Grace Tucker and Emily Steinhilber, 2022. “Building the foundation: Coupling capacity-building resources with planning and engagement to build equity and resilience in Virginia”, Shore & Beach, 90(4), 43-52.
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Coastal Forum: Building the foundation: Coupling capacity-building resources with planning and engagement to build equity and resilience in Virginia
Grace Tucker and Emily Steinhilber
Environmental Defense Fund, Washington, DC 20009
In 2021, the Commonwealth of Virginia concurrently completed the first phase of a Coastal Resilience Master Plan (CRMP) to outline coastal flood hazards and launched a statewide Community Flood Preparedness Fund (CFPF) to jump-start flood resilience capacity building and project implementation. Both initiatives required extensive locality awareness and buy-in to be successful and, despite best efforts, engagement and outreach fell short. The two initiatives were geographically and financially disconnected, leaving localities in the coastal zone with little incentive to participate fully in the CRMP process and localities throughout the state looking for more information about the CFPF. Strategies to improve outreach and engagement and link the two initiatives could provide incentive for participation in both, as has occurred in other regions, as the agency responsible for both moves forward with state mandated planning and engagement. This paper explores lessons learned in Virginia and the potential of the CFPF to level the playing field by allowing lower-resourced, rural, and riverine communities to catch up with urban, coastal communities and become more competitive for funding to address flooding while also concurrently enhancing statewide and coastal resilience planning initiatives.