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You Visit Tour. Webb Lion Fountain. June 1 2017. Photo David B. Hollingsworth

FEMA Listening Session March 11 One of Three Sea Level Rise-Themed Events to be Hosted at ODU in March

Old Dominion University will host a "listening session" March 11, being conducted by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) about the new Federal Flood Risk Management Standard (FFRMS) implementation.

ODU will host the only scheduled East Coast listening session, which will provide FEMA and its federal partners an opportunity to receive feedback from the public on the Standard's implementation and how it may affect local communities. It will also provide an opportunity for federal agencies affected by the Standard to ask questions and seek feedback on its implementation.

The session runs from 9 a.m.-12 p.m. in ODU's Ted Constant Convocation Center. Anyone is welcome to attend and comment, however, first priority will be given to those who register in advance by emailing FFRMS@fema.dhs.gov with the subject line "Reservation Request for FFRMS." For more information, call 757-683-5560.

In fact, three events connected to sea level rise mitigation are being hosted by Old Dominion University in the next few weeks, strong recognition of the multidisciplinary research expertise ODU possesses in the study of the effect of rising sea levels on low-lying coastal regions such as Hampton Roads.

The evening before, ODU will host a public hearing on the Commonwealth of Virginia's application for a grant through the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) under its National Disaster Resiliency Competition.

The state government and regional partners in Hampton Roads have created a public-private coalition, The Resilience Partnership (RP), whose purpose is to re-invent the region around a shared understanding of how to live with water, in response to on-going environmental changes. The coalition will surface, test and refine the best strategies for building water resilient communities across a range of environments by developing a model seaport region that derives its economic vitality from the water. The application to HUD is to support innovative resilience projects at the local level here in Hampton Roads.

The event is scheduled for 6 p.m. on Tuesday, March 10 in the Big Blue Room of the Constant Center. It is free and open to the public.

More information and the Virginia Department of Housing and Community Development draft plan are available HERE.

Then on Tuesday, March 17, ODU will co-host the Resilient Region Reality Check with the Urban Land Institute. That event, which runs from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. in the Constant Center, will see leaders from government, business, environmental, and civic sectors and citizens meet to discuss the risk of sea level rise and flooding to the region, how the community should respond and the willingness to prepare.

Call 757-683-6598 for more information.

On January 30, President Barack Obama issued an Executive Order, "Establishing a Federal Flood Risk Management Standard and a Process for Further Soliciting and Considering Stakeholder Input." Future federal investments in, and affecting floodplains, will be required to meet the level of resilience established in the Federal Flood Risk Management Standard. This includes projects where federal funds are used to build new structures and facilities, or to rebuild those that have been damaged. These projects make sure that buildings are constructed to withstand the impacts of flooding, improve the resilience of communities, and protect federal investments.

The Standard requires agencies to consider the best available, actionable science of both current and future risk when taxpayer dollars are used to build or rebuild in floodplains. On average, more people die annually from flooding than any other natural hazard. Further, the costs borne by the federal government are more than any other hazard. Water-related disasters account for approximately 85 percent of all disaster declarations.

For more information on the FFRMS and the listening sessions, please see the FEMA WEBSITE.

Old Dominion University's commitment to research in the study of sea level rise and mitigating its effects stretches back decades. In 2010, President John R. Broderick created the Climate Change and Sea Level Rise Initiative, to bring the University and the region's foremost experts together to find solutions to the challenges facing our region and other regions globally connected with rising sea levels.

In 2014, the White House tasked Old Dominion University with leading a pilot project aimed at developing a regional "whole of government" and "whole of community" approach to sea level rise preparedness and resilience planning in Hampton Roads that also can be used as a template for other regions.

ODU's Center for Sea Level Rise is the home base for the pilot project. See its website HERE.

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