Comprehensive Sea Level Rise and Recurrent Flooding Response Plan
The City of Virginia Beach has undertaken an extensive process to evaluate and prioritize policy and planning responses as part of the city’s comprehensive response to flooding.
Imagine you are a key decision maker for the City of Virginia Beach who has been asked to consider several of these policy and planning options. As such, you will need to learn about the Comprehensive Flooding Response Plan (CFRP) process and resulting policies and solutions.
You are also a resident of the Virginia Beach and are concerned about the challenges facing the city regarding resilience, emergency response, cost, and livelihood.
Before you make any decisions, you decide to gather as much information about potential response plans as possible.
Read through each of the six stations below.
Respond with your preferences and beliefs by completing the survey at the end of every station.
PLEASE NOTE THAT COMMENTING/INPUT IS CLOSED EFFECTIVE AUGUST 15, 2019
For the Participant ID question at the beginning of each survey, input the first letter of your first name followed by the last four (4) digits of your phone number (the Participant ID should look something like this S6735 or B3027). This is to make sure your responses stay anonymous, but also so that researchers can connect your responses across each of the six surveys.
Reading and responding to each of the six stations takes approximately 45-60 minutes total.
Your responses will be collected by researchers at Old Dominion University and will be shared with the City of Virginia Beach with the goal of informing their policy decisions.
Station 1: Overview
In order to address existing short- and long-term flood risks, Virginia Beach has undertaken a thorough, City-wide analysis to develop strategies and solutions that promote resilience.
First things first: We need to know a little bit about you, and also want to briefly inform you on the general approach to flooding currently taken by the City of Virginia Beach, which has just undertaken a thorough analysis to develop strategies and solutions that promote resilience across the city.
The City of Virginia Beach is developing plans to address both repetitive flooding and projected increases in flooding through two main studies.
Comprehensive Sea Level Rise and Recurrent Flooding (CSLRRF) Study
(1) Assessing existing and future flood vulnerabilities across the City's four unique watersheds.
(2) Identifying strategies to ensure our city is resilient to future flooding events.
Master Drainage Study
(1) Detailed inventory of the City's stormwater system.
(2) Assessing system performance.
(3) Identifying deficiencies or need improvements.
Station 2: Policy-Based Solutions
Policy-Based solutions consist of zoning laws, ordinances, codes, regulations, tax incentives, and financial mechanisms that can enhance the City's resilience to flooding.
Having just been informed about the city’s analysis, let’s now transition into the various policy-based decisions that will need to be made. These policy-based solutions consist of zoning laws, ordinances, codes, regulations, tax incentives, and financial mechanisms that can enhance the city’s resilience to flooding but also come at some cost. We would like to know where your preferences stand.
What is a Policy Report?
(1) Guidelines for instilling policy based adaptation solutions to reduce long term flood risk.
(2) Starting place from which flood vulnerabilities can be addressed from a policy perspective.
(3) Presentation of activities that the City should explore, evaluate and/or undertake as part of a comprehensive long term approach.
(4) Reflection of City-wide staff perspective and priorities.
Why is a Policy Report important?
Policy solutions can be implemented faster and at a significantly lower cost than large built interventions. Policy changes are just one set of tools in the resilience toolbox.
Station 3: City-Wide Structural Solutions
City-wide structural protection strategies are large-scale infrastructure projects that extend across one or more watersheds, substantially reducing coastal flood risks for large inland areas.
Now let’s get more specific. Let’s talk about structural protection strategies, which are large-scale infrastructure projects that extend across one or more watersheds and which substantially reduce coastal flood risks for large inland areas. Look over the various approaches and let us know what your decision would be from the options presented.
Designing potential city-wide structure flood protection systems was an iterative process, requiring frequent communication with decision makers, stakeholders, and planners. The study team first identified 12 individual structural alignments with 10 different alternatives. Each alternative is a combination of the individual locations to allow for a better understanding of the potential positive and negative impacts at each proposed location.
In coordination with the City and using FEMA, USACE, State and Local Standards and Regulations, the were four steps to the process:
(1) Existing data collection and site assessment
(2) Development of ten citywide alternatives
(3) Hydrodynamic modeling of alternatives
(4) Concept design of top ten preferred alternatives
The hydrodynamic modeling, costs and benefits, and identified site constraints were used to arrive at 3 preferred alternatives, each having 2 options.
Summary of Preferred Alternatives
The figures below show the top three alternatives (A, B, C), from minimum to maximum protection. Each alternative has two alignment options (1, 2) allowing for comparison of costs and benefits across different structural configurations.
Click the images below to view more details of the different configurations (A1, A2, B1, B2, C1, C2). Feel free to rate these alternatives by clicking on the like (thumbs up) or dislike (thumbs down) button.
