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How One U.S. Coastal City Is Facing the Hard Fact That the Waters Are Rising

Environment  (tags: climate-change, CO2emissions, conservation, destruction, ecosystems, environment, globalwarming, government, greenhousegases, habitatdestruction, healthconditions, humans, oceans, politics, pollution, research, science, Sustainabililty )

- 2063 days ago -
Virginia has no state policy on climate change. But on the coast - where rising seas threaten military bases, ports, homes and beaches - flooding is on everyone's mind.

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Kit B (276)
Monday August 27, 2012, 9:31 am
Photo Credit: Michael Pendergrass/US Navy

Water is inescapable in Virginia's second-largest city, home to the world's biggest naval base, three major port facilities and public and private shipyards. Norfolk is nearly surrounded by water: it sits at the mouth of the mouth of the Chesapeake Bay and the junction of the Elizabeth and James Rivers. Canals and creeks penetrate into many neighborhoods, and home sale listings highlight water access "Within 50 feet of H2O You can canoe and kayak!"

Yet as much as water is a resource in Norfolk and the surrounding area, known as Hampton Roads, it also represents a threat.

City and county leaders, already burdened with typical tasks of local governance zoning, construction permits, liquor licenses, school board appointments are also weighing multi-million-dollar flood control projects to keep the ocean at a livable distance.

While they struggle to pull together know-how and funding, those with the broader view and resources state agencies are absent from the discussions: In a study released earlier this year, the Natural Resources Defense Council ranked Virginia as one of 29 states that were "largely unprepared and lagging behind" on planning for climate change at the state level.

In many ways the problem is already upon Norfolk. The Atlantic Ocean off Virginia's coast is rising a quarter of an inch annually, equivalent to two feet in 100 years faster than anywhere else in the United States except for coastal Louisiana. The ocean at Sewells Point, site of the Norfolk Naval Station, rose 14.5 inches between 1930 and 2010. And that's likely to accelerate. Last month the U.S. Geological Survey reported that sea levels are rising more quickly along the Atlantic coast from North Carolina to Massachusetts than globally, possibly as a result of slowing Atlantic Ocean circulation patterns.

Political platform
Planning for climate change is not a winning political platform in Virginia. Republican Governor Bob McDonnell said in 2010 that "to what degree [climate change] is attributable to manmade causes is a matter I will leave up to the experts," and shelved a climate change action plan proposed by a commission under his Democratic predecessor. Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli made headlines in 2010 for investigating University of Virginia climate scientist Michael Mann, and again this year for trying unsuccessfully to block the Environmental Protection Agency from regulating greenhouse gases.

But whatever state leaders think of climate change, local officials find they can't ignore increasingly apparent street-level impacts.

Most of Norfolk is less than 15 feet above sea level, and low-lying neighborhoods already flood regularly when heavy rains combine with high tides, swamping storm-water systems. The worst flooding in memory happened in 1933, when a hurricane and five-foot storm surge left residents wading thigh-deep on downtown streets. If sea levels rise between two and five feet in the area by 2100, as recent studies predict, that could become routine. Even now, city maps show that the surge from a Category Three hurricane would inundate nearly the entire city.

In the wettest zones, streets are studded with "for sale" signs. "I know people who can't find buyers for their houses," said Skip Stiles, executive director of Wetlands Watch, a statewide advocacy group, on a drive through a historic neighborhood called The Hague. The area fronts on a canal and floods regularly. Telltale signs are easy to spot. Evaporating salt water leaves rusty stains on street curbs. Repeated overflows have killed grass in waterfront parks, leaving stretches of bare ground. Spartina, a salt-tolerant marsh grass, is sprouting on slopes above canals and marinas.

At the entrance to the Chrysler Museum of Art, which faces the estuary, Stiles paused. "There are usually ducks swimming around the front steps here after storms."
*** Continue reading at Visit Site.

Daily Climate / By Jennifer Weeks | Alternet |

Alice C (1797)
Monday August 27, 2012, 10:41 am
I cannot currently send a star to Kit because I have done so within the last week.

Gene J (290)
Monday August 27, 2012, 11:07 am
But, but, Kit! They passed a law this past session allowing for an 8 inch, but NO MORE, rise in sea level. They're covered. Or will be soon, in very salty water. Along with most coastal areas in the world. Indonesia might drown completely, at least that would put out the torches they are using to burn each others buildings to the ground.

Kit B (276)
Monday August 27, 2012, 11:39 am

Actually Gene, Virginia laws does not permit the words, 'sea rise' or 'climate change', it must be addressed as 'recurrent flooding'. How's that for incredibly stupid? I guess if we close our eyes real tight and don't look at what is happening then it will all just go away.

