Category Archives: Food

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!

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.
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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.

2017 Resilient Virginia Conference

Thanks for Coming!

The 2017 Resilient Virginia Conference

Connecting Communities, Business, and Educators for Resiliency Solutions

August 1–2, 2017  |  Richmond, Virginia

PARTNERS     AGENDA & SPEAKERS     SPONSORS/EXHIBITORS     CONTACT

Presentations Now Available!

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Climate Change Adaptation for Agriculture: Mitigating Short- and Long-Term Impacts of Climate on Crop Production

Screen Shot 2016-08-01 at 3.54.10 PMThe Virginia Polytechnic Institute and Virginia State University produced this publication in 2014 outlining climate-related challenges facing agriculture and some options for mitigating and adapting to them. Included in the publication are adaptation strategies and conservation techniques touching on soil water-holding capacity, tillage, crop rotations, drainage, irrigation, nitrogen use, and buffers. The online PDF version of the publication is available through the Virginia Cooperative Extension.

Colorado Resiliency Framework 2016 Annual Plan

Screen Shot 2016-08-01 at 3.01.14 PMThe Colorado Resiliency Framework 2016 Annual Plan is an extension of the Colorado Resiliency Framework that was adopted in 2015. This plan details how the Colorado Resiliency Working Group will achieve the goals laid out in the framework, mainly via resiliency-focused projects in the community, economic, health and social, housing, infrastructure, watershed and natural resources sectors.

Reflections on the First Resilient Virginia Conference, March 22-23, 2016

Jerry Walker Headshot 2016By Jerry Walker, CEM, LEED AP, Chairman of the Board, Resilient Virginia and Henrico County Energy Manager

Resilient Virginia burst onto the radar screens of leaders from federal, state and local governments, and concerned citizens with their 2016 Resilient Virginia Conference in Richmond, on March 22nd March 23rd.  The two-day conference at the Greater Richmond Convention center attracted over 220 attendees, speakers and exhibitors. With a theme of activating communities and businesses for a more resilient future, three major geographic regions were addressed; coastal, rural, and urban.  Issues such as weather, coastal flooding, urban-underdevelopment, agricultural demands on dwindling farm space, and man-made threats to our well-being were all addressed.

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Thanks to our Sponsors, Exhibitors, Partners, and Planning Committee for their support in making the first Resilient Virginia Conference a great success!

The 2016 Resilient Virginia Conference

“Activating Communities and Businesses for a More Resilient Future”

March 22–23, 2016  |  Richmond, Virginia

PARTNERS     EVENT PHOTOS     AGENDA & PRESENTATIONS     SPONSORS/EXHIBITORS     CONTACT

The 2016 Resilient Virginia Conference took place March 22–23, 2016 at the Greater Richmond Convention Center in Richmond, Virginia. The first statewide conference on resiliency activated community and business stakeholders around the Commonwealth:

  • to learn about resiliency planning to address current and future environmental, social, and economic challenges, and
  • to become leaders in their communities to address formulating plans for a resilient future.

View the complete conference agenda here.

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Resilient Arlington: Building Awareness for Local Resiliency Planning

Resilient ArlingtonResilient Arlington, a local project of Resilient Virginia, is working with area businesses and community representatives from Arlingtonians for a Clean Environment, Sierra Club, Arlington Green, as well as numerous community volunteers. We also have engaged the participation of Arlington County Office of Emergency Management.

Our goal is to build awareness of the need for local resiliency planning and embark on resiliency-building activities to strengthen our community’s ability to anticipate and bounce back from climate-related and man-made challenges.

  • In the short term this may take the shape of more robust preparations for a return to normal household, business and community functions after extreme climate events or urban disturbances such as water line breaks, Metro breakdowns, or national security incidents.
  • For the long term, community resiliency planning provides the ability to adapt and thrive despite changing environmental, social and economic conditions. These challenges, exacerbated by climate change, will compel communities to rethink how they build their homes and commercial buildings, plan and build infrastructure, generate energy, produce food, and provide goods and services in their community or region.

Resilient Arlington’s first community event was held September 26, 2015 as part of the annual neighborhood celebration called Clarendon Day. Our tents featured the theme — BE READY! — in conjunction with Virginia Emergency Preparedness Month. We focused on four essentials — food availability, drinking water safety, using less energy and generating your own, and transportation options. Pictures from the event can be seen below.

Future activities, including a speaker series and a spring event, are being planned now and we invite your participation. Contact: Annette Osso, LEED AP, Managing Director, Resilient Virginia, osso@resilientvirginia.org, 703-629-1650.

Introducing Resilient ArlingtonClick to launch slideshow

The Celestia Project: Vision for the Future

By Annette Osso, Managing Director, Resilient Virginia

The Celestia Project

Earth Day 2015 is just around the corner, and this year Resilient Virginia would like to share with our readers an inspirational vision of the future. This comes through our exclusive sneak peak of the ebook on The Celestia Project, which will be unveiled officially by Green Builder magazine on this Earth Day. Over the past year, chapters of The Celestia Project were featured in issues of the magazine.

The Celestia Project, created by Matthew Power, Editor-In-Chief of Green Builder magazine, presents a time capsule from the year 2100. The interactive publication takes on such topics as food security, low impact transportation, successful urban living, energy use and decarbonization, fresh water abundance, and resilience in buildings and communities.

Matthew Power provides this perspective:

“This project is really the culmination of a lifetime of writing, researching and advocating for more sustainable homes and lifestyles. It took a year to write, but many years to gather and process the ideas. It came about as a response to the prevailing dystopian views that pervade our culture. The Celestia Project argues that we don’t have to starve to death, wallowing in our own rubbish, chased by our runaway robots. Instead, we can do what needs to be done to save ourselves: wrestle with human nature, harness our technology, and build a better, greener world.”

You can view the entire interactive ebook here.

About Green Builder magazine

This magazine is oriented toward residential building professionals, but also has excellent annual “Homeowner’s Handbook” and “Sustainable Landscaping Guide” issues which make it interesting reading for anyone interested in low impact living. Go to www.greenbuildermedia.com/magazine-home-page for more information.

Understanding Virginia’s Vulnerability to Climate Change

This report from the Georgetown Climate Center and Old Dominion University’s Mitigation & Adaptation Research Institute touches on two threats to Virginia’s communities: rising seas, flooding, and extreme storms; and threats from extreme heat.

From the introduction: Communities across Virginia are increasingly vulnerable to severe weather influenced by changes in our climate. Population centers near the coast and tidal rivers are experiencing more flooding, farmers are increasingly contending with drought risks, and health problems are likely to be exacerbated by extreme heat and polluted air. Solutions to manage these risks exist, and implementing them will make our communities more resilient to the new conditions and challenges of our changing climate.

The report is available online as a PDF document. For additional information visit the Georgetown Climate Center website and Old Dominion University’s Mitigation & Adaptation Research Institute website.