia’s resilience to sea level rise and climate change for the sake of our national security and coastal communities.”

Today’s funding was made available by NOAA’s Regional Coastal Resilience Grant Program, which provides grants to support communities and their planning efforts to combat negative impacts of rising oceans and coastal flooding. More information on today’s awards is available here.

In May, Warner and Kaine introduced the Building Up Infrastructure and Limiting Disasters through Resilience (BUILD Resilience) Acta bill to establish a competitive grant program for resilient infrastructure investment. This legislation will bolster the ability of regions like Hampton Roads to implement projects and strategies to reduce regional vulnerability to threats like sea level rise and recurrent flooding.