Category Archives: Economic Risk Management

Resilient Building Design: March 5, 2020

Resilient Building Design: March 5, 2020

A Presentation and Networking Event

Co-hosts: USGBC Virginia and Resilient Virginia

Thursday, March 5, 2020
4:00–6:00 PM

Rainwater Management Solutions
2550 Shenandoah Ave NW, Roanoke, VA 24017

Tickets: $10–$20

Speakers:

Steve Sunderman, RA, LEED AP BD+C, BPI, President, Terrazia PC: Defining a resilient high-performance (RHP) building, determining what are the most affordable strategies that create RHP buildings while maximizing return on investment, and how resilient design helps ensure sustainable and viable communities.

Alysson Blackwelder, Project Manager, Advocacy and Policy, U.S. Green Building Council: How USGBC tools and systems — LEED, SITES, PEER, and LEED for Cities — contribute to the resilience of a variety of projects, both in Virginia and regionally.

This event is the first of a four-part co-hosted series by Resilient Virginia and USGBC Virginia that explores the intersection of resiliency and green building.

Register Now

Resilient Virginia News: January 2020

What’s New

2010–2019: The Overheated Decade

According to independent analyses by NASA and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), released in a January 15, 2020 press conference, the last decade was the hottest on record. In addition, 2019 was the second-hottest year on record, only after 2016, which continued the long-term warming trend and made the last five years the hottest on record. Additionally, 19 of the hottest years have been in the last two decades.

“The decade that just ended is clearly the warmest decade on record,” said NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies (GISS) Director Gavin Schmidt. “Every decade since the 1960s clearly has been warmer than the one before.”

Since the 1880s, the average global surface temperature has risen and the average temperature is now more than 2 degrees Fahrenheit (a bit more than 1 degree Celsius) above that of the late 19th century. For reference, the last Ice Age was about 10 degrees Fahrenheit colder than pre-industrial temperatures.

Chart: Yearly temperature anomalies from 1880 to 2019This plot shows yearly temperature anomalies from 1880 to 2019, with respect to the 1951–1980 mean, as recorded by NASA, NOAA, and additional sources. All show rapid warming in the past few decades, and all show the past decade has been the warmest. Credits: NASA GISS/Gavin Schmidt

Using climate models and statistical analysis of global temperature data, scientists have concluded that this increase mostly has been driven by increased emissions into the atmosphere of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases produced by human activities.

“We crossed over into more than 2 degrees Fahrenheit warming territory in 2015 and we are unlikely to go back. This shows that what’s happening is persistent, not a fluke due to some weather phenomenon: we know that the long-term trends are being driven by the increasing levels of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere,” Schmidt said.

Weather dynamics often affect regional temperatures, so not every region on Earth experienced similar amounts of warming. NOAA found the 2019 annual mean temperature for the contiguous 48 United States was the 34th warmest on record, giving it a “warmer than average” classification. The Arctic region has warmed slightly more than three times faster than the rest of the world since 1970.

Rising temperatures in the atmosphere and ocean are contributing to the continued ice mass loss from Greenland and Antarctica, which will contribute to sea level rise, and to increases in some extreme events, such as heat waves, wildfires, intense precipitation.

Read the full press release here and view the slides from the press conference here.

In order to reverse these trends, rapid decarbonization will be required. How much and how soon is illustrated in this graphic.

Decarbonization required to reverse global warming trendSource: Robbie Andrew, CICERO Center for International Climate Research.

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Renewed Vision in 2020

By Annette Osso, Managing Director, Resilient Virginia

It’s increasingly important to keep focused on a way forward that allows us to take care of the environment that is the basis for our individual health and well-being, and for prosperity of communities of people, as well as other life on the planet. Resilient Virginia recommits in 2020 to its mission of accelerating resiliency planning in communities across Virginia. We recognize that changing climate, social, and economic conditions mean that old paradigms will not work, and that assessing increasing risks and forging adaptation strategies are critical to guide communities toward a vital future. We recognize that community well-being is not only tied to continued or renewed economic activity, but also the ability of all members of the community to have equitable access to education, to health, and to opportunity.

Resilient Virginia’s priorities for the next year follow below, as well as articles that we hope direct our readers toward a Renewed Vision in 2020. We ask that you consider supporting Resilient Virginia in the coming year as we recommit to supporting communities around the state.

Resilient Virginia’s 2020 Priorities

For the next year, Resilient Virginia is establishing a series of educational workshops, under the Resiliency Academy title, that focus on the resiliency planning process for local governments and communities, on building and infrastructure resiliency, and the role of ecosystem services in addressing greenhouse gas emissions. Look for announcements of our Resiliency Academy workshop series schedule, which will take place around the state, and for our jointly sponsored events with partner organizations such as the US Green Building Council-Virginia and Leaders in Energy.

Note: You can support the Resiliency Academy series development by becoming sponsor. View the sponsor information here or contact Annette Osso, Resilient Virginia Managing Director at osso@resilientvirginia.org.

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New Surveys Show Increased Understanding of Climate Crisis

Recent surveys indicate that nearly six in ten (58%) Americans are either “Alarmed” or “Concerned” about global warming, and that over the last five years the proportion of “Alarmed” nearly tripled. In addition, six in ten registered voters would support a President declaring a national emergency to act on global warming.

These findings are from the joint reports by the George Mason University Center for Climate Change Communication and the Yale Program on Climate Change Communication.

A survey report published in November 2019, Climate Change in the American Mind, is an update of the ongoing analysis of the “Six Americas” categorization of Americans, based on their climate change beliefs, attitudes and behaviors. The study indicates a dramatic shift toward percentages of the population most worried about global warming and most supportive of strong action to address carbon pollution reductions. This group now outnumbers people at the other end of the spectrum, the “Dismissives,” by three to one.

The report goes on to provide additional survey results, including whether people have perceived that they have been harmed by global warming and if they think that global warming made extreme weather events worse.

Many Americans think global warming made several extreme weather and related events worse in 2019Source: Climate Change in the American Mind, November 2019, Yale University and George Mason University. New Haven, CT: Yale Program on Climate Change Communication.

A January 2020 survey report, Politics & Global Warming, shows that more than four in ten registered voters (45%) say a candidate’s position on global warming will be very important when they decide who they will vote for in the 2020 presidential election. While global warming is in the top 10 concerns for Democrats, this is not the case for Republicans.

Additional survey results indicate that majorities of registered voters support polices to reduce carbon pollution, such as a Revenue-Neutral Carbon Tax or a Fee and Dividend initiative. Also large majorities of registered voters support providing tax rebates for energy-efficient vehicle or solar panel purchases and funding more research into renewable energy sources.

Finally, more than half of registered voters would support a presidential declaration of a climate national emergency. These results include a majority of Democrats (85%) and Independents (57%) and about one-third of Republicans (35%).

Six in Ten Voters Would Support a President Declaring a National Emergency to Act on Global WarmingSource: Politics & Global Warming, November 2019. Yale University and George Mason University. New Haven, CT: Yale Program on Climate Change Communication.

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Progress on Governor Northam’s Climate Related Executive Orders

By Tracy Garland, Director, Social Media and Events, Resilient Virginia

Activity at the state level to mitigate the effects of climate change is heating up. At the November 2019 Virginia Coastal Policy Center’s Conference, updates on the state’s progress was conveyed by the Governor’s resiliency team.

Rear Admiral (Ret.) Ann PhillipsIn 2018, Virginia Governor Ralph Northam signed Executive Order 24, “Increasing Virginia’s Resilience to Sea Level Rise and Natural Hazards.” Rear Admiral (Ret.) Ann Phillips, Special Assistant to the Governor for Coastal Adaptation and Protection, reported that the Governor’s office has been focused on implementing that order by setting statewide standards to reduce the vulnerability of state owned buildings; developing a coastal resilience master plan; and focusing on communication, coordination, and collaboration across state, federal, and local stakeholders. She announced that phase one of the master plan is scheduled for completion in the spring of 2020 and noted that four key priorities emerged in the planning process:

  • the use of natural and nature-based features as a first line of defense;
  • collaborative efforts across regions, localities and communities;
  • environmental equity;
  • and planning across federal agencies.

