Hampton Roads Sea Level Rise Preparedness and Resilience Intergovernmental Planning Pilot Project

The Hampton Roads Sea Level Rise Preparedness and Resilience Intergovernmental Planning Pilot Project is a two-year project to develop adaptive planning for sea level rise by combining the efforts of federal, state and local agencies with private industries and researchers. The Pilot Project was established to take a “whole of government” approach to coordinating the preparedness and resilience planning of the Federal, Commonwealth agencies and Local governments in Hampton Roads. The goal, upon completion of the Pilot Project in 2016, is that Hampton Roads will have in place intergovernmental planning organizational arrangements and procedures that can effectively coordinate sea level rise preparedness and resilience planning. Recurrent flooding is a significant challenge for many localities in Hampton Roads, Virginia and sea level rise will continue to further increase the vulnerability of the region to coastal storms and tidal flooding.

The Pilot Project is to be conducted in two phases, each tentatively lasting one year.

Phase I. June 2014 - June 2015
: The goal of the first phase is to develop a Memorandum of Agreement setting the organizational structure and operating procedures for coordinating intergovernmental sea level rise preparedness and resilience planning. Phase I includes a review of key Federal, Commonwealth of Virginia, and regional reports and policy documents that may provide guidance or recommendations applicable to this regional planning effort, lessons learned and best practices from other regional sea level rise planning efforts in the U.S. and abroad, and other studies and analyses related to sea level rise adaptation that may help inform this planning effort.

Phase II. June 2015 - June 2016: The initial intergovernmental planning organization developed in Phase I will commence coordination of sea level rise preparedness and resilience planning by Federal, state and local government agencies and the private sector, with inputs from the public. The lessons learned in Phase II will be used to refine the organizational structure and operating procedures to allow a permanent intergovernmental planning organization to commence operations immediately upon conclusion of the Pilot Project.

Hampton Roads Sea Level Rise Preparedness and Resilience Intergovernmental Planning Pilot Project Charter was established on October 10, 2014. The current/remaining Phase I Deliverables as set forth in the Charter are as follows:

February 2015. Report on specific preparedness and resilience planning issues to be addressed in Phase II. This need not encompass the full range of issues that should be addressed; it should identify a set of issues that reasonably can be addressed within anticipated time and resource constraints. The Scope of Planning section below provides a starting point for identifying these preparedness and resilience planning issues.

March 2015. Report on the administrative, management, jurisdictional and legal issues that must be addressed to commence coordinated intergovernmental planning in Phase II and to establish an intergovernmental planning organization upon completion of the Pilot Project.

April 2015. Submit Plan of Action for Phase II.

June 2015. Final report on Phase I, including all the deliverables listed above and a template for establishing an intergovernmental planning organization that can be adapted to the unique circumstances of other regions.

For Phase I Old Dominion University will serve as convener and facilitator, and provide a password-protected portal for Steering Committee members and an open web site for the public. ODU will identify staffing and resources required to carry out those functions. Individual government agencies and private stakeholders will fund their own expenses during Phase I.


In the Hampton Roads area, sea level has risen 14 inches since 1930 and the 1.6 million people in the region are the 2nd most vulnerable population center threatened by sea level rise in the U.S.. Projections for Norfolk Naval Base - the world’s largest naval base - predict that the main road into the naval base will be underwater for 2-3 hours a day by 2040.



Publication Date: June 2014

Related Organizations:

  • Hampton Roads Planning District Commission
  • Old Dominion University


Resource Category:

Resource Types:

  • Scenario planning

States Affected:


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