A1Structure length: 7.8 miles | Flooded area reduced: 21 square miles | Mitigated structures: 28,000 | Design and Construction Cost: $1.13B20
A2Structure length: 12.4 miles | Flooded area reduced: 46 square miles | Mitigated structures: 29,000 | Design and Construction Cost: $2.31B10
B1Structure length: 33.6 miles | Flooded area reduced: 78 square miles | Mitigated structures: 39,000 | Design and Construction Cost: $2.22B12
B2Structure length: 33.3 miles | Flooded area reduced: 74 square miles | Mitigated structures: 37,000 | Design and Construction Cost: $2.77B12
C1Structure length: 34.4 miles | Flooded area reduced: 85 square miles | Mitigated structures: 45,000 | Design and Construction Cost: $2.42B01
C2Structure length: 34.1 miles | Flooded area reduced: 81 square miles | Mitigated structures: 43,000 | Design and Construction Cost: $2.97B20
Risk Reduction Benefits
How much flood risk reduction benefits do the different alternatives provide?
$12 million - Current annualized losses
Annualized losses with 3 ft SLR
(1) Large-scale structural intervention concepts provide protection from the future 100-yr flood events.
(2) Alternatives are comparable based on evaluated protection benefits and costs.
(3) Opportunities exist for collaboration with other localities to provide more comprehensive protection.
(4) Designs minimize construction and utilize city-owned/public land as much as practically possible.
(1) Concepts are high-level with alignments based on desktop analysis.
(2) Solutions come with significant costs, in the order of billions.
(3) Each alignment will have major impacts and concerns which are not captured in detail.
Station 4: Site/Parcel Structural Solutions
Building-level mitigation strategies for residential and non-residential structures can be implemented alone in combination with other measures to provide comprehensive flood protection.
Now let’s get even more specific. This station focuses on building-level mitigation strategies for residential and non-residential structures, which can be implemented alone or in combination with other measures to provide comprehensive flood protection. This station is about learning that individual adjustments can be made by homeowners and/or businesses. Many are safe and cost-effective. How do you change your stance, if at all?
Based on detailed review of benefit cost analysis (BCA) results and other technical data, the following cost effective city-wide and building level flood mitigation strategies were identified for residential and non-residential buildings in the City of Virginia Beach.
Feel free to rate these alternatives by clicking on the like (thumbs up) or dislike (thumbs down) button.
Non-residential dry floodproofing
Non-residential dry floodproofing
Non-residential wet floodproofing
Non-residential wet floodproofing
Non-residential dry floodproofing21
Non-residential dry floodproofing21
Non-residential wet floodproofing31
Non-residential wet floodproofing42
Station 5: Nature-Based Solutions
Natural and Nature-Based Features (NNBF) in the coastal landscape reduce inland flood risks, while also providing economical, environmental, and social benefits to the surrounding area.
Being a decision-maker is tiring, isn’t it? We’re almost done. Imagine now you are tasked with meeting with an environmental group, who provide you with details of nature-based solutions. Natural and Nature-Based Features (NNBF) in the coastal landscape reduce inland flood risks, while also providing economic, environmental, and social benefits to the surrounding area. What would be your approach to these nature-based solutions?
Multiple Lines of Defense
NNBF are considered a complimentary flood risk management strategy providing redundancy in flood protection, increasing resiliency and enhancing the performance and durability of structural measures.
Case Study for Back Bay
How could marsh island restoration impact flooding?
In Back Bay and northern North Carolina, restoration could:
- Reduce flood depths up to 1.5 feet along Back Bay and Sandbridge shorelines but on average 1-2 inches
- Reduce flood depths greater than 1.5 feet on Knotts Island
- Delay time to maximum flood event up to 4 days
Marsh Response to Sea Level Rise
Marshes play an important flood attenuation role during storm events as they act as a sponge, slowing down the movement of water. As part of the CSLRRF study, the City of Virginia Beach analyzed marsh response to future flooding conditions. Wetland changes were simulated and evaluated to understand what marsh types are most vulnerable or resilient to sea level rise and to identify areas in the city that ae projected to experience marsh loss or gain.
Conditions with 3 ft SLR
Conditions with 3 ft SLR
Station 6: CRS and Flood Insurance
Flood insurance provides coverage against property loss. The Community Rating System (CRS) incentivizes community floodplain management activities through discounting insurance rates.
Finally, let’s end with a hot topic that affects many people in the city: flood insurance. As you know, flood insurance provides coverage against property loss. The Community Rating System (CRS) from the federal government incentivizes community floodplain management activities through discounting insurance rates. The City of Virginia Beach now participates in FEMA’s CRS, and as such has been asked to consider several policy and planning options as part of the city’s comprehensive response to flooding. You also know that flood insurance is an effective tool for reducing flood losses experienced by homeowners. This station is about you assessing why homeowners purchase (or do not purchase) flood insurance.
Why You Need Flood Insurance
Anywhere it rains it can flood. Homeowners, renters and business owners are encouraged to purchase a flood insurance policy. Virginia Beach participates in the Community Rating System (CRS) providing residents in high risk flood zones a 15% discount on their flood insurance policy.
Residents in high risk zones (A, AE or VE) will receive a 15% discount on their flood insurance premium if they purchase or renew after May 1, 2019.
Residents living in low risk zones (shaded X or X) are eligible for a Preferred Risk Policy. These policies typically cost less than $550 per year.
Thank you for participating in this city-resident exchange of information.
We hope you found the content to be informative, and we hope you remain optimistic about the role resident can play in influencing policy.
If you have any further questions about this research project or about the policy approaches taken by the City of Virginia Beach, please don’t hesitate to contact us at the information below.