Rear Admiral Phillips explained that many of the coastal resilience issues being addressed now are statewide issues as well and identified the need for a statewide resilience plan, statewide predictive rainfall data, statewide predictive floodplain data, a statewide riverine and coastal gauge system, and consistent and dedicated funding to help localities address these issues. Finally, she identified four key elements that are common to states making progress in resiliency planning:

  • state funding and prioritization;
  • strong philanthropic support to fill in the gaps;
  • business community collaboration and sponsorship; and
  • a strong, centralized, state funded, and collaborative process that is authorized from the top down.

Virginia Secretary of Natural Resources Matthew J. StricklerAdditional comments by Virginia Secretary of Natural Resources Matthew J. Strickler further detailed a number of other critical steps directed by Executive Order 24 that have now been completed. These include developing a unified sea level rise standard projection and free board standard for state-owned buildings, and a review of Virginia’s compliance with flood protection and dam safety laws.

As a result of recommendations from that process, Governor Northam has signed Executive Order 45, creating the Virginia Flood Risk Management Standard. The standard is the first of its kind in the country and will ensure that state building projects are cited more thoughtfully and designed to handle current and projected future flooding events. In addition to the standard for new buildings, EO 45 requires the creation of a cabinet level working group to develop similar standards for other state-supported developments like transportation infrastructure. The standards also ensure that Virginia is in compliance with the National Flood Insurance Program and eligible for federal flood insurance and hazard mitigation grants. He announced that Virginia now has the strongest flooding elevation standard in the country, which will protect both assets and taxpayers by reducing damage from sea level rise, storm surge, and more intense precipitation events.

You can review these comments and slides from the complete agenda of the Virginia Coastal Policy Center’s 2019 Conference: The Three Ps of Resilience: Planning, Partnerships, and Paying for It AllClick here for links to the videos and slideshow presentations.

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State Legislature Takes on Clean Energy and Climate Resiliency

This year many Virginia General Assembly members are taking up the challenge of moving rapidly away from fossil fuels to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Additional bills address guidelines for state and local governments to be aware of the impacts of climate change, supporting economic transitions to a clean energy economy, supporting farmers and local rural economies, and natural resource protection. All these aspects of resiliency are evident in some of the 100’s of related pieces of legislation moving through General Assembly committees at this time. A sampling of the legislation being considered include:

Virginia Clean Economy Act (HB 1526) — Senator Jennifer McClellan, Delegate Rip Sullivan, Delegate Jennifer Carroll Foy and a broad and diverse coalition of advocacy groups and business voices unveiled the Virginia Clean Economy Act. The VCEA is expected to set a goal of a 100% carbon-free electricity supply by 2050 for the Commonwealth (through all of the state’s electric utilities). This 30-year goal would be achieved by jointly increasing Virginia’s energy efficiency levels and cleaning up its energy supply sources. It also ensures joining RGGI, a mandatory RPS (Renewable Portfolio Standard), and adds requirements for more effective energy efficiency programs by utilities.

Virginia’s Green New Deal Act (HB 77) — Delegate Sam Rasoul introduced the Green New Deal Act; Fossil Fuel Projects Moratorium, Clean Energy Mandates, Civil Penalties bill (or Virginia’s Green New Deal Act). The VA-GND would require that at least 80% of the electricity sold in calendar years 2028 through 2035 be generated from clean energy resources. In calendar year 2036 and every calendar year thereafter, 100% of the electricity sold is required to be generated from clean energy resources. The measure also requires the DMME to adopt a Climate Action Plan that addresses all aspects of climate change, including mitigation, adaptation, and resiliency. Additional aspects include job training especially for workers transitioning from fossil fuel jobs.

State, Regional, and Local Planning; Climate Change (HB672) — Introduced by Delegate Rodney Willett and others. This bill establishes a policy of the Commonwealth to prevent and to minimize actions that contribute to the detrimental effects of anthropogenic climate change in the Commonwealth. The bill requires any state agency to examine any new regulation or policy involving state action or funds in relation to its impact on climate change and its effects thereof prior to adopting or implementing such regulation or policy. The bill requires local and regional planning commissions to consider the impacts from and causes of climate change in adopting a comprehensive plan, regional strategic plan, or zoning ordinance.

Local Food and Farming Infrastructure Fund (HB1034) — Introduced by Delegate Sam Rasoul. Establishes the Local Food and Farming Infrastructure Fund and directs the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services to establish a Local Food and Farming Infrastructure Grant Program for infrastructure development projects that support local food production and sustainable farming. The bill directs the Department to award grants for projects that include the establishment or maintenance of farmers markets; businesses or organizations that manage the aggregation, distribution, and marketing of food products primarily from local and regional producers; and primarily locally owned processing facilities. The Department is required to adopt project eligibility criteria that favor projects that create infrastructure in proximity to small-scale rural agricultural producers.

Resilience Hubs for Vulnerable Communities (HB 959) — Introduced by Delegate Jeffrey Bourne. This bill directs the Department of Emergency Management to establish a two-year resilience hub pilot program to assist vulnerable communities during emergency situations. The bill defines a “resilience hub” as a simple combination of solar panels and batteries that ensures continuous power to a publicly accessible building when severe weather events or other grid disruptions cause an electrical outage.

Food Production Challenges and Solutions

Food Production Challenges and Solutions

By Tracy Garland, Director Social Media and Events, Resilient Virginia

As the climate changes, so do the challenges facing farmers and ranchers. Agricultural producers have always had to handle weather-related risks, but climate change means that weather patterns have become more variable than ever and the attendant risks have increased. Prolonged and extreme droughts, warmer winters and longer growing seasons are causing increasing pest populations and more frequent crop failures. The challenges are further exacerbated in areas where competition for water is growing. Agricultural producers are now forced to adapt to a changing climate or potentially lose their businesses and livelihoods. The challenges are many and varied as are the solutions.

Fortunately, some of the best strategies for addressing climate change have been under development and testing, both formally and informally, by sustainable agriculture practitioners for decades. Key practices include a focus on healthy soils to help buffer against variability in precipitation; diversifying production systems to build soil health; pursuing diversified, high-value marketing to spread out risk; and adopting ecological design of systems to better adapt to the local climate and landscape.

21st Annual Virginia Biological Farming Conference

The topic of climate resilience was a prominent part the agenda at the 27th Annual Virginia Association of Biological Farmers (VABF) Conference, held in January 2020 in Roanoke. The event took a deep dive into resiliency in agriculture, with workshops ranging from ecologically based weed management to soil fertility. Brent Wills, President of the Board of Directors of VABF, commented that “climate resiliency is a growing concern in Virginia and will be a focus for the organization into the foreseeable future.”

For more information about climate resiliency in agriculture, here are several resources:

Cultivating Climate Resilience on Farms and Ranches (US Department of Agriculture (USDA), Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education) This bulletin outlines the new challenges that changing weather patterns pose in agriculture throughout the United States, and ways to make farms more resilient.

Adaptation Resources for Agriculture: Responding to Climate Variability and Change in the Midwest and Northeast. (USDAClimate Hubs) This technical bulletin contains information and resources designed to help agricultural producers, service providers, and educators in the Midwest and Northeast regions of the United States integrate climate change considerations and action-oriented decisions into existing farm and conservation plans.

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Resilience Events Calendar

Here are some highlights of events happening this Winter.

February 10: Webinar — Communicating the Climate Crisis. 3:00 PM. Information and registration available here.

