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NFK FLOOD: Living With The Water

by | Apr 21, 2021

Our city has a long relationship with water. Long before the city ever crossed the minds of men, the water was here. Long after the city has gone to the winds of time, the water will be here. Our culture, our economy, and our way of life are deeply rooted in the water around us. The water gives to us, and it takes away. Floods come and go as they please. We try to fight them. We sandbag doors, we build elaborate drainage, we construct floodwalls. But the water still comes. After you’ve been here a while you start to adapt. You don’t fight the floods, you don’t get angry at them. You expect them just as you expect the rain and the sun. Together we rise, we fall, we flood, we dry. That’s just how it is here.

 

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We’ve had flooding since day 1. It’s not going away anytime soon. But you can help. 

Here’s how:

 

Know when and where to avoid frequently flooded streets 

Use the resources linked below to educate yourself about when and where it floods. Avoiding damage to cars and bikes helps you avoid a hassle and could help keep insurance payments across the community lower. Flooding risk is priced into insurance by looking at stats across the community. If 6 in 1000 cars get flooded every year and we drop that to 3 in 1000, that improves underlying statistics behind our insurance premiums. 

  • STORM Map: (Note on the linked  GIS map. This is an interactive map with lots of available layers. You’ll need to turn on the layer for “Flooded Street” under “All Events” to see historically flooded streets.) 
  • Flooded Streets Map 

 

Help with storm drain cleaning /maintenance

Our storm drains need major infrastructure improvements. Funding and building those take years (more on this in a bit). Right now, you can improve the effectiveness of our systems by helping to keep trash and debris out of them. The more trash and yard debris in the system, the more likely they are to clog and backup. We can collectively prevent that by proactively picking up more litter and stopping lawn clippings and yard debris from ending up in them.

You can even adopt a storm drain and name it Drainy McDrainface or something even better! (Shout out to Code for Hampton Roads for this resource). 

 

Divert stormwater with permeable pavement

The more paved surfaces in town, the more that water runs off into neighborhood low spots. If you’re a homeowner or business, you can replace solid surfaces with ones that allow water to pass through into the ground. The plant roots and soil around you can hold thousands of gallons per yard. Anytime you expand or create new outdoor areas prioritize permeable materials. You can also ask your city government, local business owners, and real estate developers to choose permeable surfaces first and replace the oldest pavement in town. 

Pervious Pavers (City of Norfolk) 

 

Protect Wetlands 

Wetlands are known to act as barriers to storm surge and absorb lots of runoff. Are you contributing to wetlands decline? Can you contribute to their restoration and expansion? It’s hard to know without learning up on wetlands first. 

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Advocacy:

You can directly contact policymakers from local government, state government, and federal government to fund the large and long term solutions. They’re key to pushing forward community priorities on flooding. 

Don’t just think of elected officials though. Government employees. Government contractors, real estate developers, and small businesses make decisions about pavements, wetlands, litter, yard maintenance, and more. 

 

Elected Officials: 

State Elected Offices:

Governor

Ralph S Northam (D) 

P.O. Box 1475

Richmond, VA 23218

Phone: 804-786-2211

Ralph S Northam Website

 

Lieutenant Governor

Justin E Fairfax (D)

102 Governor Street

Richmond, VA 23219

Phone: 804-786-2078

Justin E Fairfax Website

 

Mailing Address:

P.O. Box 1195

Richmond, VA 23218

 

Attorney General

Mark R. Herring (D) 

Office of the Attorney General

900 E Main Street

Richmond, VA 23219

Phone: 804-786-2071

Mark R. Herring Website

 

State Legislators:

5th District

Lionell Spruill, Sr. (D)

P.O. Box 5403

Chesapeake, VA 23324

Phone:757-424-2178

Website

 

6th District

Lynwood W Lewis, Jr. (D)

P.O. Box 760

Accomac, VA 23301

Phone: 757-787-1094

Website

 

7th District

Jen A. Kiggans (R)

P.O. Box 5453

Virginia Beach, VA 23471

Phone: 757-990-3080

Website

 

House of Delegates

79th District

Steve E. Heretick (D)

715 Loudoun Avenue

Portsmouth, VA 23707

Phone: 757-397-9923

Website

 

83rd District

Nancy D. Guy (D)

P.O. Box 4563

Virginia Beach, VA 23454

Phone: 804-689-1083

Website

 

89th District

Jerrauld C. “Jay” Jones (D)

P.O. Box 2892

Norfolk, VA 23501

Phone: 757-625-8989

Website

 

90th District

Angelia Williams Graves (D)

5121 E. Virginia Beach Boulevard Suite A-1

Norfolk, VA 23502

Phone: 757-524-4941

Website

 

100th District

Robert S. “Rob” Bloxom, Jr. (R)

P.O. Box 27

Mappsville, VA 23407

Phone: 757-824-3456

Website

 

City Council 

Mayor Kenneth Cooper Alexander, Ph.D.

Phone: 757-664-4268

Email Mayor Alexander

 

Vice Mayor Martin A. Thomas Jr., Ward 1

Phone: 757-664-4268

Email Martin Thomas Jr.

 

Courtney R. Doyle, Ward 2

Phone: 757-664-4268

Email Courtney Doyle

 

Mamie B. Johnson, Ward 3

Phone: 757-664-4268

Email: Mamie B. Johnson

 

Paul R. Riddick, Ward 4

Phone: 757-664-4268 

Email Paul Riddick

 

Thomas R. Smigiel Jr., Ward 5

Phone: 757-664-4293

Email Thomas Smigiel

 

Andria P. McClellan, Superward 6

Phone: 757-664-4268

Email Andria McClellan

 

Danica Royster, Superward 7

Phone: 757-664-4268

Email Danica Royster

 

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