U.S. Army Corps and the City of Hampton Lead the Charge on the Approved Virginia Peninsula Coastal Storm Risk Management Feasibility Study

The approval of the Feasibility Study is a step toward building the resilience of the Peninsula region against coastal flooding

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Norfolk District
Published Jan. 17, 2024

The Norfolk District, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and City of Hampton received approval from Headquarters USACE in December to conduct the Virginia Peninsula Coastal Storm Risk Management Feasibility Study.

The study will investigate coastal and riverine flooding in the Peninsula region exacerbated by sea level rise. The study includes low-lying areas that have experienced repetitive damage from coastal storms, flooding and rainfall events.

“We’re excited to partner with the City of Hampton and work with the Cities of Newport News, Poquoson, Williamsburg, and the counties of James City and York,” said Col. Brian Hallberg, Norfolk District commander. “This study aims to examine suitable, feasible, and acceptable measures to reduce the effects of coastal storms and strengthen the resilience of the Peninsula region against flooding.”

The study area is comprised of the cities of Hampton, Newport News, Poquoson, Williamsburg, and the counties of James City and York in Virginia, and is bounded by the James River to the south, Chesapeake Bay to the east and the York River to the north.

The study will examine the federal interest and the feasibility of implementing measures that may include building elevation or floodproofing, nature-based solutions such as wetland restoration, and structural measures such as tide gates and floodwalls to help manage the risk of storm damage. 

The study is 100% federally funded for an initial $3 million and approved under the Long-Term Disaster Recovery Investment Plan component of the Fiscal Year 2019 Additional Supplemental Appropriations Disaster Relief Act, 2019.

"Hampton has taken a very proactive position on mitigating the impact of storms and sea-level rise. This is a study we have been seeking for several years and are pleased that it is moving forward,” said Mary Bunting, Hampton City Manager. "We are very excited for the opportunity to partner with our regional partners and the Army Corp of Engineers. Floodwaters cross borders, and this comprehensive study is an opportunity for the Peninsula to have a regional planning approach for shoreline protection projects. The Army Corps’ study will provide an understanding of those issues and develop potential solutions that will make the region safer and stronger."

The study is planned to result in a Chief’s Report to Congress requesting project authorization in a future Water Resources Development Act.

The study process will include multiple opportunities for public participation in the form of scoping meetings, information meetings, and public comment periods for draft and final reports. The public scoping process will determine the study schedule, budget, and if additional funding is necessary.

Based on the study findings, USACE, the City of Hampton and surrounding communities will partner to develop a plan to design measures that will lead to construction to tangibly manage coastal storm risk and improve economic resiliency of the Peninsula region.