Can natural infrastructure help protect Hampton Roads from flooding?

Posted at 10:50 AM, Feb 09, 2016
and last updated 2016-02-09 17:32:41-05

Norfolk, Va. (WTKR) - Experts from across the country are in Norfolk addressing how natural infrastructure can help protect Hampton Roads from rising sea levels and flooding.

The Environmental Defense Fund and partners are hosting the two-day workshop at Slover Library in Downtown.

Local officials as well as planning and design firms are learning about the use of natural infrastructure like wetlands, oyster reefs, barrier beaches, dunes and maritime forests and how it can be used to reduce coastal flooding and also improve water quality.

"Living with water means you know accepting that water is going to flow to low places. So, can you put in a freshwater or saltwater marsh there to grow habitat and absorb that water?" Environmental Defense Fund Water Program Deputy Director Shannon Cunniff who organized the workshop told NewsChannel 3's Todd Corillo Tuesday.

"Living shorelines, wetlands, oyster reefs, they hold flood waters and they can also help cleanse those floodwaters so we have healthy water. So this is a wonderful opportunity to have multiple benefits," Christy Everett with the Chesapeake Bay Foundation commented.

Norfolk is second only to New Orleans when it comes to a population center at the greatest risk of flooding.