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Now more than ever, Norfolk is very invested in its resilience efforts. With frequent flooding, due not just to severe weather events such as hurricanes and tropical storms but also due to high tides and even heavy rain, Norfolk is striving to respond to the need for measures to protect the city, its residents, and property form the disastrous and damaging effects of flooding. With the establishment of the Office of Resilience and the Norfolk Resilience Strategy, with a goal of “designing the coastal community of the future”[1], Norfolk has demonstrated its desire for innovative approaches that will allow Norfolk to continue living with the water.

The Resiliency industry is cross-sector in nature, drawing from solutions in the fields of policy, technology, engineering, infrastructure, marine science, water management, architecture, and others. Examples of ways to prevent and mitigate the damages of flooding include preserving open space, investing in green infrastructure, regulating development in the floodplain, acquiring or relocating properties in the flood zone, elevating properties that repeatedly suffer flood damage, improving sewer and drainage systems, updating flood maps, constructing seawalls, dams, and levees, and much more. Engaging in these activities requires the involvement of experts in numerous fields.

Norfolk is thus very interested in companies and organizations with expertise and experience in developing and constructing solutions to flooding.

Competitive Advantages

Office of Resilience

  • City Manager’s Office of Resilience
  • One goal is to design the coastal community of the future by creating a vision for the city’s future, identifying and implementing innovative infrastructure for water management, and redesigning tools and regulations to achieve a vision for the future[2]
  • Projects:
    • Ohio Creek Watershed Project: Create a Resilience Park that connects the Grandy Village and Chesterfield Heights neighborhoods and includes a flood berm, a restored tidal creek, wetland and other environmental features, etc. – a model for resilient open space[3]
    • Retain Your Rain: Utilization of small green infrastructure by citizens of Norfolk, such as rain barrels, which hold rainwater, reducing the amount of water entering the stormwater system which floods streets[4]

Research Centers and Organizations:

  • The Commonwealth Center for Recurrent Flooding Resiliency (CCRFR):
    • Established by Old Dominion University, the Virginia Institute of Marine Science, and the Virginia Coastal Policy Center at William and Mary Law School[5]
    • Supported by Governor McAuliffe with legislation proposed by Delegate Stolle and passed by the General Assembly
      • Mission of building resilience to rising waters
      • CCRFR conducts interdisciplinary studies and provides training, technical and non-technical services, and policy guidance in the field of recurrent flooding resilience
      • Projects:
        • Water level predictions via tide gauges and incorporation of ultrasonic water level sensors[6]
        • Virginia Coastal Policy Center works with scientists, local and state political figures, community leaders, the military, and others to integrate the latest science with legal and policy analyses to solve coastal resource management issues[7]
        • Study funded by NASA and CCRFR working to assess level of subsidence, or the sinking of the land, via interferometric synthetic aperture radar (InSAR) analysis
        • Economic studies have been conducted regarding the establishment of a water technology cluster in Hampton Roads along with the impact of severe weather events on housing prices in Hampton Roads[8]
    • Wetlands Watch
      • Located in Norfolk
      • Incorporated in 2001 as a 501(c)(3) nonprofit
      • Help individuals, organizations, and local governments to make better land use decisions to protect the coastal and wetlands environments
      • Help local governments in Virginia adapt to sea level rise