Tag Archives: events

Virginia Clean Energy Summit

The inaugural Virginia Clean Energy Summit is set for Tuesday, September 17 at the Richmond Convention Center. Clean energy technologies, policies, and business practices that are transforming Virginia’s energy landscape — today — will be demonstrated and discussed.

The goal of the Summit is to highlight opportunities and encourage collaboration that speeds our use of more energy efficiency, solar, wind, storage, EVs, and other clean energy solutions. Conference attendees will include representatives from businesses, state and local governments, academia, and NGOs.

Find Out More     View Press Release

Just Announced: Keynote remarks by the Honorable Ralph S. Northam, Governor of Virginia.

The Summit is a unique collaboration of five leading organizations:

  • Maryland-DC-Delaware-Virginia Solar Energy Industries Association (MDV-SEIA)
  • Resilient Virginia​
  • Virginia Advanced Energy Economy (Virginia AEE)
  • Virginia Energy Efficiency Council (VAEEC)
  • Virginia Renewable Energy Alliance (VA-REA)

Additionally:
James Madison University’s Office for the Advancement of Sustainable Energy (OASE), Viridiant, and the Energy Division of Virginia’s Department of Mines, Minerals, and Energy (DMME) in supporting roles.

For more information click here to visit the event website.

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. A photo gallery of this event appears below; event presenations will be posted soon.
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Resilient Virginia Is Involved With These Spring Events

Building Sustainability Conference

2019 Building Sustainability ConferenceApril 25, 2019
Hosted by Viridiant
Location: The Place at Innsbrook
4036 Cox Road, Glen Allen, VA

After nine successful years, Viridiant’s Sustainable Leadership Awards has expanded into the Building Sustainability Conference and Awards highlighting efforts to build sustainability in our communities and infrastructure with focus on health, resilience, and innovation.

This event aims to educate and recognize innovative solutions of today to meet the needs of the evolving building industry of tomorrow.

The conference will feature sessions and speakers, bringing together cross-discipline industry experts to share knowledge, inspire discussion, and drive change in the protection of our living environments, both inside and out.

Awards will be presented to recognize the region’s leaders in high-performance construction with a focus on projects, programs and initiatives that represent the future of sustainable building.

Find out more and register at at viridiant.org/event/2019-building-sustainability-conf/.

Arlington Home Show and Resiliency Workshop

Arlington Home Show and Resiliency WorkshopApril 27, 2019
Hosted by Arlington County Housing Division and Resilient Virginia
Free to the community
Location: Kenmore Middle School
200 S. Carlin Springs Rd, Arlington, VA

In 2019 the Arlington Home Show & Garden Expo celebrates its 13th annual edition!

Last year Arlington’s prime home improvement and remodeling event gathered more than 75 home builders, contractors and specialist vendors, architects, inspectors, landscape designers, realtors, master gardeners, banks, nonprofit organizations and Arlington County housing, zoning and inspection representatives.

In addition, a rich and diverse schedule of FREE classes completed the experience of one-stop shopping and information for our more than 1200 visitors. The 2019 edition has even more in store!

The Home Show is a convenient way to learn about remodeling and improving your home (including popular kitchen and bath remodeling), finishing or waterproofing basements, replacing windows, doors, flooring, roofing and siding, adding security systems and more from a wide variety of top-rated companies.

You will take away information on green products and technologies, smart and universal design, convenient upgrades to home decoration, and outdoor living improvements.

Find out more at arlingtonhomeshow.org.

Resilient Virginia News: December 2018

What’s New

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Thank You 2018 Members and Annual Sponsors!

 

Platinum Sponsor
logo-marionenterprises

 

Lifeboat Sponsors

Hazen        logo-leaders-in-energy

 

Village Sponsor
2RW Energy By Design

 

Corporate Member — 2018
logo_Dewberry_largeIndividual Members — View our Individual members here.

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LEED Benefits for Resilient CommunitiesUSGBC Virginia and Resilient Virginia Host 4th Presentation

LEED Benefits for Resilient Communities

Thursday, December 13, 12:00–1:00pm
Location: NOVA Community College, Alexandria Campus, Room TBD, 5000 Dawes Ave, Alexandria VA 22311

Register today to reserve your seat.

Join USGBC Virginia and Resilient Virginia for our 4th jointly hosted Connect & Learn exploring LEED’s connection to resiliency strategies using examples of LEED buildings in Arlington County. This event is part of a Virginia resiliency education series looking at how buildings and communities support statewide resiliency goals.

Green buildings are driving resilience-enhancing designs, technologies, materials, and methods. by including practices such as the use of durable materials, thoughtful site selection, rainwater collection, demand response, grid islanding, maximal energy efficiency, on-site renewable energy generation and more.

