Make Time for the Little Things: Balancing Future Deeds with Current Needs

Amity Dewey, PE, Lead Water Resources Engineer, WSP

Melissa Simpson, PE, PMP, ENV SP, Hampton Roads Civil Director, WSP

Virginia is one of the most vulnerable states when it comes to climate change.  Higher sea levels and heavier rainfall events are already impacting coastal communities and the Hampton Roads region is experiencing the highest rate of sea level rise on the east coast.

The coastal community has been actively developing mitigation strategies and working towards adaptive management to address these changes and prepare for the future.  Local City and State officials have been working hard to develop and implement new design criteria while concurrently planning large-scale infrastructure projects to protect communities from sea level rise and storm surge events.

While it is important that we implement design criteria that addresses future risks, we must also consider how planned adaptation strategies are going to mitigate these risks.  Accounting for future risk while ignoring future adaptation strategies could lead to over-designed projects that are not cost effective.  How can we factor in the effects of adaptation strategies and what are the risks involved with doing so?

Author Bio

Melissa is WSP’s Hampton Roads Civil Director and senior technical principal, with over 15 years experience specializing in stormwater management design, compliance and permitting. Melissa has worked on a wide variety of federal, state and local infrastructure projects throughout the region.

Amity is the stormwater group lead for WSP's Virginia Beach office. She is a technical principal specializing in stormwater management design, compliance and permitting. For over 10 years, Amity has provided planning studies, design, and construction packages on a range of infrastructure projects in the Hampton Roads region.