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  • USA: This coastal town’s battle against sea-level rise could offer lessons for others

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USA: This coastal town’s battle against sea-level rise could offer lessons for others

Source(s):  Washington Post, the

By Patricia Sullivan


How Hampton copes with rising sea levels could provide lessons for other localities at a critical time: A recent study by the Union of Concerned Scientists predicted that 300,000 existing homes and businesses in the United States will be at risk of chronic, disruptive flooding within the next 30 years.


In forming their plans, city leaders gleaned ideas from Dutch engineers who have protected their low-lying country from seawater inundation for centuries, as well as scientific gatherings and community meetings.

They now require first floors of new buildings to be three feet higher than the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) requirement, and they are considering “no-runoff” pervious pavement for sidewalks and parking lots, which will allow standing water to drain into the soil slowly. The city is working on creating breakwaters in parts of the bay, dredging certain channels and replenishing beaches to make them more resilient to waves.


Hampton’s government bought 18 frequently flooded homes, razed them, and turned the land into a large drainage area that is also a wildlife and native plant marsh with a recreational boardwalk and trail. It used FEMA money supplemented by city funding to elevate nine houses in the past two years, with two more underway and 26 in the pipeline.

In the next five years, the city will dedicate $26 million to water quality projects, such as storm water ponds, breakwaters and “living shorelines,” which help slow erosion and reduce tidal surges.


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  • Publication date 27 Jul 2018

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