Dewberry selected to develop Va. coastal resilience plan
Master plan to be delivered to state government by Nov. 30
Updated March 19
Fairfax-based engineering and planning firm Dewberry has been awarded a $2.6 million contract by the state to develop Virginia’s first Coastal Resilience Master Plan, Gov. Ralph Northam announced Thursday.
Dewberry, joined by Louisiana-based The Water Institute of the Gulf and Virginia subcontractors GKY & Associates, Vision Planning and Consulting, and The Miles Agency, will work with officials at the Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation and the master plan’s technical advisory committee to address sea-level rise and coastal flooding in Eastern Virginia, the governor’s office said in a news release. A plan based on the state’s coastal master planning framework is due in November.
According to the Memorandum of Understanding between the state and Dewberry, the plan must include a prioritized list of critical infrastructure for national security, public health and safety, and the economy, as well as a list of natural resources that are necessary to protect the area from flooding. The firm also must produce a detailed funding needs assessment and a list of recommended funding sources to implement the plan. The agreed timeline would include a final coastal flood hazard framework due April 30, a prioritized project list by Aug. 20, a funding analysis due Sept. 8 and completion of the master plan document by Nov. 30.
In recent years, Dewberry was lead consultant on Virginia Beach’s Sea Level Wise project, and the company also worked on developing Louisiana’s coastal protection and restoration plans. According to the state, about 250,000 acres and property valued at $17.4 billion are less than five feet above the high tide line in Virginia, affecting such economic drivers as Department of Defense-funded shipbuilding and ship repair projects, as well as impacting historical and cultural landmarks, fisheries and wildlife.
The contract was awarded after a request for proposals in December.
The state’s technical advisory committee was created in October by executive order and includes officials from state agencies, universities’ coastal and environmental departments and executive directors from Virginia’s coastal planning district commissions and regional commissions. Dewberry will work with the committee and Ann C. Phillips, special assistant to the governor for coastal adaptation and protection. Along with developing the master plan, the firm will also create a public outreach plan to make sure residents of coastal communities are able to provide input on the process.
“Dewberry knows Virginia, and we are ready to hit the ground running,” Dewberry Project Manager Brian Batten said in a statement. “We look forward to working with Gov. Northam’s team and the Coastal TAC to produce a sound plan for a more resilient commonwealth.”