February 28: 6th Annual Clean Energy Extravaganza. Co-sponsored by Leaders in Energy and Association of Energy Engineers-National Capital Chapter. University of Maryland, College Park, MD. Click here for more information.

March 5: Resilient Building Design. Jointly hosted by Resilient Virginia and USGBC-Virginia. Speakers, Steve Sunderman, Terrazia, and Alysson Blackwelder, USGBC. Roanoke, VA.

April 18: Arlington Home Show. Sponsored by Arlington County and Resilient Virginia. Stay tuned for information of our “Flood-Ready” workshop at this event. Arlington, VA.

April 22: 50th Anniversary of Earth Day. Connect with the Virginia Earth Day events or add your own event at www.earthday.org You can contact the Virginia Campaign Manager, Terra Pascarosa, at pascarosa@earthday.org

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Membership

It’s Our Future — Sign Up today!

Support Resilient Virginia’s Goals

*Inform   *Educate   and   *Activate

Virginia communities and help them build resiliency to ensure continued prosperity, national security, and climate change adaptation.

Thanks for your support!

Annual Sponsor

Clark Nexsen

Members

Robert Baldwin

Jori Erdman

Josh Foster

Sena Magill

Neda Nazemi

Sobis Inc.

Thomas Jefferson PDC

Vestal Tutterow

With your support we can expand our resiliency information hub, carry out workshops and conferences, and offer communities tools they need to address climate change.

You can help by:

Becoming a Member
Signing on as an Annual Sponsor

Continue your support throughout the year by using one or both of these online shopping sites that contribute to Resilient Virginia:

amazon-smileIf Amazon is your online shopping choice, go to Smile.Amazon.com and designate Resilient Virginia and we will receive a donation with every purchase.

goodshopFind lots of discounts and many participating stores for office supplies, general shopping, and special event gifts.

JOIN TODAY — IT’S OUR FUTURE!

Resilient Virginia News: October 2019

What’s New

Environment, Energy, Equity, Economics and More — Plenary Videos from 2019 Resilient Virginia Conference Now Available!

By Tracy Garland, Events and Social Media Director, Resilient Virginia

We are pleased to let you know that the Plenary Presentations from the 2019 Resilient Virginia Conference, held at the UVA Darden School of Business on July 17–18, are now available.

Plenary Session 1: Setting the Stage — Addressing Challenges and Finding Solutions


Guest Speakers:

Joshua Saks, the Deputy Secretary of Natural Resources for Virginia, gave an overview of resiliency challenges facing the Commonwealth and actions being taken at the state level. He explained that initiatives like the Resilient Virginia Conference, the creation of his Deputy Secretary position, and the Governor’s appointment of a new Special Assistant for Coastal Adaptation and Flooding Resilience will help in moving the Commonwealth forward. He also highlighted Governor Northam’s Executive Order 24: Increasing Virginia’s Resilience to Sea Level Rise and Natural Hazards.

Karen McGlathery, Ph.D., Director of the Environmental Resilience Institute (ERI) and Professor at UVA’s Department of Environmental Sciences, gave an overview of ERI’s work in resiliency, including supporting interdisciplinary research team projects, building partnerships that translate research to action, and training the next generation of leaders. She then detailed their work in three focus areas: climate resilience, water and energy futures, and environment and health.

Brad Townsend, Senior Solutions Fellow and Innovation Director for the Center for Climate and Energy Solutions outlined their organization’s Climate Innovation 2050 project, which works with more than two dozen large companies to examine potential pathways toward decarbonizing the U.S. economy. Principal outputs have included a policy brief of bipartisan solutions for the federal level; a report of three alternative scenarios for reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 80% by 2050, and a comprehensive strategy of high-priority policies and business actions to be released in late 2019.

Jane English, Program Manager of Environmental and Climate Justice at the NAACP, described the program’s three key objectives: reduction of harmful emissions; advancing clean and efficient energy, and strengthening community resilience and climate adaptation. The organization is working throughout the NAACP’s 2,200 branches in the US to create community Environment and Climate Justice Committees. She described how different populations are impacted differently by climate change, and how NAACP is working to help groups like people of color, the elderly, low income and LGBTQ, bring their voices to the decision-making tables, and to provide information to communities on how to survive the impacts of climate change.

And you can view these additional videos:

Plenary Session 2: Rural and Urban Resiliency — A Dialogue on Interdependence


Speakers:

Jonah Fogel, Program Manager, Environmental Resilience Institute, UVA (Moderator)
Hamilton Lombard, Research Specialist at UVAs Weldon Cooper Center for Public Service
Amy Thompson, AICP, LEED AP ND, Senior Planner, Perkins + Will
Jon Penndorf, FAIA, Sustainability Leader, Perkins + Will
Anthony Flaccavento, Founder and President of Sequestering Carbon, Accelerating Local Economies (SCALE)

Plenary Session 3: Moving Virginia Forward — Policy and Program


Speakers:

Jewel Bronaugh, Commissioner, Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Affairs
Chris Wiegard, Virginia Co-Coordinator, Citizens Climate Lobby
Karen Campblin, Co-Chair, Virginia’s Green New Deal
Karla Loeb, Chief Policy and Development Officer, Sigora Solar

Plenary Session 4: Resilience Progress — Virginia and the Region


Speakers:

Steve Walz, Environmental Program Director, Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments
Susan Elliott, Climate Protection Program Manager, City of Charlottesville
Andrea Trimble, CEM, LEED AP BD+C, O+M, Director, UVA’s Office of Sustainability
Narissa Turner, Climate Program Coordinator, Albemarle County
Ben McFarlane, AICP, CFM, Senior Regional Planner, Hampton Roads Planning District Commission

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Presentations available from the 2019 Virginia Clean Energy Summit

Highlights from the VA Clean Energy Summit

The Virginia Clean Energy Summit, held September 17 in Richmond, was a definitive success, not only by being the first clean energy conference in the state, but also because it brought together over 400 attendees. The conference highlighted current opportunities and directions needed to accelerate the use of more energy efficiency, solar, wind, storage, electric vehicles, and other clean energy solutions in the Commonwealth.

The conference was co-hosted by MDV-SEIA, Resilient Virginia, Virginia AEE, VAEEC, and VA-REA, with supporting roles from the JMU’s Office for the Advancement of Sustainable Energy, the VA DMME, and Viridiant.

Notably, the keynote address by Governor Ralph Northam featured the announcement of Executive Order 43, which supports his goals of reducing environmental impact, mitigating the impacts of climate change, and boosting the clean energy economy in Virginia.

From the press release: The Executive Order lays out Virginia’s objectives for statewide energy production, which includes the goal that by 2030, 30 percent of Virginia’s electric system will be powered by renewable energy resources and by 2050, 100 percent of Virginia’s electricity will be produced from carbon-free sources such as wind, solar and nuclear. The path forward includes ensuring at least 3,000 megawatts of solar and onshore wind are under development by 2022, and that up to 2,500 megawatts of offshore wind are fully developed on an accelerated timeline by 2026.

Breakout session speakers’ presentations on a range of timely topics are available on the conference website.

The conference also resulted in an Energy News Network article featuring Annette Osso, Resilient Virginia Managing Director, who shared comments on the conference’s positive results, along with the need for accelerated clean energy initiatives and resiliency planning throughout the state. Read the interview by journalist Elizabeth McGowan here.

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Resilience Funding Announcement

The National League of Cities 2020 Leadership in Community Resilience program is now accepting applications from cities seeking additional funding for resilience-related projects. Each city selected for the 2020 cohort will receive $10,000 in financial support, advisory services and a site visit from NLC staff, as well as an invitation to NLC’s annual resilience summit for the city’s mayor and a staff member. Apply hereThe deadline for applications is December 20, 2019.

