Annual Summit

Report Available on Securing Prosperity in the Coastal Zone

New Report On Securing Prosperity in the Coastal Zone

Richmond – “People in coastal areas across the country are focusing on this region (Virginia)” said Lt. General Thomas Bostick, former Chief of Engineers of the United States Army and keynote speaker at the 2018 VASEM summit on Securing Prosperity in the Coastal Zone. “Virginia is leading the nation in exploring how we will live with water in the future.” The report published by the Virginia Academy of Science, Engineering, and Medicine provides a detailed report on the speakers and events of the 2018 Annual Summit held in Richmond, VA on November 7-8.

The Mid-Atlantic region is home to nationally and globally important governing organizations, industries, military installations, and the national capital, the heart of the nation. Currently, 6 in 10 of Virginia’s 8 million people live in the coastal zone. By 2045, the Commonwealth’s population is projected to exceed 10 million people, with about 8 in 10 Virginians living at the coast. This coastal population increase creates opportunities for innovation, technology and commerce, But this growth will also present challenges for food security, for the reliability of water, power, and transportation, for public health and for national security–with far-reaching impacts on the societal fabrics that allow our communities to prosper. On top of these societal stressors, sea level rise and other environmental stressors are expected to lead to more frequent and more extreme damage during coastal hazards–not only to communities but also to ecological and other resources. Proactive and smart, science-informed policies must be developed to accommodate the region’s growing population and ensure it’s economic growth. These policies require coordination and collaboration across city, county and state lines.

While there are initiatives ongoing to address contemporary coastal issues at the community level, the goal of the Summit was to move towards a holistic conversation about promoting prosperity in Virginia’s coastal zone and its role in the Nation’s well-being, across geographic and government scales. With limited national, state, and local resources, it is imperative that proactive, multi-scale, and mid- to long-term innovations be implemented in order to secure prosperity and economic competitiveness throughout the Commonwealth.

Sponsored by Senator Mark Warner, the Summit brought together stakeholders including decision-makers, industry leaders, and researchers from varying disciplines. The Summit format included high-level oral presentations on big problems and opportunities, directed discussion periods, and a poster session highlighting critical scientific and technological advances as well as Virginia’s breadth of expertise in the area of coastal zone issues. The Summit format intentionally created active-engagement opportunities for attendees to begin meaningful dialogues on assets, stressors, and opportunities related to coastal prosperity. One way in which these dialogues will be continued is through a VASEM-led study commissioned by the Commonwealth of Virginia.

Please contact Andrew Densmore, Executive Director of VASEM, to receive a hard copy of the report.