This past July local planners, engineers, and other staff from across Hampton Roads took advantage of a long month to participate in a workshop on Climate Adaptation for Coastal Communities. The training was provided by staff from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Coastal Services Center, and hosted by the Hampton Roads PDC at Newport News Waterworks. In addition to NOAA and HRPDC, several other partners took part in planning and coordinating the training, including Wetlands Watch, the Virginia Coastal Zone Management Program, and the Chesapeake Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve. Over forty people attended the three-day training, including thirty-seven who attended for all three days. The training was provided through NOAA program funds and the HRPDC’s existing Coastal Zone Management grants, so there was no cost to attendees. The training also provided continuing education credits to certified planners and floodplain managers.
Climate Adaptation for Coastal Communities was designed by NOAA to teach local practitioners about climate change impacts and tools and techniques they could use to address those impacts in their communities. The course featured a mix of presentations (including some from Hampton Roads communities) and hands-on activities that put concepts into use. Day 1 focused on climate change science, Day 2 focused on vulnerability and adaptation, and Day 3 focused on communications and implementation. The sessions highlighted local communities, with presentations including existing and projected climate conditions for Hampton Roads and local activities and programs Hampton Roads cities and counties already have in place. Activities included identifying climate stressors, scoping out and conducting qualitative vulnerability assessments, and identifying adaptation options.
Overall, the training was well received. The lessons learned should be carried over into local plans addressing climate change impacts on Hampton Roads communities, with several localities’ efforts already underway or soon to begin.