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Welcome to Resilient Virginia’s 2019–2020 Board of Directors

NEW OFFICERS

Co-Chairmen
Andrew V. “Andy” Sorrell
Deputy Director, Virginia Tobacco Commission

Steve Sunderman, RA, LEED AP BD+C, BPI
President, Terrazia PC

Vice Chair
Ellen Graap Loth
Principal, Cardno, Inc.

Secretary
Jennie DeVeaux
Senior Executive Consultant for Resilience at Witt O’Brien’s

Treasurer
Vestal Tutterow, PE, CEM
Program Manager, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory

DIRECTORS

William Bohn, Chief Operating Officer, SOBIS, Inc.
Lisa Jeffrey, PE, Senior Associate, Hazen
Rebecca Joyce, Community Program Manager, Central Shenandoah Planning District Commission
Erin Sutton, MS, CEM, PMP, Director, Office of Emergency ManagementCity of Virginia Beach

And “Thank You” to Departing Board Members
Nell Boyle, LEED AP, Sustainability Coordinator, City of Roanoke
Jerry Eastridge, LLA, BPI, Principal, GSPH LLC
Jane Frantz, AICP, PMP, CFM, Associate Vice President, Dewberry

Find more information about Resilient Virginia Board Members here.

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Reflections on Sea Level Rise and Climate-Induced Migration

Editor’s Note: Resilient Virginia invites Annual Sponsors to write guest articles for the newsletter and website. We thank Clark Nexsen, a Community Leader Annual Sponsor, for giving permission to reprint an article by Graduate Fellow, Zane Havens.

Design Thinking: How My Resiliency Fellowship Changed My Definition of a Resilient Future

by Zane Havens

When I began my one year resiliency fellowship, I expected to explore how innovative technologies could support a resilient future in coastal zones. Perhaps unavoidably, I approached my work initially with certain preconceived notions about how static structures, infrastructure, and other design methodologies could and would impact what our communities look like in 200 years.

Photograph by Aileen Devlin, courtesy of Virginia Sea Grant.

Photograph by Aileen Devlin, courtesy of Virginia Sea Grant. As part of Zane’s research, he visited communities impacted by coastal flooding, including this Princeville, NC church that was destroyed by hurricane flooding. From left to right: Tom Duckwall, Buoyant Foundation Project; Janice Bulluck, Radicue Primitive Baptist Association; Zane Havens; and Deacon William Taylor, Radicue Primitive Baptist Association.

Today, a year later, my resiliency journey has taken me to a very different place with different views on what a resilient future looks like. My understanding of how institutional resiliency — meaning the ability of our governing institutions to adapt to disturbance through policy and changes in management practices — impacts a sustainable coastal future has evolved significantly. That’s not to say I don’t have some innovative or potentially even radical ideas about resilient design in the coastal setting — I certainly do — but I have a new awareness of and appreciation for the fact that an inevitable change is coming for coastal communities.

The simple and painful reality is that one day in the future, a migration of the general population from current coastal areas to less flood-prone, inland environments will be forced upon us. It can be hard to effectively visualize what the future looks like when it won’t impact you personally — and perhaps won’t impact your children, grandchildren, or even great-grandchildren. However, while we may not know precisely how drastic sea level rise will be and when, the recurrent and increasingly frequent nature of coastal flooding is our first clue that in 100, 150, or 200 years, our coastal communities will look very different because we will have no choice but to live a different way.

The question I’m most compelled by is how to create a “pull” factor that can incentivize migration from high-risk coastal areas to safer, more sustainable communities, and achieving this in a way that utilizes the gradual development of opportunity in elevated locations, rather than sudden coastal catastrophe, as the driver for migration.

We need a dual approach — investing wisely in making the infrastructure we’ll need (ports, critical and emergency services, etc.) more resilient — while also communicating that protecting and preserving will not permanently stave off this change. We need a new way of living. My future white paper will explore this concept in greater detail, but for now I pose the central question outward — how do we form a pull driver compelling enough to draw our coastal population to safer, more resilient ground?

(This is an excerpt from the longer article which can be read here.)

Zane HavensZane Havens, Resiliency Graduate, has dedicated the last year to researching coastal resiliency through a fellowship sponsored by the Virginia Sea Grant and host organization Clark Nexsen. He holds a Bachelor’s in Earth Science from Albion College and is currently pursuing a Ph.D. in Environmental Science from the University of Virginia.


Clark Nexsen regularly collaborates with the Virginia Joint Subcommittee on Coastal Flooding, the ODU Center for Coastal Resilience (CCRFR), the Virginia Sea Grant and the Hampton Roads Planning District Commission’s (HRPDC) Coastal Resilience Subcommittee to analyze coastal flooding in Hampton Roads and advise on legislation, policy, and practice toward the planning and design of resilient infrastructure. Currently, Clark Nexsen is evaluating proposed building requirements for finished floor elevations for all state owned buildings to account for sea level rise. This was a result of Governor Ralph Northam’s Executive Order #24, “Increasing Virginia’s Resilience to Sea Level Rise and Natural Hazards,” which is scheduled to be released in the next few months.

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Report from Charlottesville: A Guest Article Featuring a Regional Climate Coalition

By Marcia Geyer, Vice-Chairperson, Cville100

Charlottesville breeds a seemingly endless variety of groups organized around any subject, including resistance to climate change. At the November 2017 meeting of 350 Central Virginia, we accepted Joanie Freeman’s challenge to get our movement out of silos, communicating and collaborating. Out of the outreach was born the Cville100 climate coalition (100 for a fossil free mission), originally with seven member organizations, now with 15, and growing rapidly again as the climate crisis becomes a hot topic.

Fairly soon after formally organizing, a second priority was added to communication and collaboration: becoming a conduit for our members to work with and support the City of Charlottesville and County of Albemarle on passing each of their commitments to GHG reduction goals that meet the minimums required to avoid the worst effects of climate change.

More recently, a third priority has emerged, that our local coalition is only at the beginning of fulfilling: to greatly expand the number of climate activists so that we become a critical mass that reaches a tipping point of leverage for making the many, sometimes difficult changes to avoid further escalating the climate crisis. Personally, as a movement person, I’ve been here before — as a college student and campus leader during the civil rights movement of the ’60s. To me it feels very like 1962, about 18 months before the August 1963 March on Washington that brought together a wide spectrum of organizations to become a powerful, unified movement. That’s where we are going and need to go. Together.


One outreach tool several of us created for Cville100 coalition members, and now share with you to use with relatively uninformed audiences, is an 18 minute video about the known health effects of climate change, focused as closely as data was available on Charlottesville. We invite you to view and share the following video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_rh8oFecY6Y.

Like Cville 100 Facebook Page at facebook.com/cville100coalition/

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Volunteer Position Open!

CALENDAR EVENT VOLUNTEER” — Your important job is to keep the Resilient Virginia calendar up-to-date with the latest listings of Virginia and national resiliency events, and to alert people to the valuable webinars available that range from resilient building design to emergency management to carbon neutral cities to regenerative agriculture. Help us spread the word on these important resiliency issues and events. Contact Annette Osso (osso@resilientvirginia.org) if you would like to become the next “Calendar Event Volunteer.”


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Resilience Events Calendar

Here are some highlights of events happening this Fall.

November 14, 2019: VA Energy Efficiency Council Fall Forum. Register here.

November 15, 2019: The Three Ps of Resilience: Planning, Partnerships, and Paying for It All, William and Mary Virginia Coastal Policy Center 2019 Conference. Find out more and register here.

November 16, 2019: Fourth Annual Solar Congress, Solar United Neighbors. Find out more and register here.

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Membership

Turn Over a New Leaf — Join or renew today!

Support Resilient Virginia’s Goals

*Inform   *Educate   and   *Activate

Virginia communities and help them build resiliency to ensure continued prosperity, national security, and climate change adaptation.

