Flood Protection Program Implementation Ripple Effect

In November 2021, the City of Virginia Beach received the support of residents who voted to authorize a $567.5M bond referendum to fund the design and construction of Phase 1 Flood Protection projects located throughout the City. Since that time, staff has been developing and implementing the Program to facilitate meeting the 10-year deadline for the implementation of over 40 projects in Phase 1.

The Flood Protection Program organization includes a Governance Team which consists of senior City leadership who help guide the program and ensure coordination among City departments. Development of the program included risk identification and process improvements. In the early stages of program implementation, the Governance Team identified potential program risks that could impact the implementation of the projects. Working groups were created to develop strategies and process improvements that help to mitigate the risks and enhance project implementation.

Leading up to the bond referendum, the City launched the Ripple Effect outreach campaign to communicate with citizens about the risks of flooding and the proposed projects. Ongoing and frequent communication is key for continued public support of the Flood Protection Program. Outreach components include regular updates to City Council, monthly meetings of a Citizen Oversight Board, program and project webpages, individual project public meetings, videos and blog posts on social media, articles written for national and regional publications, regular emails to City staff affected by the program, and flood visualization tools based on modeling. The Ripple Effect program and project webpages can be viewed at https://www.vbgov.com/rippleeffect.

There will likely be more challenges as the City continues to implement the Flood Protection Program projects, but the end ripple effect will be improved resiliency to flooding.