The Accomack County Board of Supervisors heard a presentation Wednesday night on the County’s resilience to flooding in relation to sea level rise, drifting barrier islands and coastal erosion.
The Resilience Adaptation Feasibility Tool(RAFT), is a full service tool to assist localities in increasing their resilience, and scores the localities based on current practices. Accomack scored extremely in many areas, including leadership, cooperation with state agencies, resident emergency preparedness, hazard mitigation and risk assessment for the County’s vulnerable population.
However, according to the RAFT, there were some areas where the county could improve. Areas where Accomack scored poorly include stormwater infrastructure, water supply and wastewater management services, providing incentives for coastal resilience and having a resilient system to provide food and medicine.
Michelle Covi with Old Dominion University told the supervisors sea level rise has increased the amounts of high tides over the recent years. It was pointed out by Supervisor Ron Wolff that although the sea levels are rising, the channels are also filling in, meaning waterways which have always been navigable now are not so. Currently the Coast Guard is removing several markers on the Virginia Inside Passage on the seaside which once marked a channel, but now no longer mark good water. Covi responded although she was unfamiliar with specific waterways on the Eastern Shore, the sea levels are predicted to continue to rise.
Currently the working group is studying the towns of Saxis, Onancock, Wachapreague, Tangier Island and Chincoteague Island.