Wetlands Watch has been working since 2007 to develop climate change adaptation plans at the local level in Virginia. Working in the tidal region of the state, we have focused on sea level rise and its impacts on the ecosystems, communities, and businesses in Virginia.
We have established a "collaborative adaptation design laboratory" or "Collaboratory" wherein we match the adaptation needs of local governments in Virginia with the academic talents of colleges and universities. We have successfully brought engineering, archeticiture, geography, and other disciplines into tidal communities to help solve adaptation problems. One of our projects was the seed that grew into a $120 million award under the HUD National Disaster Resilience Competition.
We have developed a "toolkit" for coastal communities to use in the planning and implementation of an adaptation strategy. We are working with shorline businesses and governments to move ahead in this region with the highest rate of sea level rise on the Atlantic Coast of the US. We also maintain a blog on adaptation activities in the US - focused mostly on the Atlantic Coast.
We work to find incentives for sea level rise adaptation implementation, using the National Flood Insurance Program's Community Rating System (CRS) wherein flood insurance premiums are lowered as a community takes additional flood proofing steps. We co chair the regional CRS working group, seeking to get nature-based flood control solutions used as a way of lowering flood insurance costs (and restoring habitat). We also look for co-benefits from this work, such as using these flood proofing solutions to meet regulatory mandates to reduce storm water runoff pollution.
We have the first smart phone app that crowdsources data on the location and extent of flooding. The "Sea Level Rise" app is available in both iPhone and Android versions and is being tested from Maine to Florida.