2018 Annual Summit: Securing Prosperity in the Coastal Zone

November 7-8, 2018 • Science Museum of Virginia • Richmond, VA

This video of satellite data from Google Earth shows the movement of previously inhabited barrier islands off of the coast of Virginia.

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 (e.g., Hampton Roads), the goal of the Summit is 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 and including a planned address by Governor Ralph Northam, the Summit will bring together stakeholders including decision-makers, industry leaders, and researchers from varying disciplines. The Summit format includes 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 creates 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 whose specific focus will emerge through the Summit.

The Summit will take place in Fall 2018 in Richmond, Virginia over two half days (afternoon of day one to mid-day of day two).

Organizing Committee

US Senator Mark R. Warner, Co-host

Dr. Jen Irish, Virginia Tech

Dr. Robert Weiss, Virginia Tech

Dr. Patricia Dove, VASEM

Dr. Tom Young, Ret. Lockheed Martin Corporation

General Lester Lyles, Ret. USAF

Esq. Elizabeth Andrews, William & Mary Law School

Dr. Larry Atkinson, ODU

Dr. John Goodall, UVA

Dr. Robert Latour, VIMS

Dr. Troy Hartley, VIMS

Dr. Celso Ferriera, GMU


Science Museum of Virginia

Dewey Gottwald Center

Parking and Travel Information

Poster Presentations

and guidelines

Summit Format

an interactive experience