Hampton, Va., home of Langley AFB and the former Fort Monroe, is on the front lines of the battle against rising sea levels. Water levels in the Hampton Roads region are expected to rise by up to five feet, while the land sinks up to 7.5 inches, by 2100, a net rise which tops the rate of any place on the East Coast. But the city has taken multiple steps to prepare for one of the most conspicuous effects of climate change, reports the Washington Post.
Hampton now requires first floors of new buildings to be three feet higher than the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) requirement. Officials also are considering installing pervious pavement for sidewalks and parking lots, which will allow standing water to drain into the ground slowly. The city purchased and demolished 18 frequently flooded homes before converting the tract into a large drainage area that also provides a marsh habitat for wildlife and native plants. A plan to elevate more than 35 homes, partially supported by FEMA, is under way as well. And over the next five years, the city is investing $26 million in water quality projects to slow erosion and reduce tidal surges.
Next month, Hampton will release a plan for adding more resilient infrastructure to a waterway which leads from the James River to Langley AFB, in an effort to mitigate the impact of flooding throughout the city’s core.
Washington Post photo by Vicki Cronis-Nohe