RD247 - Feasibility of Development of Flood Resiliency Clearinghouse Program (HB2187) – November 2021

Executive Summary:

House Bill 2187(*i), introduced by Delegate Keith Hodges in the 2021 session of the Virginia General Assembly, directed the Commonwealth Center for Recurrent Flooding Resiliency (CCRFR), a partnership between Old Dominion University, the Virginia Institute of Marine Science (VIMS) and the William & Mary Law School’s Virginia Coastal Policy Center (VCPC) established by Virginia Chapter 440 of the 2016 Acts of Assembly (HB 903), to evaluate the development of a Flood Resiliency Clearinghouse Program (henceforth Clearinghouse). The bill stipulated that the Center should work with the Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR) to evaluate solutions that manage both water quality and flooding and emphasize nature-based solutions. Further, it states that the CCRFR and DCR shall evaluate solutions that include both “approved and not-yet-approved stormwater best management practices". The intent of HB 2187 to provide an easily accessible resource to aid policymakers, state agencies, localities, businesses, and the public in implementing flood protection practices that are protective of water quality is clear. Less clear is the geographic and the programmatic/jurisdictional scope of the best management practices (BMPs) to be considered and the specific roles that the Clearinghouse would play beyond being a repository for information on existing BMPs ranging from shoreline erosion control to stormwater management. This report takes the approach of assuming that the intent of the bill is for the Clearinghouse to be a statewide resource, but much of the analysis is focused on the coastal zone where jurisdictional and regulatory structures include additional levels of complexity.

While there are currently best management practices (BMPs) approved in the Commonwealth for the management of stormwater quantity and quality, these practices were not designed to withstand flooding impacts and have not been evaluated for flood control in the riparian and littoral zones. There is a need in Virginia for innovative shoreline strategies that manage water quality and flooding and protect the coastline from erosion related to rising sea levels and storm surge. A Flood Resiliency Clearinghouse could be a resource to promote resilient shoreline solutions and could provide the cross-agency collaboration needed to evaluate and approve solutions that manage both water quality and flooding. The Clearinghouse could fill the need in the Commonwealth for a one-stop location to identify BMPs for a particular activity intended to provide flood protection while being protective of water quality.
(*i) See Appendix 1 for the Act.