Attend this Connect & Learn to explore LEED’s connection to resiliency strategies using examples of LEED buildings in Arlington County. Speakers include Alysson Blackwelder, Advocacy and Policy Manager, USGBC, and Joan Kelsch, Green Buildings Manager, Arlington County. Lunch is provided for registered attendees. The presentation will run from 12:00–1:00 pm. Continuing Education: 1 GBCI CE pending.

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US National Climate Assessment and IPCC Reports Point to Critical Need for Increased Mitigation and Resiliency Actions

US National Climate Assessment and IPCC Reports

US National Climate Assessment Report

Published November 23rd, the National Climate Assessment Report concludes that human-caused climate change is already causing irreparable harm to communities across the United States and that the disastrous impacts will increase and cost the country billions of dollars. This report, the Fourth National Climate Assessment Volume II, mandated by law to be issued every four years, was prepared by 300 authors at 13 federal agencies.

Among the report’s findings: climate impacts could slash 10 percent of the US GDP, the Midwest is projected to see an additional 2,000 heat deaths per year, average acreage burned by wildfires could increase as much as six times, all by the end of the century.

For the Southeast United States, urban infrastructure distress and health risks will increase due to flooding, increased heat and vector-borne disease, with coastal and low-lying interior areas being particularly susceptible for flood risk. Natural ecosystems will be transformed by changing winter temperature extremes, wildfires, drought, warming ocean temperatures, and floods. In rural areas, agricultural, forest, and manufacturing businesses will be impacted by frequent extreme heat episodes and changing seasonal climate. “By the end of the century, over one-half billion labor hours could be lost due to extreme-heat related impacts.”

The report further states that “While Americans are responding in ways that can bolster resilience and improve livelihoods, neither global efforts to mitigate the causes of climate change nor regional efforts to adapt to the impacts currently approach the scales needed to avoid substantial damages to the US economy, environment, and human health and well-being over the coming decades.”

The report emphasizes mitigation and adaptation in key areas, such as:

Energy — The report states that internationally and in the U.S., it is critical to escalate the pace, scale and scope of both hardening energy production systems to withstand extreme weather events and reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

Urban design and infrastructure — Cities are in the forefront of reducing greenhouse gases in the U.S. and have begun adaptation work as infrastructure, buildings, and commerce are being increasingly affected by extreme weather events, including storms, flooding and heat waves.

Agriculture and land use — Numerous adaptation strategies are available to cope with adverse impacts of climate variability and change on agricultural production. These include altering what is produced, modifying the inputs used for production, adopting new technologies, and adjusting management strategies. However, these strategies have limits under severe climate change impacts and would require sufficient long- and short-term investment in changing practices.

Read the Report summary, chapters on issues, and mitigation/adaptation strategies here.

Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change Report

On an international level, the United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change Report, released in October, 2018, strongly supports an all-out effort to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees C above pre-industrial levels, instead of the 2 degree C limit originally considered as part of the 2015 Paris Agreement.

Some information to consider:

  • Human activities are estimated to have already caused approximately 1.0 degree C of global warming above pre-industrial levels
  • China (at 26.6%) and the U.S. (at 13.1%) are the top two greenhouse gas emitters, with India and Russia following. The top 10 emitters account for 60% of the worldwide greenhouse gas emissions. (Source: European Commission’s Joint Research Centre and PBL Netherlands Environmental Assessment Agency.)
  • The commitments from the Paris Agreement, if enacted, will still allow the warming trend to reach 3.5 degrees C by the end of the century.

The report finds that limiting global warming to 1.5°C would require “rapid and far-reaching” transitions in land, energy, industry, buildings, transport, and cities. Global net human-caused emissions of carbon dioxide (CO2) would need to fall by about 45 percent from 2010 levels by 2030, reaching ‘net zero’ around 2050. This means that any remaining emissions would need to be balanced by removing CO2 from the air.

Read the IPCC Press Release here. The Summary for Policymakers of the Special Report on Global Warming of 1.5ºC (SR15) is available at https://www.ipcc.ch/sr15/.

Climate impacts increase in severity with rising temperatures.

happy holidays

Governor Northam Ramps Up State Resiliency Initiatives

by Tracy Garland, Resilient Virginia

Acknowledging the burgeoning resiliency challenges facing the Commonwealth, Virginia’s Governor Ralph Northam recently issued Executive Order 24 (2018) “Increasing Virginia’s Resilience to Sea Level Rise and Natural Hazards.” It outlines actions that the Commonwealth of Virginia will take to limit the impacts of flooding, extreme weather events, and wildfires as well as goals to improve resiliency in the future.