You can help by:

Becoming a Member
Signing on as an Annual Sponsor

Continue your support throughout the year by using one or both of these online shopping sites that contribute to Resilient Virginia:

amazon-smileIf Amazon is your online shopping choice, go to Smile.Amazon.com and designate Resilient Virginia and we will receive a donation with every purchase.

goodshopFind lots of discounts and many participating stores for office supplies, general shopping, and special event gifts.

JOIN TODAY — IT’S OUR FUTURE!

Reflections on Sea Level Rise and Climate-Induced Migration

Editor’s Note: Resilient Virginia invites Annual Sponsors to write guest articles for the newsletter and website. We thank Clark Nexsen, a Community Leader Annual Sponsor, for giving permission to reprint an article by Graduate Fellow, Zane Havens.

Design Thinking: How My Resiliency Fellowship Changed My Definition of a Resilient Future

by Zane Havens

When I began my one year resiliency fellowship, I expected to explore how innovative technologies could support a resilient future in coastal zones. Perhaps unavoidably, I approached my work initially with certain preconceived notions about how static structures, infrastructure, and other design methodologies could and would impact what our communities look like in 200 years.

Photograph by Aileen Devlin, courtesy of Virginia Sea Grant.

Read more

Resilient Virginia News: August 2019

What’s New

Virginia Clean Energy Summit

Virginia Clean Energy Summit

Tuesday, September 17th | Richmond Convention Center | Richmond, Virginia

You’re invited to attend the first Virginia Clean Energy Summit. The conference goal is to highlight opportunities and encourage collaboration that accelerate the use of more energy efficiency, solar, wind, storage, EVs, and other clean energy solutions in the state. Conference attendees will include representatives from businesses, state and local governments, academia, and NGOs.

Who You Will Hear

  • Morning Keynote: Governor Ralph Northam
  • Lunch Keynote: Claire Broido Johnson, SunEdison Co-Founder
  • Breakout Session Speakers from Solar, Wind, and Energy Efficiency Businesses, State and Local Governments, Universities, and Associations

Topics Will Include

  • Transforming the energy grid;
  • Local government, residential, and business market segment solutions;
  • Finance options, including C-PACE and private investment;
  • Local energy security with microgrids and innovative technology;
  • Utility energy efficiency programs;
  • Electricity rate design;
  • Transportation and mobility; and
  • Solar, wind, batteries, electric vehicles, and smart building technology.

Conference organizers have secured speakers from across the state and the nation to discuss Virginia’s clean energy development — see the lineup here and register to attend.

Register Now

Co-hosted by MDV-SEIA, Resilient Virginia, Virginia AEE, VAEEC, and VA-REA, with supporting roles from JMU’s Office for the Advancement of Sustainable Energy, the VA DMME, and Viridiant.

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Resilient Virginia Conference — Sessions Reflect Rural/Urban Theme

2019 Resilient Virginia Conference

The 2019 Resilient Virginia Conference, held at the UVA Darden School of Business, brought together over 300 motivated participants from state and local governments, from universities and community organizations, and from the business sector. Speakers and attendees shared their progress in planning and implementing resiliency activities around the state and at the regional and national levels.

Our theme this year — Connecting Rural and Urban Communities for a Resilient Future — was reflected throughout the conference.

Annette Osso, Managing Director of Resilient Virginia, provided introductory remarks on the rural-urban interdependency dynamic that was summarized in this graphic.

Urban-Rural Interdependence

The theme also set the stage for an innovative exchange of ideas in the early afternoon Plenary Session with Anthony Flaccavento, SCALE; Perkins + Will representatives, Amy Thompson and Jon Penndorf; and Hamilton Lombard from UVA’s Cooper Weldon Center, led by Jonah Fogel, from the UVA Environmental Resilience Institute.

2019 Resilient Virginia Conference Plenary

One of the points made by the Plenary speakers was the fact that while urban and rural areas may not be seen as “equal,” they both have vital, if sometimes not fully recognized interdependencies. These include contributions to the economy, access to local foods, improving health, and protection of natural resources.

Anthony Flaccavento commented on the “mutuality” factor, for example, that rural communities can benefit from the experience of cities and urban areas in adopting smart growth planning policies. The Perkins + Will speakers mentioned the importance of areas surrounding urban centers to help address increasing stormwater and flooding occurances.

Speakers also commented on the “food desert” problems in both rural and urban areas, with the need and opportunity for a win-win dynamic of supporting the livelihoods of local farmers while bringing fresher, more nutritious foods to neighborhoods.

View Anthony Flaccavento’s and the Perkins+Will presentations on the conference webpage.

In addition, the Conference Breakout Sessions carried forth the Rural/Urban theme by bringing together examples of resiliency initiatives from across the state and region. These ranged from the resiliency role of ecosystems and agriculture to the progress being made in Hampton Roads and Northern Virginia on climate adaptation plans for infrastructure.

We have heard much positive feedback about the event, including these comments:

“Great turnout and a lot of fun with smart people ready to take action!”
—Hilari Varnadore, Director, LEED for Cities and Communities, USGBC

“Inspiring to see so many people focused on the same resiliency challenges.”

“Great turnout, great speakers, great conference!”
— Chris McDonald, Director of Government Relations, Virginia Association of Counties

Look for not only the session PowerPoint presentations, but also the Plenary Session videos to be posted on our website in the near future.


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Land and Natural Resource Use Loom Large for Climate Impact: Two Articles Present Global and Regional Perspectives

By Tracy Garland, Social Media Director, Resilient Virginia

Land Use and Climate Impact

Study Highlights Land Use as Climate Concern and Part of Solution

A new report released by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) highlights the importance of land as both a potential source of greenhouse gas emissions and as a climate change solution. IPCC’s Special Report on Climate Change and Land (SRCCL) concluded that keeping global warming well below 2°C can be achieved only by reducing greenhouse gas emissions in all sectors, including land use and agriculture.

The IPCC reported that about 23% of human-caused greenhouse gas emissions come from changes to landscapes for agriculture, forestry, and other uses. On the other hand, land sequesters almost a third of all human-caused carbon dioxide emissions. However, in order to scale back rising temperatures, we need to change the way we produce food and manage land.

The report highlights several areas of concern:

  • Current land use management techniques are exacerbating climate change.
  • Land is a critical carbon sink, removing more emissions than they generate.
  • Land is being negatively impacted by climate change.
  • Several promising “land-centric” proposals exist to reduce emissions and/or remove carbon while providing other significant benefits.
  • All proposed solutions require careful study of risks and trade-offs.

Of particular concern when considering proposed land-based climate solutions are their potential impacts on other land needs, such as food and water security. In addition, if climate change solutions are not more actively pursued in the energy and transport sectors, land-based solutions will become even more necessary.

The primary conclusion of the report is that, when done correctly, land-based solutions can reduce emissions while providing other environmental and social benefits. However, when done poorly, land-based solutions can exacerbate food security and environmental problems. Careful risk and trade-off analysis are necessary to successfully perform this delicate balancing act.

Sources:
Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Special Report on Climate Change and Land, August 2019, IPCC.

7 Things to Know About the IPCC’s Special Report on Climate Change and Land. August 8, 2019, Kelly Levin and Sarah Parsons, World Resources Institute.

Model Shows Effects of Climate Change in Appalachian Regions

Appalachian RegionsThe Appalachian Mountains are known for their high peaks and deep valleys, but what is often underappreciated is the role that they play in supplying water to the Appalachian region and beyond. A new study highlights how climate change could play a role in the ability of the mountains to continue to provide water security both within and beyond the region’s borders.

Important population centers in the eastern and midwestern United States rely on the Appalachian mountain region for water supply. The high Appalachian mountain ridges are able to hold moisture from the atmosphere, essentially acting as a reservoir, before sending that water down rivers and streams and through aquifers to supply water to millions of people. Therefore, changes to the climate of the Appalachian region can have far-reaching impacts on water supply in a large area of the southeastern U.S.

