Virginia Beach

Merrifield-based planning-and-engineering firm Dewberry has contracted with the Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation to work with state officials and the Virginia Coastal Master Plan Technical Advisory Committee (TAC) to develop Virginia’s first Coastal Resilience Master Plan, Gov. Northam announced March 18.

Dewberry and other team members by this November will need to finalize a project-based plan built upon the Virginia Coastal Master Planning Framework.

“Selecting Dewberry as our partner will enable the commonwealth to develop a comprehensive, ambitious Coastal Resilience Master Plan,” Northam said. “We look forward to working with this team of experts to implement nature-based, cost-effective and equitable solutions that address the challenges of sea-level rise and coastal flooding and improve the resilience of our communities, businesses and critical infrastructure.”

Dewberry will be joined in the effort by The Water Institute of the Gulf and Virginia-certified small, women- and minority-owned subcontractors GKY & Associates, Vision Planning and Consulting, and The Miles Agency. The team was awarded the contract through a competitive request-for-proposals process.

Dewberry earlier played a significant role in developing the Louisiana Coastal Protection and Restoration Master Plans, and was the lead consultant on the city of Virginia Beach’s recently completed Sea Level Wise planning project, officials said.

The TAC has held two meetings since its formation last fall and established several subcommittees to address specific issues outlined in the Virginia Coastal Resilience Master Planning Framework that Gov. Northam released last October.

Dewberry will work with TAC, the chief resilience officer and special assistant to the governor for coastal adaptation and protection to create and refine the models and strategies that will make up the master plan. “I am pleased that Dewberry has agreed to lend its expertise as well, and am confident that we will finish this historic effort before the end of Gov. Northam’s term,” said Secretary of Natural Resources and Chief Resilience Officer Matthew Strickler.

Dewberry also will help design and implement a public-outreach campaign to ensure that all coastal communities are familiar with the master-plan process and can provide input.

“It is critically important that we get buy-in for the master plan at the community level, and that we are diligent in reaching out to both traditional partners and to traditionally underserved communities in urban and rural areas,” said retired Rear Adm. Ann Phillips, special assistant to the governor for coastal adaptation and protection."

[Sun Gazette Newspapers provides content to, but otherwise is unaffiliated with, InsideNoVa or Rappahannock Media LLC.]

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