“As extreme weather events become more frequent and more intense, the safety and economic well-being of every Virginian is put at greater risk,” said Governor Northam. “The actions the Commonwealth will undertake as a result of this Executive Order will ensure we address this growing challenge head on, setting Virginia on a path towards resilience to near and long-term natural catastrophes and enhancing our public health and economic vitality with a whole of government approach.”

The order specifies that Virginia’s government will lead by example by:

  • ensuring its facilities are resilient;
  • developing a series of reviews and planning efforts to benefit the public and private sectors;
  • creating a “Coastal Resilience Master Plan;”
  • reviewing state compliance with dam and floodplain laws;
  • reviewing state hazard mitigation programs with the goal of increasing their scale and scope; and
  • providing guidance to local governments.

The Executive Order also outlines further resiliency improvement goals that include using nature-based infrastructure, ensuring better communication, engaging the military, empowering communities and individuals to reduce their risk, and more. Read the entire Executive Order here.

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Rural Resiliency Forum

Rural Resiliency — First Steps Taken at Resiliency Forum

by Sean Tubbs, Guest Contributor (Excerpt from article posted in Resilient Virginia News)

To convene a conversation about rural resiliency concerns, Resilient Virginia held the Rural Resiliency Forum on October 23 at the Frontier Culture Museum in Staunton that covered how the fields of agriculture and emergency management are responding to climate threats, 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.

“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. Resiliency 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.

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.

Read the complete article that recaps the speakers’ information and directs you to additional resources here. You can also review the presenters’ PowerPoint presentations here.

rural-resiliency-forum-2018

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Utilities of the Future — Expert Speakers’ Presentations Now Live!

Utilities of the Future      Utilities of the Future

(excerpted from article by MIRIAM ACZEL, www.leadersinenergy.org)

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.

Leaders in Energy, Founder and Executive Director and session co-moderator, Janine Finnell, kicked off the event, introducing the three panelists: John Caldwell, Ph.D., Director of Economics, Edison Electric Institute (EEI); Cyril Draffin, Project Advisor to Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Energy Initiative (MITEI); and Elizabeth Brooke Stein, Attorney, Environmental Defense Fund (EDF)’s Clean Energy Program. Annette Osso, Managing Director, Resilient Virginia, provided comments on the need for secure energy resource development as part of community resiliency planning.

The expert presenters provided thought-provoking information, respectively, on such topics as:

  • the “total electric utility evolution” towards an interactive, transactive grid;
  • locational energy pricing, renewables (centralized and distributed) for decarbonization, and resiliency considerations;
  • New York’s efforts to reform the state’s utility regulations (Reforming the Energy Vision, or REV), and the various technological enhancements that make this renewable transition possible.

You can view the entire article here and view the video presentations here.

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2018–2019 Board of Directors

Officers

Chairperson
Andrew V. “Andy” Sorrell

Deputy Director, Virginia Tobacco Commission

Vice Chair
Ellen Graap Loth

Principal, Cardno, Inc.

Secretary
Jane Frantz, AICP, PMP, CFM

Associate Vice President, Dewberry

Treasurer
Vestal Tutterow, PE, CEM

Program Manager, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory

Directors

Jerry Eastridge, LLA, BPI
Principal, GSPH LLC

Rebecca Joyce
Community Program Manager, Central Shenandoah Planning District Commission

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

Erin Sutton, MS, CEM, PMP
Director, Office of Emergency Management, City of Virginia Beach

Past Chair

Nell Boyle, LEED AP
Sustainability Coordinator, City of Roanoke

Managing Director

Annette Osso, LEED AP
osso@resilientvirginia.org

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Resilience Events Calendar

Early Winter, 2018 Event Highlights

December 13, 2018: LEED Benefits for Resilient Communities, Noon–1:00 pm, NOVA Community College, Alexandria Campus, Room TBD, 5000 Dawes Ave, Alexandria VA 22311. Register today to reserve your seat.

January 7–10, 2019: National Council for Science and the Environment Annual Conference: Sustainable Infrastructure and Resilience, Washington, DC. For more information and to register: https://ncseconference.org.

January 28–31, 2019: Northeast Organic Farming Association. Four-day organic land care certification course, Washington, DC. For more information, contact Joan Clement, CHEARS volunteer, joan@chears.org, 301-775-5368

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

Membership — ‘Tis the (Giving) Season!

Join (Or Renew) Today — It’s Our Future!

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-smileIt’s gift buying and giving time, so make it easy on yourself by shopping at Amazon.

goodshopFind lots of discounts and many participating stores for office supplies, school, and special events.

JOIN TODAY — IT’S OUR FUTURE!

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