Eastern Shore of Virginia Climate Equity Project

coastal virginia

The National Science Foundation (NSF) has awarded $5 million to an interdisciplinary team working on a project to build community capacity in rural coastal Virginia for enhanced climate adaptation and resilience. The project is led by EI Director Karen McGlathery, and brings together faculty from the College of Arts and Sciences, Engineering, Architecture, UVA’s Biocomplexity Institute, Equity Center, Institute for Engagement and Negotiation, William and Mary’s Coastal Policy Center, and Old Dominion University’s Resilience Collaborative.

The new NSF Coastlines and People ("CoPe") grant awards are for diverse, multi-institution projects that will tackle the hazards and issues coastal areas face. This type of project provides the opportunity for several groups to connect and participate in shaping the research.

Throughout the world, the economies and well-being of rural coastal communities are impacted by saltwater intrusion from accelerated sea-level rise and more severe storm flooding. At the same time, they face difficult challenges in responding to these climate risks, including lack of access to scientific information and expertise, lack of coordination among communities, geographical isolation, social inequities, unstructured governance, and limited institutional capacity.

This is especially true in Virginia.

The EI-led CoPe grant, titled the "Eastern Shore of Virginia Climate Equity Project," addresses these inequity and information gaps to improve climate adaptation and resilience. It brings together scholars and community members who are co-producing an open-source data and visualization platform, a Climate Equity Atlas, to enable sustained collaboration, and support equitable decision-making and solution adoption on risks of flooding and saltwater intrusion.

Contact the project team: ESVAClimateEquity@virginia.edu

Follow the work of the ESVA Climate Equity Project on Facebook.


CoPe Work

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Youth and Adult volunteer at Climate Equity Workshop

Local community leaders and project representatives gathered insights and opinions from community members about the changing environment on the Eastern Shore.

Woman looks at a crowd-sourced timeline

On Monday, January 30, 2023, the project team partnered with various organizations and community members to hold a climate equity workshop at the Great Hall of Eastern Shore Community College. The set-up of this event included interactive stations that encouraged collaborative discussion related to climate equity.  The team published summaries, findings, and discoveries from the Workshop.

The entire workshop analysis can be downloaded here.

Louisiana Rooftops on the Coast

The $5 million research grant from the National Science Foundation’s Coastlines and People program to create a Climate Equity Atlas for communities along Virginia’s Eastern Shore inspired other areas, including in Louisiana, to consider rural community's protection.