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Virginia Wants Your Climate Change Stories

Pamela D'Angelo

You’ve heard it before. Virginia’s coasts are sinking as sea levels rise and oceans warm, leading to bigger, more frequent weather events and flooding.

The state is now collecting stories from those now bearing the brunt of these changes.

Ann Phillips has spent three long years with no budget or staff, traveling many miles to small towns, like this night in Warsaw, along the Rappahannock River. As special assistant to the governor for coastal adaptation and protection, she’s met with public officials. Now she wants to hear from the state’s most vulnerable residents so their problems can be addressed in a coastal resilience master plan to target funding.

This time she has help from the Fairfax-based engineering consultant Dewberry. Johanna Greenspan-Johnston is one of their planners collecting citizen stories.  "We have created so much data, so much information, how do we communicate and tell this story so that we’re not just inundating people with numbers," Greenspan-Johnson explains.

"But finding what are those numbers what are those maps that really tell the story and are useful for the state but also for the constituents, the localities, the regions empowering them with the information."

And there’s money coming from the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, a carbon credit auction recently joined by the state. The Department of Conservation and Recreation will manage funds to help communities most at risk. If you missed your district meeting, you can still go online and take a 10-minute survey and submit your flooding challenges.

Click here for the Coastal Resilience Master Plan Survey

Virginia Coastal Resilience Master Plan information and meetings

This report, provided by Virginia Public Radio, was made possible with support from the Virginia Education Association.