F E AT UR E
Coastal@VT faculty member Sarah Karapanty scoping the beach and tending to shore birds.
and stakeholders in person and in small group settings.
The event was co-organized by Anamaria Bukvic from the Coastal@VT initiative and Michelle Covi from Old Dominion University and the Virginia Sea Grant Climate Adaptation and Resilience Program. The Rotating Resilience Roundtables are designed to respond to the need for cohesive and policy-relevant science that will align and coordinate efforts to benefit Virginia’s resilience and adaptation to changing conditions in the coastal zone. “The roundtables’ aim was to facilitate knowledge exchange and research collaborations to strengthen the statewide capacity to address coastal resilience issues in an integrated and inclusive manner. Researchers and stakeholders were able to come together and assess the expertise and resources that Virginia’s universities currently have and will need in the future to answer pressing research questions and produce policy-relevant science related to the commonwealth’s resilience to coastal flooding.” said Bukvic. Researchers from Virginia Tech, Old Dominion University, College of William and Mary, University of Virginia, and the Virginia Institute of Marine Science attended and discussed the state’s needs in research and education for coastal resilience. Attendees
included those in disaster preparedness, engineering, technology and socioecological systems, as well as expert staff from the Hampton Roads Planning District Commission, Wetlands Watch, and the cities of Hampton and Norfolk. "It was particularly gratifying to see key universities in the commonwealth coming together for the Rotating Resilience Roundtables initiative. We have an opportunity for this consortium to place Virginia at the leading edge of a research area that is critical to the future welfare of citizens, not only within our own state but also throughout the world. Our universities can and should continue to work synergistically and collaboratively on such global problems, and I see Coastal@VT as an exemplar of how this can be achieved," said Dennis Dean, director of the Fralin Life Sciences Institute. Jennifer Irish and Robert Weiss of Coastal@VT co-chaired the organizing committee for the 2018 Annual Virginia Academy of Science, Engineering, and Medicine Summit: Securing Prosperity in the Coastal Zone. While there are ongoing initiatives to address contemporary coastal issues at the community level, the goal of the summit was to move toward 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. “Proactive, smart, and science-informed policies must be developed to accommodate the region's growing population and ensure its economic growth. These policies require coordination across city, county, and state lines. The VASEM Summit helped to jump-start some of these conversations and collaborations among people who don’t usually meet,” said Weiss. The summit format intentionally created active-engagement opportunities for attendees to begin meaningful dialogues on assets, stressors, and opportunities related to coastal prosperity. In addition to high-level oral presentations and directed discussion periods, a highlight of the event was a lively poster session that showcased critical scientific and technological advances, as well as Virginia’s breadth of expertise in the area of coastal zone issues.