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Millions of dollars invested into fixing flooding across Hampton Roads, Virginia

Projects to address flood preparedness can now begin in Hampton Roads after Governor Ralph Northam announced $7.8 million of grant investments.

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. — Like solving any problem, there are a lot of factors that go into fixing flooding in the Tidewater area. 

“It's not like sixth-order differential equations, but it’s along the lines of calculus," CJ Bodnar said, a civil engineer with Virginia Beach's Stormwater Engineering Center. 

“You’ve got to take into account a number of factors: not just rainfall but elevation of water.” 

Nearly a dozen projects to address flood preparedness can now begin in Hampton Roads after Virginia Governor Ralph Northam announced $7.8 million of grant investments.

Of the 19 projects, ten are within the seven cities of Hampton Roads, including: 

  • Virginia Beach: Eastern Branch of Elizabeth River Wetland and Floodplain Restoration- $3,000,000
  • Norfolk: Norfolk Coastal Storm Risk Management Analysis- $900,000
  • Norfolk: Lake Whitehurst Watershed Study- $500,000
  • Portsmouth: Portsmouth's Data-Driven and Equity-Driven Resilience Strategy- $527,949
  • Hampton: Resilient Hampton: Downton Hampton, Phoebus and Buckroe Beach- $158,681
  • Hampton: Honor Park Resilience Park- $147,994
  • Hampton: Mill Point Living Shoreline - $126,498
  • Chesapeake: Southern Chesapeake - Watershed 5- $91,404
  • Chesapeake: Resilience Plan | $74,997
  • Suffolk: Capacity Building and Planning | $68,024

“If you look out at the pipes, it’s a straight shot to the river. But that’s not the way it is in nature, it meanders. We’ll go back in to restore some of that, helping slow the water down," Bodnar said, who helped the City of Virginia Beach apply for the Elizabeth River grant. 

“What happens is as the water level rises, it degrades and destroys the wetlands. When that happens the water pushes up faster, and gets upstream.” 

In total, the projects add up to more than $5.5 million of total grant investment, not including an oyster project in Northampton County on Virginia's Eastern Shore. 

Bodnar says the city, now after receiving the grant, has three years to complete this project. 

This comes weeks before Virginia Beach voters vote on a Flood Protection referendum, asking whether citizens would be in favor of paying a higher real estate tax rate to fund flood protection projects across the city.