Flood Risk in Nature’s Wonderland: A Strategy for a Resilience in Buchanan County, VA

This presentation will focus on a strategy developed to reduce flood risk in the hard-hit communities within Buchanan County, Virginia. The county has a history of devastating floods, including major events in 2020, 2021, and 2022. Topics to be addressed include:

  • Challenges around engaging stakeholders and the public in economically disadvantaged communities that have been repeatedly engaged for various flood mitigation efforts, all while recovering from destructive flood events;
  • Topographical, environmental, and social complexities in assessing flood risk and considering potential actions to reduce risk, such as increasingly extreme rainfall events, a history of mining impacts, presence of endangered species, and steep slopes that limit most developable land to flood-prone areas;
  • Understanding community capabilities and capacity to implement potential flood risk-reduction measures in a county where most officials balance multiple roles as several state and/or federal flood mitigation initiatives are underway; and,
  • Developing flood-risk reduction strategies with a focus on nature-based project solutions with additional environmental co-benefits.