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Resilient Virginia News: October 2021

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2021 Resilient Virginia Conference Roundup

With over 350 attendees, the 2021 Resilient Virginia Conference: From Recovery to Resilience — Moving to Vibrant, Healthy, and Equitable Communities, brought together attendees from Virginia, from 22 other states, and even from other countries. The audience ranged from representatives of federal, state, and local governments to university students and faculty to community organizations and representatives of the business sector.

We were honored to have Governor Ralph Northam present Opening Remarks that recapped his administration’s extensive policy work to support resiliency, and to have Krystal Laymon, Deputy Director for Resilience, White House Council on Environmental Quality, represent the federal initiatives on addressing climate, infrastructure, and jobs. In addition, Michael Bilney, Global Senior Principal for Asset Risk and Resilience at Cardno, presented the private sector’s perspective on the need for resilience intelligence and action as climate impact continues to spiral upward.

If you were unable to attend, you now have the opportunity to view Governor Northam’s opening remarks on our website. You can also read about the Governor’s and Krystal Laymon’s Opening Remarks here.

Additional Plenary Sessions featured Matthew Tejada, Director of the Office of Environmental Justice at US EPA; Curtis Brown, State Coordinator, VDEM; and Kendyl Crawford, Co-Director of VA Interfaith Power and Light, speaking on equity as a guiding force in resiliency; representatives from Virginia, North Carolina, and Rhode Island speaking on the role of states in supporting local resiliency; and the science of climate adaptation, presented by NOAA scientist Dr. Kenneth Kunkel, and Dr. Jeremy Hoffman from the Science Museum of Virginia.

Our conference theme — From Recovery to Resilience — was well addressed by the range of excellent Breakout and Workshop session speakers who presented on infrastructure adaption in Virginia, funding from federal recovery programs, new resilient business opportunities, the importance of addressing social justice issues, technical tools for resiliency planning, and examples from rural and urban areas on resiliency planning and programs.

For 2021 a new feature, which was well received, was the Green Career Forum and Job Fair, hosted by partner organization Leaders in Energy. See their outstanding list of speakers, which included Peggy Brannigan, Director of Global Environmental Sustainability at LinkedIn, and the companies that participated in this event here.


Are you a member of Resilient Virginia? If so, then you have access to all of the videos and presentations from the 2021 Resilient Virginia Conference on our Member webpage. If you would like to see all of the videos and presentations from our conference but are not a member, it’s not too late! If you become a member you will have access to these videos as well!

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State and Local News

Virginia Department of Mines, Minerals and Energy Is Now Virginia Department of Energy

Virginia General Assembly

On October 1st, Governor Ralph Northam announced that DMME has changed its name to the Department of Energy. The new name represents the focus of the team that is now responsible for leading the Commonwealth to a clean economy.

“The agency’s name change and reorganization follows the 2020 Virginia Clean Economy Act. The act establishes a mandatory renewable portfolio standard to achieve 30 percent renewable energy by 2030, a mandatory energy efficiency resource standard, and the path to a carbon-free electric grid by 2045. The bill also declares that 16,100 megawatts of solar and onshore wind, 5,200 megawatts of offshore wind, and 2,700 megawatts of energy storage are in the public interest. This provides a pathway for clean energy resources to be constructed, while ensuring that the investments are made in a cost-effective way. The Virginia Clean Economy Act protects customers with a program that helps reduce electricity bills and brings energy efficiency savings to low-income households.”

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Governor Northam Announces $7.8 Million in Community Flood Preparedness Grants

Increased flooding is something many communities in Virginia face as the climate changes. Virginia’s Governor Ralph S. Northam announced this month $7.8 million in community flood preparedness grants which will help many Virginia communities build resilience to the impacts of climate change, including floods, with targeted funding going to vulnerable and underserved communities.

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Two Virginia Scientists Selected for Prestigious Federal Role

Two scientists that spoke at Resilient Virginia’s 2021 Conference will be involved in the newest update of the National Climate Assessment.

“Highlighting the state’s role as a leader in science, technology, engineering and math, Virginia experts will be well represented in a forthcoming federal climate report. Science Museum of Virginia David and Jane Cohn Scientist Jeremy Hoffman, Ph.D., and the Joan P. Brock Endowed Executive Director for Old Dominion University’s Institute for Coastal Adaptation and Resilience Jessica Whitehead, Ph.D., will both serve as lead authors for the Fifth National Climate Assessment (NCA5).

