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Sen. Tim Kaine Leads Sea Level Rise Conference at ODU

Those associated with ODU’s Climate Change and Sea Level Rise Initiative no doubt paid close attention to the local flooding conditions that resulted from last week’s rain. Here, water from the Lafayette River inlet behind Rogers Hall begins to enter the parking lot Thursday afternoon. Photo by Steve DanielLow-lying Norfolk is particularly susceptible to sea level rise.

U.S. Sen. Tim Kaine, U.S. Congressmen Scott Rigell, Bobby Scott and Rob Wittman, as well as Norfolk Mayor Paul Fraim and Virginia Beach Mayor Will Sessoms, will host a regional conference on sea level rise at Old Dominion University in Norfolk on Monday, June 30.

The event runs from 9 a.m.-noon at Ted Constant Convocation Center.

The bipartisan forum will focus on meeting the challenges Hampton Roads faces due to sea level rise and land subsidence, and how to promote action at the federal, state and local levels to address the region's needs.

The public forum, called Meeting the Challenge, will feature two panels of federal policy experts and regional stakeholders that will discuss federal policy needs and the process of coordinating work on these issues across government, academia and the private sector.

ODU has been a hub of research and outreach in the area of sea level rise for decades. The university tapped into expertise in each of its six colleges four years ago when President John R. Broderick launched the university's Climate Change and Sea Level Rise Initiative (CCSLRI).

That effort has evolved as more stakeholders have joined the process. Earlier this month, ODU hosted "TechSurge - Technical Support for Coastal Resiliency," a first-of-its-kind conference that brought more than 250 planners from all levels of government and industry to begin work to create a comprehensive local response to increased flooding from rising sea levels that can serve as a template for coastal planners around the nation.

At the conference, President Broderick announced the creation of ODU's new Mitigation and Adaptation Research Institute (MARI), which has evolved from the CCSLRI. MARI is designed to be a think tank to develop and support coastal resiliency strategies.