Institute for Environmental Negotiation

Empowering communities to create shared solutions

Sea Level Rise in Hampton Roads: Findings from the Virginia Beach Listening Sessions

(2011) - The Institute for Environmental Negotiation (IEN), in collaboration with Hampton Roads Planning Commission (HRPDC), Wetlands Watch (WW), Old Dominion University (ODU), and the City of Virginia Beach, facilitated a series of four public listening sessions in Virginia Beach in the spring of 2011. This initiative was a first for the state of Virginia and one of the few opportunities for public engagement on sea level rise that has occurred in the nation. 

The primary goal of this pioneering effort was to provide a forum for residents of urban, suburban, and rural areas of Virginia Beach to communicate their experiences of sea level rise; voice any concerns; and offer suggestions for planning, prevention, and mitigation. A second goal was to deliver basic community environmental education on the current and projected impacts of sea level in the region. Results from these sessions will inform the design of future public engagement projects and support planning efforts of the Environmnetal and Sustainability Office of the City of Virginia Beach. 

One hundred twenty-eight people attended the sessions. While most were local to Virginia Beach, the listening sessions also attracted individuals from the wider Hampton Roads region and even from outside the state. Evaluation of the sessions was extremely favorable, overall. Sea Level Rise in Hampton Roads Final Report