Whitehead was selected to coordinate the development of the Northeast chapter of the report produced by the U.S. Global Change Research Program, and Hoffman will oversee the drafting of the section focused on the impacts of climate change on the Southeast region. Whitehead’s expertise lies in coastal issues, while Hoffman studies heat. With the selection of two Virginia representatives tasked with compiling and editing regional sections, the assessment will place a fresh focus on the effects of our changing climate on the Mid-Atlantic.”

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Hogan, Northam Meet in Virginia Beach to Announce Climate Change Directive

“Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam met with Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan on Friday [10/1/21] to commit to action on climate change and more efforts to help restore the Chesapeake Bay.

At the meeting of the Chesapeake Executive Council at the Chesapeake Bay Foundation’s Brock Environmental Center, Northam, Hogan and other leaders signed a climate change directive committing the Chesapeake Bay Program to address increasing threats of climate change in all aspects of the partnership’s work.”

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Albemarle County Supports Climate Risk Assessment for Resiliency Planning

Albemarle County Logo

Beginning mid-2021, Piedmont Environmental Council (PEC) decided to support Albemarle County’s interest in embarking on a resiliency planning initiative, with Resilient Virginia’s assistance. PEC, with private foundation funding, engaged Resilient Virginia and consulting firm SOBIS, Inc., in a project to undergo a detailed climate risk assessment study. Albemarle County, recognizing this as the first step in an extensive resiliency planning effort, is working closely with the consultants to share data on natural resources, buildings, hazard risk, and population demographics.

The resulting report, available later this year, will take a deep dive at assessing current and future risks by projecting climate data to 2050 and 2075 onto local natural and built environments. It will examine the hazard potential from flooding, higher temperatures, wildfires, drought, and pestilence, combined with a socio-economic analysis of communities that will tend to be most affected by climate impact. The analysis will be determined at the Census block level, and that will help the county and community determine the best course for future land use, expansion of economic development, and transportation options. All of this is highly relevant since the county is now engaged in updating their Comprehensive Plan. Find out more about the Albemarle County Comprehensive Plan update timeline here.

(Note: SOBIS, Inc. COO Bill Bohn is on the Resilient Virginia Board of Directors.)


Fairfax County Undertakes Long-Term Resiliency Process

Beginning in February 2021, Fairfax County embarked on a formal effort to address climate adaptation and resilience, working with private consultants and engaging several planning committees, as well as seeking public input. Resilient Fairfax has undertaken the development of a comprehensive Climate Adaptation and Resilience Plan for the county and community, as well as the implementation of strategies to reduce risk to county residents, businesses, and infrastructure. The plan will incorporate expert input through the Community Advisory Group and Infrastructure Advisory Group, to identify climate risks and vulnerabilities and to develop strategies to address these. Community input is being solicited through surveys and public meetings.

You can view the extensive data collection work, assessment of vulnerabilities, and initial solution pathways for reducing risk to natural and built assets, as well as to vulnerable neighborhoods in the slideshow that Fairfax County assembled for its public meetings. The Resilience Plan is expected to be completed by June 2022.

(Note: Annette Osso, LEED AP, Managing Director of Resilient Virginia, was invited to be on the Community Advisory Group.)

National News

NOAA Updates Climate Website Amid Growing Demand for Climate Information

On October 12th, NOAA’s Climate Program Office launched a newly redesigned version of Climate.gov, NOAA’s award-winning flagship website that provides the public with clear, timely, and science-based information about climate. The redesign expands the site’s already significant capacity to connect Americans with the resources they need to understand and plan for climate-related issues.

“Americans are facing increasingly frequent, severe, and often life-threatening risks from climate change-influenced extreme weather events. Communities, governments, and businesses have begun working to lower greenhouse gas emissions and build resilience. But according to the latest National Climate Assessment, the country will need to significantly scale up these efforts ‘to avoid substantial damages to the economy, environment, and human health over the coming decades.’ ”

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Biden Administration Releases Agency Climate Adaptation and Resilience Plans from Across Federal Governments

The White House

On October 7th, the Biden-Harris Administration released plans developed by more than 20 federal agencies that outline the steps each agency will take to ensure their facilities and operations adapt to and are increasingly resilient to climate change impacts.

The plans reflect President Biden’s whole-of-government approach to confronting the climate crisis as agencies integrate climate-readiness across their missions and programs and strengthen the resilience of federal assets from the accelerating impacts of climate change. The climate adaptation and resilience plans were previously submitted to and reviewed by the National Climate Task Force, White House Council on Environmental Quality’s (CEQ) Federal Chief Sustainability Officer, and the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) in response to President Biden’s Executive Order on Tackling the Climate Crisis at Home and Abroad.

