Mid-Atlantic
Photo Credits: Before (Southside Daily photo/Courtesy of Dewberry)

Report: Combating sea-level rise could cost Virginia Beach billions

VIRGINIA BEACH — Dewberry, the professional services firm hired by the city to research sea-level rise here, recently unveiled the first piece of its comprehensive report to City Council.

The city hired Dewberry in 2015 to chart the threats posed to Virginia Beach by rising sea levels and recurrent flooding.

The study is intended to inform the city’s decisions on how to defend itself against sea-level rise and recurrent flooding through the 21st century.

The study provided different combinations of structures the city could construct to combat sea level rise, with estimated costs varying between $1.71 billion to $3.79 billion — money that, if allocated for projects, would be dedicated over a series of decades.

Brian Batten, the senior coastal scientist and project manager at Dewberry, presented the first briefing last Tuesday to City Council on the report.

“The trend of relative sea level increase is projected to accelerate through the end of the century,” Batten said. “This report is meant to provide some tools for how to buy down risk in areas of the city that are likely to be flood-prone in the future.”

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