Earlier this year, Virginia joined the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, a multi-state program that places caps on the amount of carbon emissions for many industries. If companies exceed their limits, they have to purchase credits. Revenues go to state governments for programs such as the Virginia Community Flood Preparedness Fund, which is to receive 45 percent of the RGGI funds. So far, Virginia has received $142 million over three auctions.
Charlottesville will receive $153,500 from the fund to pay for a plan to prepare the Moores Creek Watershed for the floodings. That’s part of $7.8 million in grants announced yesterday by Governor Ralph Northam. The funds are distributed by the Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation, an agency that is also working on a master plan for coastal resilience in Virginia.
Most of the funding is going to localities either on the coast or much closer. However, Charlottesville is not the westernmost recipient. The city of Winchester will receive $65,040 for a resilience plan and Buchanan County will receive $387,500 for “plans and capacity building” and that’s enough money for them to hire a consultant.
Charlottesville will use the money to create a two-dimensional hydraulic model for the Moores Creek watershed within city limits. Andrea Henry, the city’s water resources protection administrator.
“2D modeling has the ability to identify drainage issues for our inlets, pipes, ditches, and streams across the entire City using the same methodology and analyses for a variety of storm scenarios,” said Henry. “We can use the results of this model to predict when our streets, sidewalks, homes, businesses, and critical infrastructure will be susceptible to flooding with the types of storms we see now and may see in the future due to our changing climate.”
Speaking of the draft Comprehensive Plan, water resources protection is covered in Goal 3 of Chapter 7, Environment, Climate, and Food Equity.
“Charlottesville will be an environmental leader, with healthy air, water, and ecosystems, as well as ample, high-quality, and accessible open space and natural areas, and a preserved and enhanced tree canopy,” reads the community vision statement for the chapter. “The Rivanna River and other waterbodies will be celebrated and protected, and environmentally-sound community access will be enhanced.”
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