NORFOLK, Va. – An interagency team of federal, and state agencies are working with local communities in an innovative way to increase awareness of available flood risk reduction programs.
The Virginia Silver Jackets are hosting a Lower Virginia Peninsula Coastal Resilience Tournament in Hampton, Virginia on June 5.
According to Michelle Hamor, the Norfolk District, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ chief of flood plain management and Virginia Silver Jackets co-chair, the tournament is a game where teams compete to develop flood risk investments that reduce the greatest amount of risk while managing local budgets and citizen response.
“The goal is to share knowledge across disciplines and increase awareness of available programs in a fun, no risk environment,” Hamor said.
The tournament shows participants a list of available federal and state programs, and it incorporates costs to implement those programs in their communities. The tournament also includes other factors like amount of benefits received and perception of the program from various stakeholders.
Teams receive scores based on how much benefits they received versus the overall costs and stakeholder sentiment.
According to the 2017 Commonwealth of Virginia Hazard Mitigation Plan, flooding is one of the most common hazards in the U.S. and Virginia. While flood risk is high, so are the demands on local budgets, and according to Hamor, the tournament gives participants an opportunity to consider flood risk reduction against budgetary constraints.
Local governments within the Chesapeake Bay watershed are also required to invest to reduce pollution and sediment. The tournament encourages conversation about opportunities to complement investments across multiple programs in both sediment reduction and flood risk reduction for a greater return.
Organizers hope this first installment of the tournament will encourage future events in other communities and more importantly increase awareness and use of available programs.