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Resources and Funding

Fiscal Year 2021 Notices of Funding Opportunities for Hazard Mitigation Assistance Grants — FEMA

The fiscal year 2021 (FY 2021) application period for the Hazard Mitigation Assistance (HMA) Notices of Funding Opportunities (NOFOs) for the Flood Mitigation Assistance (FMA) grant program and the new Building Resilient Infrastructure and Communities (BRIC) grant programs is open. Applications must be submitted to VDEM by November 10, 2021.

FEMA’s two competitive mitigation grant programs provide states, local communities, tribes, and territories funding for eligible mitigation activities to strengthen our nation’s ability to build a culture of preparedness by reducing disaster losses and protecting life and property from future disaster damage.


DCR Community Flood Preparedness Fund: Grants and Loans

The Virginia Community Flood Preparedness Fund (CFPF) was established to provide support for regions and localities across Virginia to reduce the impacts of flooding. Applications for Round 2 are due by 4 p.m. on November 5, 2021.

Fall Membership Drive

Resilient Virginia is having a Fall Membership Drive and we hope you decide to support us! We will donate 20% of all money raised between now and the end of the year to the Federation of Virginia Food Banks.

By becoming a Member of Resilient Virginia, you support our goals to:

  • INFORM diverse leaders from government, business, and the community about natural, climate-related, and man-made risks and vulnerabilities;
  • EDUCATE key groups about the models for community resiliency planning; and
  • ACTIVATE Virginia communities by providing tools to engage in resiliency planning.

Membership Benefits:

  • Discounts to events — Conferences, Annual Meeting, and Resiliency Academy
  • Access to slides and videos from the 2021 Resilient Virginia Conference and the 2020–2021 Resiliency Academy on Membership Site
  • Special alerts to local and national resiliency events and top social media postings
  • Invitation to the Resilient Virginia Strategic Plan Listening Sessions this Fall 2021
  • Bi-weekly Communications Brief with Resiliency News and Events
  • Your name on the “We Support Resiliency — It’s Our Future!” Membership List

Join Us


Resilient Events Calendar

This Fall, check out the many webinars, conferences, and community meetings that are happening in Virginia and around the nation. Two of the events are listed below.

October 25–28: Navigating an Electric Vehicle Future: Virtual Workshop

Join the National Academies for a four-day virtual workshop on October 25–28, 2021 from 1–5pm ET to learn about the latest developments in electric vehicle technologies.

October 27–29: Getting to Zero Forum

The Getting to Zero Forum is the premier event dedicated to zero energy and zero carbon buildings.

Calendar


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

  • Smile.Amazon.com — If Amazon is your online shopping choice, go to Smile.Amazon.com and designate Resilient Virginia and we will receive a donation with every purchase.
  • GoodShop.com — Find lots of discounts and many participating stores for office supplies, general shopping, and special event gifts.

Note from Annette Osso, Editor, Resilient Virginia News — Feel free to send your suggestions for stories, as well as comments on existing stories. I am the primary manager and writer of the newsletter, except as noted with designations of authorship by other staff or invited guest writers. Contact: osso@resilientvirginia.org

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Calendar

Due to COVID-19, please check listings for cancellations.
  • 8th Annual Four Generations of Leadership in Clean Energy & Sustainability Solutions Awards Celebration
    Date: December 3, 2021
    Location:

    “Weaving the Web of Sustainability and Restoration: A Call for Visionaries, Wayshowers and Doers”   
    Hosted by Leaders in Energy, they plan to recognize those illuminating the way toward “The Big Green…

  • Market Trends in Resilient and Sustainable Design
    Date: December 7, 2021
    Location:

    State-level changes to new rainfall design storms, new engineering standards that include climate change, and Executive Order 54 requirements for state buildings in Virginia will continue to influence client decisions and design endpoints. Join us…

  • 21st Century Schools: Cleaner and Greener
    Date: December 8, 2021
    Location:

    School districts staff, stakeholders, and design professionals will engage in a three-part educational series and hands-on virtual work session to lay the foundation to kickstart their own roadmaps to full decarbonization by mid-century. This…

  • EJSCREEN Office Hours
    Date: December 8, 2021
    Location:

    EPA is holding a set of ‘Office Hours’ for users of EJSCREEN, the Agency's environmental justice screening and mapping tool. These Office Hours will be a chance for the public to talk with EPA…

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