Researchers at West Virginia University’s Mountain Hydrology Laboratory recently released their findings on the potential impact of climate change on water security in the seven-state Appalachian region. They found that the Appalachian region will be getting hotter, drier, and yet wetter by 2050 if nothing is done to curb climate change.

Hotter: as the global temperature rises, Appalachia could become five to ten degrees hotter by 2050.
Drier: As the atmosphere warms, water that is held in vegetation, soils, and water bodies evaporates, causing dryer conditions. Crops and the animals and humans that rely upon those crops will be negatively impacted.
Wetter: The rapid evaporation from the vegetation, soils and waterbodies then saturates the atmosphere, causing pouring rains. With the heavy rain comes landslides and floods.

Thus, climate change disrupts the ancient process of water being stored and released, creating times when there will be too much, then too little water. Therefore, everyone including governments, businesses, hospitals, and education institutions will all need plan for, and adapt to, these feast or famine scenarios.

The researchers also found that if we were able to stabilize climate change now, then by 2050, the climate system could return to normal conditions. However, if we continue high emissions “business as usual,” then precipitation in the region will continue to increase throughout the 21st century. The study also points out the importance of establishing policies to combat climate change at all levels, from local to global.

Sources:
Appalachia to become Hotter Wetter AND Drier in Climate Model with Severe Economic Impacts. August 11, 2019, Robbie Harris, WVTF.

Full report: Seasonal Changes in Water and Energy Balances over the Appalachian Region and Beyond throughout the Twenty-First Century. Authors, Rodrigo Fernandez and Nicolas Zegre. West Virginia University. Published May 9, 2019, American Meteorological Society Journal Online.


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Local Education on Electric Vehicles

Electrify Your Ride VAA new statewide campaign with the goal of building interest and adoption of electric vehicles is starting this Fall. Electrify Your Ride VA will hold local events around the state (see the Resilient Calendar listings) that will feature local EV owners and their cars, encourage hands-on learning with fellow community members, and point people toward more information such as an easy-to-use website that includes dealers who have agreed to provide EVs at discounted rates.

The project is a collaboration between nonprofits, Generation 180, Virginia Clean Cities, and the Green Energy Consumer Alliance. Since over 45% of energy-related carbon dioxide emissions in Virginia come from the transportation sector, this campaign will work to benefit the health of individuals and the environment by encouraging EV purchases. Find out more at generation180.org/electrify-your-ride.

If you would like additional information about the role of transportation in mitigating carbon emissions, the role the Commonwealth of Virginia is taking in regional transportation initiatives, and the electrification of the automobile industry, explore the presentations by Alleyn Harned, Chris Bast, and Rebecca Duff from the 2019 Resilient Virginia Conference. See the link below.

Transportation’s Role in Mitigation — Breakout Session

2019 Resilient Virginia Conference, July 17, 2019

SPEAKERS

Alleyn Harned, Executive Director, Virginia Clean Cities
Decarbonizing Transportation, the Big Picture

Chris Bast, Chief Deputy, Virginia Department of Environmental Quality
The VW Settlement and Regional Electrification

Rebecca Duff, Senior Research Associate, Battan Institute for Entrepreneurship and Innovation, UVA
Path to 2060: Electrification of the Auto Industry


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Volunteer Thank You!

Thank you Barbara!Resilient Virginia would like to send out a well-earned “Thank You” to Barbara Swart — community activist and concerned environmentalist — who has been our “Calendar Event Volunteer” for the last four years!

AND… We would like to announce that a volunteer position is open. Please contact Annette Osso (osso@resilientvirginia.org) if you would like to become the next “Calendar Event Volunteer.”

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Resilience Events Calendar

Here are some highlights of events happening this Fall.

September 14, 2019: EV Round-Up. Hosted by Electrify Your Ride VA, 9AM–1PM, Dorey Park Farmers Market, Richmond, VA.

September 15, 2019: EV Round-Up. Hosted by Electrify Your Ride VA, 10AM–2PM, Sprint Pavilion, Charlottesville, VA.

September 17, 2019: Virginia Clean Energy Summit. Hosted by VA-Renewable Energy Alliance with Resilient Virginia and others as partners. See our special discount offer to Members (below) and register today at vacleanenergysummit.org.

September 21, 2019: EV Round-Up. Hosted by Electrify Your Ride VA, Time and Location TBD. Roanoke, VA.

September 22, 2019: EV Round-Up. Hosted by Electrify Your Ride VA, Time and Location TBD, Fairfax, VA.

Check our Resilient Events Calendar on a regular basis to find out what is happening in Virginia, around the nation, and virtually through webinars.


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Membership

Special Offer — Limited Time! Now through September 10.
We are offering you a Member-Only discount to attend the

Virginia Clean Energy Summit

Join or renew today!

We’ll send you the Member Discount Code.
Register for the Clean Energy Summit using the Discount Code and save $50 on your registration.

Resilient Virginia is on a mission to

*Inform   *Educate   and   *Activate

Virginia communities to build resiliency in the face of challenges to community prosperity, national security, and changing climate.

You can help by:

Becoming a Member
Signing on as an Annual Sponsor

Continue your support throughout the year by using one or both of these online shopping sites that contribute to Resilient Virginia:

amazon-smileIf Amazon is your online shopping choice, go to Smile.Amazon.com and designate Resilient Virginia and we will receive a donation with every purchase.

goodshopFind lots of discounts and many participating stores for office supplies, general shopping, and special event gifts.

JOIN TODAY — IT’S OUR FUTURE!

Jobs for a Low-Carbon Circular Economy

Jobs for a Low-Carbon, Circular Economy

The 6th Annual Green Jobs Forum, Jobs for a Low-Carbon Circular Economy, is set for August 22, 2019 at the Metropolitan Council of Governments, 777 North Capitol Street NE, Washington, DC.

This event is conducted by Leaders in Energy (LE) and hosted by the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments. The evening forum follows day-long workshops to help advance your career.

Find Out More

You will:

  • Learn about opportunities for green jobs in the Metropolitan DC Region.
  • Get tips from Leaders in Energy members who have landed or created green jobs.
  • Meet exhibitors from companies and organizations who are hiring and meet green tech/clean energy educational organizations offering training and certifications for continued career growth.
  • Connect with others working in the energy, sustainability, and environmental fields (or who are seeking to transition into these sectors) at one of our most popular events!
  • Advance YOUR Career by learning new skills and insights by attending our Green Career and Networking Workshops!

Green Jobs Forum Agenda
4:30 – 6:00 pm Exhibitors – including companies and educators
6:00 – 8:15 pm Panels
8:15 – 9:00 pm Exhibitors and Networking

Plus Workshops to Advance Your Career
8:30 – 11:30 am Green Career 1.0 Workshop
12:15 – 1:15 pm Networking Workshop–
1:30 – 4:30 pm Green Career 2.0 Workshop

Register online now at the Leaders in Energy website.

2019 Resilient Virginia Conference

Thanks for Attending the 2019 Resilient Virginia Conference

The 2019 Resilient Virginia Conference

Connecting Rural and Urban Communities for a Resilient Future

July 18–19, 2019  |  Charlottesville, Virginia

AGENDA & SPEAKERS     PARTNERS     EVENT PHOTOS     SPONSORS/EXHIBITORS     CONTACT

Read about our third statewide conference on resiliency!

Resilient Virginia held its 2019 Resilient Virginia Conference on July 18–19 at the Darden School of Business, University of Virginia, Charlottesville, Virginia. Event presentations, videos of four plenary sessions, and a photo gallery are now available in the Agenda section below.
Read more

Rural Resiliency — First Steps Taken with Resiliency Forum

Rural Resiliency Forum October 23, 2018

By Sean Tubbs, Guest Contributor

As both average temperatures and rainfall counts continue to climb, government agencies, businesses and other organizations are seeking ways to ensure that Virginia is prepared to withstand whatever changes are caused by changing weather patterns.

