WASHINGTON – Yesterday, Congressman Rob Wittman (VA-01) introduced, along with Virginia colleague Rep. Elaine Luria (VA-02), a resolution designating the National Center of Excellence for research in coastal flooding and recurrent flooding, a partnership among Old Dominion University and William & Mary, including the Virginia Institute of Marine Science and the Virginia Coastal Policy Center at William & Mary Law School. This designation allows these institutions to be viewed as sources for expert advice and guidance for Federal agencies engaged in coastal flooding research and education issues and projects.
“Hampton Roads and Coastal Virginia currently face challenges associated with rising sea levels and a sinking coastal plain – leading to costly and impactful repetitive flooding,” said Wittman. “As Virginia is the east coast epicenter of military activity, I want to make sure our Department of Defense and Virginia installations have the tools they need to complete their mission in the face of coastal flooding. Designating these research institutions as “Centers of Excellence” will allow for ongoing studies and collaborations to model recurrent flooding and sea level rise and to examine options for enhancing mission resiliency at impacted military installations and protecting coastal communities.
“In Hampton Roads, rising sea levels and recurrent flooding are a direct threat to military readiness, our environment, and infrastructure,” said Luria. “I am pleased to join Congressman Wittman on a bipartisan effort that would better equip local universities with the tools needed to analyze coastal flooding. Efforts like these will allow us to plan for the future and adapt to the challenges that recurrent flooding brings to our community.”
"William & Mary is grateful to Representatives Wittman and Luria for their support in tackling such an urgent issue for our region, the Commonwealth and our national defense,” said W&M President Katherine A. Rowe. “We are proud to be part of such a strong regional collaboration and we are eager to expand our work with researchers at Old Dominion University to ensure flood-prone areas continue to thrive."
“This resolution recognizes the essential role Old Dominion and our partners at William & Mary and VIMS play in driving forward practical application of our coastal resilience research, education, and engagement around coastal flooding making our community and military stronger” said John R. Broderick, President of Old Dominion University. “We appreciate the hard work of Representatives Wittman and Luria to showcase our joint efforts inbuilding greater resilience for all our communities.”
As a condition of designation as a National Center of Excellence, the public college or university must agree to collaborate on Federal flood-related issues with federal agencies such as the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), and the Department of Agriculture (USDA) on best practices on regional, state, and locally specific flooding and flood related issues. The Administrator of NOAA will submit an annual report to Congress and the President detailing the findings and applicable information from the National Centers of Excellence, and make the report available to the public in an easily accessible electronic format on the NOAA website.
Congressman Rob Wittman represents the 1st District of Virginia. He serves on the House Natural Resources Committee and the House Armed Services Committee, where he serves as the ranking member of the Seapower and Projection Forces Subcommittee.