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New infrastructure bill could help Hampton Roads waterways

Hampton Roads environmental groups said more projects focused on preventing flooding and sea-level rise could come with a new federal plan.

NORFOLK, Va. — Hampton Roads environmental groups are hoping for new flood prevention and restoration projects from the $1.2 trillion federal infrastructure bill. Congress approved the measure on Friday.  

“We’ve got the highest rate of sea-level rise on the East Coast here in eastern Virginia," said Wetlands Watch Executive Director Skip Stiles.

The Wetlands Watch is based out of Norfolk. It's a nonprofit organization focused on preventing floods across Hampton Roads and the Commonwealth. Stiles has been monitoring the infrastructure bill closely.

“You know what we’re hoping is that the problems we have with flooding like this intersection behind that floods all the time will get some of the fixes for the money," said Stiles.

“There are several aspects to the infrastructure bill that are really going to affect our area, particularly our waterways," said Chesapeake Bay Foundation Hampton Roads Director Christy Everett.

Everett said about $45 million is going to the Environmental Protection Agency's Chesapeake Bay Program. She said this group handles a lot of the environmental grants. 

“We can see more of those wetland restoration projects. We can see more of those oyster restoration projects, and in many cases, those are the projects that can help mitigate and help stop that erosion coming from higher sea-level rise," said Everett.

Everett is hoping other Hampton roads organizations and cities apply for grants once the bill is finalized.

“I encourage Hampton Roads area nonprofits and localities to get their restoration projects ready to apply for those funds and make sure that it comes to our area.”

The Infrastructure Bill is not yet been signed by President Joe Biden.



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