To convene a conversation about rural resiliency concerns, Resilient Virginia held a forum on October 23 at the Frontier Culture Museum in Staunton that covered how the fields of agriculture and emergency management are responding, as well as how efforts are being made to build robust “green infrastructure” to help address both water quality and stormwater management. The objective was to explore the co-benefits of using natural systems and sustainable agriculture practices to assist with mitigating effects from severe storms, flooding, and other climate-related risks.

The goal was to improve collaboration among state and local governments, as well as rural businesses and communities, to improve the “storm readiness” of farms, forests, and natural resource areas, and to increase the resiliency and prosperity of rural areas of the Commonwealth. In addition, the Forum looked to provide access to existing resources, state and federal programs and funding, as well as start a conversation about potential policy recommendations.

Rural Resiliency Forum October 23, 2018

“Our mission at Resilient Virginia is to accelerate resiliency planning throughout Virginia,” said Andrew Sorrell, Deputy Director of the Virginia Tobacco Region Revitalization Commission and Chairman of the Resilient Virginia Board of Directors. The organization was formerly known as the Virginia Sustainable Building Network, but they rebranded in 2013 to take on the new challenge of helping communities adapt to climate, social and economic challenges.

Rural Resiliency Forum October 23, 2018Resiliency is defined as “the ability to mitigate risk, while building the capacity to regain functionality and vitality in the face of chronic stressors or severe disturbances.” That definition covers a lot of subject areas, but the October forum focused on resilient agriculture and forestry, blue and green infrastructure, and hazard mitigation and emergency preparedness.

Erik Curren, a member of Staunton’s City Council, welcomed participants and commented that many people in the Shenandoah Valley had thought that only coastal communities would be affected by climate change. Farmers now report that they are being affected and that crops are changing. Tourism officials are also saying that they are beginning to be affected, especially with the wet weather. “Resiliency is our problem, too,” Curren said. “Help us help rural Virginia communities weather what’s coming,” Curren said.

Rural Resiliency Forum October 23, 2018

Speakers presented on related state and federal programs, as well as on current resiliency projects and activities happening throughout the Commonwealth. During lunch, university representatives provided information on how university programs can help with community resiliency needs.

In the afternoon, interactive breakout sessions encouraged audience, speakers, and Resilient Virginia staff to delve further into particular issues and challenges around rural resiliency and how farms and natural resource areas can help with hazard mitigation and disaster preparedness.

Forestry management

Rural Resiliency Forum October 23, 2018The timber industry has a $17 billion impact on the state’s economy, according to Robbie Talbert, Regional Forester-Central Region with the Virginia Department of Forestry. One in four manufacturing facilities in the state produce a forestry-related product. In all, there are over 104,000 jobs. The continued success of the industry depends on having forests, and this relies on landowners who want to continue to maintain forests as their primary land use.

“More landowners want to keep their land in their family,” Talbert said, adding that the average age of a forested property owner is 67. They are also overwhelming male and overwhelmingly white. Nearly three-quarters of forest owners live on their own property. To try to add balance to the demographics, the Department of Forestry runs a program called Generation NEXT which seeks to build the next cohort of dedicated landowners. Another program called Century Forests covers landowners who have wooded lands in their possession for over a hundred years. There are 39 forests in Virginia that qualify with 14,446 acres.

Rural Resiliency Forum October 23, 2018Maintaining tree cover, which plays a significant role in both storm and flood mitigation, as well as reducing nutrient loads for waterways, is also addressed by the Department of Conservation and Recreation. Kristin Owen, Floodplain Program Manager with the Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR), informed the audience about their Soil and Water Program, which works with farmers to help prevent pollution runoff by encouraging tree buffers along waterways, and the Floodplain Management and Dam Safety program. They also work with communities to encourage their participation in the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) flood insurance programs.

Agricultural adaptation

USDA logoOne of the biggest topics at the forum was how agricultural practices may change as weather patterns continue to shift. One speaker on hand was Kathy Holm, Assistant State Conservationist for Field Operations with the United States Department of Agriculture-Natural Resources Conservation Service. “I’ve noticed the [increasing] intensity of hurricane and rainfall events, which is expected to continue into the future,” Holm said.

Rural Resiliency Forum October 23, 2018To start, Holm led with some definitions. Weather is the hourly and daily variation of meteorological conditions in the atmosphere. Climate, on the other hand, is the average weather over time. Changes in climate can be tracked by tracking impacts on crops and livestock, as well as the insects, diseases and weeds that can affect them.

According to the USDA, annual average temperatures will continue to increase by 3 to 6 degrees Fahrenheit by the middle of the century. Heat waves will continue to become more intense. Rainfall is expected to continue to increase in Virginia, but in powerful bursts that could come with long dry spells. In addition, the growing season will be longer.

To offer help, the USDA has created regional Climate Hubs that provide information for farm and forest adaptation responses. They also offer adaptation workbooks for agriculture, urban forests, and forest owners to help them engage in a process of identifying risks and working on solutions.

Virginia Tech logoCloser to home, Julie Shortridge, Ph.D., Assistant Professor and Extension Specialist, with Virginia Tech’s Department of Biological Systems Engineering, reviewed the types of climate risks facing the region. Julie Shortridge told the audience that rising temperatures are projected to reduce yields for corn and soybeans. To try to improve the economic hit to farmers, Shortridge advocates for “climate-smart” farming which includes using drought and heat-resistant varieties, improved soil health and using better weather forecasting to make long-term decisions about what to plant each season. “This is how to build resilience,” Shortridge said.

Shortridge urged farmers to contact the Virginia Cooperative Extension for more resources. She also emphasized that throughout history, those in agriculture have always had to contend with a shifting climate. “Climate change and other pressures have made some of these risks more challenging,” she said.

VSU College of Agriculture logoLeonard Githinji, Ph.D., Assistant Professor and Extension Specialist at Virginia State University, offered a few lessons about sustainable agriculture. “Sustainable agriculture includes practices that do not harm the environment, practices that provide fair treatment of workers, and practices that support and sustain local communities,” Githinji said.

This includes the practice of multicropping, where many species are planted on the piece of land. One benefit of this is higher genetic diversity, which leads to more resilient soil. A more intense form known as intercropping involves deliberately selecting plants which benefit from each other’s presence. Sustainable agriculture also makes sure that there is habitat for pollinators.

Green infrastructure

Rural Resiliency Forum October 23, 2018Karen Firehock, the Executive Director of the Green Infrastructure Center (GIC), had the opportunity to explain how her organization creates plans to protect and enhance the ecological carrying capacity of Virginia and other states. “The Green Infrastructure Center helps communities evaluate their green assets to maximize ecological, economic and cultural returns,” said Karen Firehock.

In addition to Firehock’s home county of Albemarle, the Green Infrastructure Center has also worked in Accomack County, Virginia; Darlington County, South Carolina; and Ulster County, New York. GIC publications on green infrastructure have been developed for local and state governments both in Virginia and nationally.

The term “green infrastructure” was coined in 1994 by the state of Florida in a report on land conservation strategies. The idea was to demonstrate that planners should take into account natural systems as providing services to developed areas. This can take the form of raingardens, bioswales or green rooftops. In addition, planning for green infrastructure encourages preserving contiguous rural landscapes and conserving forests and wetlands. “The more connected the landscape, the more resilient it is,” Firehock said.

Green infrastructure plans encourage building in the least impactful manner to preserve the natural landscape’s ability to reduce stormwater and maintain water quality, and then mitigating man-made structures to the highest level possible. At a locality-wide level, that can mean thinking about wildlife bridges and other ways to provide safe passage for migrating creatures, as well as recreational areas for communities.

Firehock also referred the audience to an online tool — DCR’s Virginia Natural Landscape Assessment — that can be used to find out more about the natural resource areas in their regions.

