Last Friday (November 2), Virginia Governor Ralph Northam signed an executive order setting out steps to improve resiliency to sea-level rise and natural hazards associated with climate change. Perhaps the most significant element of the order is the directive to complete and implement a “Virginia Coastal Resilience Master Plan.”
The plan, to be developed by the Chief Resilience Officer in consultation with local governments, state and federal agencies and non-governmental stakeholders, has several required standards. Among those related to land conservation is that the plan must “employ natural and nature-based solutions to the maximum extent possible and provide guidance for land conservation efforts by identifying land providing resilience benefits along with other ecological services.”
Governor Northam stated: “As extreme weather events become more frequent and more intense, the safety and economic well-being of every Virginian is put at greater risk. The actions the Commonwealth will undertake as a result of this Executive Order will ensure we address this growing challenge head on, setting Virginia on a path towards resilience to near and long-term natural catastrophes and enhancing our public health and economic vitality with a whole of government approach.”
The full text of the order can be seen here.