Roger G (154)
Monday August 27, 2012, 1:01 pm
noted thanks !

Michela M (3964)
Monday August 27, 2012, 3:03 pm

Thanks!!! Posted in:  ORANGUTANS: Men of the Forest
in:  CLIMATE CHANGE: Several Petitions - VERY URGENT New!!!
Please Join and Invite friends to Join
ORANGUTANS: Men of the Forest
together with Sumatran Tigers (Java and Bali Tigers already EXTINCT), Elephants, Rhinos, CloudedLeopards, SunBears, Wildlife, Biodiversity they face Extinction!! Only 300 Sumatran Tigers left on Earth!!! 300 Football Fields of Rainforests are CLEARED every hour in SE Asia to produce Palm Oil: a hidden, not labelled, unhealthy ingredient in the products we buy. We MUST do WHATEVER is possible to SAVE them all!! Against: Corporate Control, Deforestation, Illegal Logging, Pet Trade, Pollution, CO2 Emissions, Indigenous Peoples Displacement, Global Warming!!  Also other Primates, as Chimpanzees, Gorillas, Gibbons, and Monkeys for Vivisection are dealt in this Group. Petitions/Info/Videos/Pics are here.
Please!! Join, Sign, Invite friends to Join!! Individually: we are one DROP, all together: we are an OCEAN!! ALL together we can make a difference!! Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world -Margaret Mead Thanks!! Michela

Michela M (3964)
Monday August 27, 2012, 3:12 pm
You cannot currently send a star to Kit because you have done so within the last week.

Kit B (276)
Monday August 27, 2012, 3:34 pm

Thanks Michela - I do appreciate all that you do and the ways you try to assist in protecting animal rights and working to get environmental news out there so people can learn.

Craig Pittman (52)
Monday August 27, 2012, 4:22 pm
No acttion is likely from the State Legislature till they are up to their collective asses in 'recurrent flooding'.

Past Member (0)
Monday August 27, 2012, 5:10 pm
Sadly noted.

Michela M (3964)
Monday August 27, 2012, 7:55 pm
my comments when I see SPAMMERS



Nimue Michelle Pendragon Gaze (339)
Monday August 27, 2012, 8:02 pm

Past Member (0)
Tuesday August 28, 2012, 6:17 am
Noted, thank you.

David C (133)
Tuesday August 28, 2012, 6:34 am
noted, thanks......of course, I heard last night on the radio that the VA GOP is also threatening armed revolution if Mr. Obama wins re-election so maybe that explains some of the willingness to overlook the dangers and not take any action.....

Gloria picchetti (304)
Tuesday August 28, 2012, 8:27 am
Some people just don't care about climate change and/or they don't believe in it. I guess they will just have to put their furniture in the attick or move?

Michael Barth (43)
Tuesday August 28, 2012, 1:18 pm
Noted. Thanks for sharing.

Christeen A (370)
Tuesday August 28, 2012, 2:14 pm
Thank you for this informative article. Sadly noted.

MarietteAWAY G (175)
Tuesday August 28, 2012, 3:35 pm
Noted. Thanks for sharing Kit!

Mary Donnelly (47)
Tuesday August 28, 2012, 3:54 pm
Thanks Kit--interesting post.

marie C (163)
Tuesday August 28, 2012, 4:09 pm
Noted thanks Kit

. (0)
Tuesday August 28, 2012, 4:27 pm
If you live on the coast you'd better have good insurance. I love
Virginia though.

anne Barusta (0)
Tuesday August 28, 2012, 4:33 pm
how ignorant

Ali Murphy (1)
Tuesday August 28, 2012, 7:50 pm
noted thanx for sharing

pam w (139)
Tuesday August 28, 2012, 8:56 pm
I spent many childhood years in the Chincoteague area...this is heartbreaking.

You should know that zoo people around the world are already making plans to relocate animals which are believed to be vulnerable due to "recurrent flooding."

And there are many....

Anthony Hilbert (6)
Wednesday August 29, 2012, 8:11 am
Where are the trolls posting "Climate change is an exploded superstition"? Have the Kochs cut off their funding?

Seda A (4)
Wednesday August 29, 2012, 9:23 am
noted, thanks.

Past Member (0)
Wednesday August 29, 2012, 9:53 am

Brenda T (0)
Wednesday August 29, 2012, 10:43 am
Noted. Thanks

Lois Jordan (63)
Wednesday August 29, 2012, 5:32 pm
Noted & Much thanks, Kit! These idiot climate change deniers will spout their lies without even taking a breath....until the last thing you hear is, "blub, blub, blub."
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