Emergency preparedness and preparing for sea-level rise

Rural Resiliency Forum October 23, 2018Stacie Neal, Critical Infrastructure Protection Program Manager, Governor’s Office of Public and Homeland Security, offered information on the state’s role in disaster protection, prevention, and mitigation, as well as programs to increase resiliency. She informed us that there are a variety of “critical infrastructure” areas, that include not only government facilities and emergency services, dams, and critical manufacturing, but also agriculture, water and wastewater facilities, and public health.

Virginia Department of Emergency Management (VDEM), the state agency that handles disaster planning and response, has the goal of working with the whole community, including families, businesses, local government, and community organizations, to develop both mitigation and emergency response plans. Mitigation strategies that help to lessen the impact of storms and other emergencies are increasingly important with the more frequent severe weather events, including tornadoes, flooding, and high wind, that communities have been experiencing.

Rural Resiliency Forum October 23, 2018The local challenges of rural mitigation and emergency planning were further elaborated on by Rebecca Joyce, Community Program Manager of the Central Shenandoah Planning District Commission, and Jonathan Simmons, All-Hazards Planner, VDEM Region 6. Rebecca Joyce, working with VDEM, manages emergency response, flood management, and mitigation plan development for rural localities in the PDC region. She commented on the difficulties encountered by local communities in preparing for disasters with very limited staff and funding resources.

Matching University Resources with Community Needs

Lunchtime presenters from state universities gave the audience an overview of several programs that combine student academic work with community assistance in the resiliency, agriculture, and energy areas.

Rural Resiliency Forum October 23, 2018Kim Niewolny, Ph.D., Associate Professor with the Department of Agricultural, Leadership & Community Education at VA Tech, provided information on two programs — the Virginia Beginning Farmer and Rancher Coalition and the AgrAbility Program. The Coalition’s goal is support new farming and ranching endeavors to be successful through farm planning assistance, training, mentoring, and online resources. AgrAbility Virginia assists individuals and their families who farm, and have illnesses, injuries or disabilities that are impeding their ability to work safely, effectively, and productively.

The Raft logoAngela King, Assistant Director, Virginia Coastal Policy Center at William and Mary, let the audience know about the RAFT program. The Resilience Adaptation Feasibility Tool (RAFT) is a project of several Virginia universities that helps communities rate how well their planning documents take into account the impacts of coastal resilience, and assists them with developing mitigation measures. “Coastal resilience can be addressed in comprehensive plans by incorporating elements such as green infrastructure, open space preservation, infill development, the National Flood Insurance Program, the Community Ratings System and stormwater management,” reads a section of the RAFT scorecard.

The project is a collaboration of the Institute for Environmental Negotiation at the University of Virginia, the Virginia Coastal Policy Center at the William and Mary Law School, and the Virginia Sea Grant Resiliency Program at Old Dominion University.

Rural Resiliency Forum: October 23, 2018Jonathan Miles, Ph.D., Professor, Integrated Science and Technology, James Madison University, and Director of the Center for Wind Energy, informed the audience about their program that assists farm owners in acquiring wind turbines to enhance their on-site energy production. The Center also sponsors a wind system contest for public schools and has helped with the installation of wind turbines at schools for educational purposes. He also noted that their Center will soon become the Office for the Advancement of Sustainable Energy.

Utilities of the Future: Recap

Utilities of the Future: Recap

by MIRIAM ACZEL

On October 4th, 2018, Leaders in Energy (LE), in partnership with Resilient Virginia, held its “Utilities of the Future Forum” at the US Navy Memorial in Washington DC. The event had over 80 attendees and was an exciting opportunity to look at recent developments in the role of utilities and future of energy provision and new changes.

Read more

RELi: USGBC’s New Resilient Design Rating System

RELi, the U.S. Green Building Council’s new standard for projects designed to endure and recover from extreme weather, is a national consensus standard. It was developed through an American National Standards Institute (ANSI) process, and focuses on creating resilient buildings and communities.

RELi handbookRELi (pronounced ‘rely’) is a comprehensive response to the urgent need for resilience in design and planning. Maintaining a reasonable level of safety and quality in our day-to-day lives now requires that we collectively respond to weather extremes, economic disruptions, and resource depletions — all of which are becoming commonplace globally, regionally, and locally. Resilience involves interactive social, economic, and environmental elements that respond to both acute short-term and systemic long-term topics related to the well-being of our society and planet.

USGBC and GBCI have now adopted the RELI standard. GBCI and the RELi resilience standard will work together to develop buildings and communities that offer greater adaptability and resilience to weather and natural disasters.

RELi’s development was led foundationally by the global architecture firm of Perkins+Will, with Eaton Corporation, Deloitte Consulting, and Impact Infrastructure providing vital content expertise and critical assessment.

For more information on RELi, click here to view the RELi handbook online, or click here for information on a Resiliency Education Series event featuring Dan Slone.

Resilient Virginia Supports These Summer Resiliency Events

July 19: Resilient Virginia Annual Meeting

You are invited to Resilient Virginia’s July 19th Annual Meeting to hear more details about upcoming Resilient Virginia activities, to meet our Board and Advisory members, and to add your voice on local communities’ and state agencies’ resiliency priorities.

Resiliency and the Rural/Urban Interface
The 2018 Resilient Virginia Annual Meeting
July 19, 2018  •  Noon–3:00PM
CitySpace
100 5th Street NE, Charlottesville, VA 22902

$20.00 for members; $25.00 for non-members.

Become a Member       Registration Closed       View the Agenda

Resilient Virginia invites your active support for these new initiatives by:

▪ Volunteering (contact Annette Osso to join a Planning Committee or contribute to our newsletters),
▪ Becoming a Member or Annual Sponsor.


Resilient Virginia is teaming with groups around the Commonwealth to offer the following events:

July 17: Collaborations on Flooding Adaptation
Tuesday, July 17 • 12 noon–1:30pm • Damuth Trane, 1100 Cavalier Boulevard, Chesapeake, Virginia

Skip Stiles from Wetlands Watch will present on the Collaborative Laboratory on Sea Level Rise and Flooding Adaptation — “Collaboratory” — a program to bring university programs with a community-based learning component (senior design/practicum/capstone studio, etc.) into the tidal localities in Virginia to work on practical approaches to adapting to increased flooding from rain and tides.

The effort is a partnership between Virginia Sea Grant, the U.S. Green Building Council, and Wetlands Watch (a Norfolk-based environmental organization) and has been running for three years. The goal is to help localities find solutions while students gain real-world expertise in the growing area of practice around climate change/sea level rise. Past projects have generated many millions of dollars in implementation funding and participating students are gaining employment.

Register Now

August 25: PrepareAthonPrepareAthon 2018
Saturday, August 25 • Science Museum of Virginia, Richmond

Celebrate preparedness during PrepareAthon, a free festival that teaches the community how to be more resilient when disaster strikes! Uncover life-saving information to protect your family during an emergency and learn more about resiliency. Local experts will discuss the impacts of climate change on human health, the environment and the Chesapeake Bay. Explore resiliency-themed climate change activities in the Museum, including NOAA Science on a Sphere® demonstrations, hands-on experiments in Eco Lab and beyond.

Find Out More

Costs of Doing Nothing: Economic Consequences of Not Adapting to Sea Level Rise in the Hampton Roads Region

Costs of Doing NothingRecent studies have pointed out the economic costs of rising temperatures, increased sea levels, and extreme weather events — all factors associated with climate change impact in the Southeast United States.

Costs of Doing Nothing: Economic Consequences of Not Adapting to Sea Level Rise in the Hampton Roads Region, a 2016 report from Virginia Coastal Policy Center, College of William & Mary Law School, narrows down the data to the Hampton Roads area. This report looks at several scenarios for sea level rise and the economic consequences.

Read more

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