The Eastern Shore of Virginia: Strategies for Adapting to Climate Change

This report is the result of a climate change adaptation project launched by the Nature Conservancy for the Eastern Shore of Virginia to quantify the current understanding of potential ecological effects due to climate change through an expert workshop, literature review and assessment of resource vulnerability using LiDAR (Light Detection and Ranging) data.

The Conservancy, in collaboration with partners and the local community, set out to use this understanding to identify strategic actions that will enhance resilience and facilitate adaptation of this globally important and productive coastal area.

Pursuing local collaboration, the Nature Conservancy hosted the Eastern Shore Climate Change Adaptation Strategies Workshop in August 2010. Workshop participants included a range of industries and communities that will be affected by sea-level rise and other climate change effects, including local representatives from aquaculture, agriculture, local government and community organizations.

The workshop participants ultimately agreed on five priority climate change adaptation strategies which are presented in this report:

1. Local Adaptation Planning
2. Shoreline Management Plans
3. Restoration and Protection of Natural Systems
4. Groundwater Management
5. Education and Outreach

Each of the five strategies are thoroughly reviewed, and the recommended steps to implement each action also are discussed great detail. 

“Overall, [workshop] participants expressed a great love for the Eastern Shore and a recognition that its way of life, culture and economy is changing and at risk due to sea-level rise and other effects of global climate change. One of the most significant concerns expressed by participants was the lack of political will and public education about global climate change and sea-level rise on the Eastern Shore. The consensus among participants was that public understanding and education regarding the implications and consequences of sea-level rise, coastal flooding, and other global climate change effects is poor.”


Publication Date: May 2011

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