Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam recently signed an executive order to increase the state’s resilience against sea level rise and natural disasters. He signed the order during the 6th Annual Conference of the Virginia Coastal Policy Center at the College of William & Mary Law School; it specifies actions the Commonwesalth of Virginia will take to limit the impact of flooding, extreme weather events, and wildfires.
Among them are designating Virginia’s secretary of natural resources as the chief resilience officer of the Commonwealth, a review of the vulnerability of Commonwealth-owned buildings, development of a Virginia coastal resilience master plan, a review of pre-disaster mitigation programs, and a review of compliance with flood protection and dam safety laws.
“As extreme weather events become more frequent and more intense, the safety and economic well-being of every Virginian is put at greater risk,” Northam said. “The actions the Commonwealth will undertake as a result of this executive order will ensure we address this growing challenge head on, setting Virginia on a path towards resilience to near and long-term natural catastrophes and enhancing our public health and economic vitality with a whole of government approach.”
“The actions described in today’s executive order set the stage for major investment in planning and resilience across the state,” said Matthew J. Strickler, secretary of natural resources and the Commonwealth’s new chief resilience officer. “Whether it’s riverine or coastal flooding, severe rain events, wildfire, or hurricanes, all will benefit from a more resilient Virginia, especially one that harnesses the benefits of natural and nature-based infrastructure to protect people and property whenever possible.”