Richmond, VA – Governor Ralph Northam announced Tuesday that Buchanan County will receive a grant of $387,500 from Community Flood Preparedness awards to cover the costs of developing a plan for the county to become more resilient to floods, in addition to securing staff certification in floodplain management.
The Community Flood Preparedness Fund makes use of 45 percent of the revenue Virginia generates through the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative. An estimated $75 million per year will be available through the matching grant program. Buchanan County’s grant to develop a flood preparedness mitigation plan addressing ongoing issues is part of the program’s first round of funding.
This announcement comes as part of $7.8 million in grants to support 19 projects that address impacts of flooding, sea-level rise, and extreme weather around the Commonwealth. The need for this plan was made even more urgent by September’s floods in Hurley, which highlighted the need for more state resources addressing flooding in coal country.
Buchanan County hired First Earth|2030, an environmental asset management company who will be working in conjunction with international engineering firm, Stantec, to help identify and address some of the flooding issues. “Many Virginians think of flooding only occurring in tidal areas. We are excited to see funding head towards nontidal areas of the Commonwealth hit hard by flooding occurring from rain events,” said Charlie Westbrook, Principal of First Earth|2030.
Elected officials have been searching for solutions to the flooding in Buchanan County:
“The County has been hit hard in recent years with heavy rainfall causing a tremendous amount of destruction and even death in some of our most challenging economic zones. Due to resource constraints, it has been difficult for the county mitigate these ongoing flooding issues. We are excited to support the Buchanan County administration in resolving these ongoing issues plaguing the county,” Delegate Will Morefield (R-N. Tazewell).
Disastrous weather events put a strain on county resources and alternative nature-based solutions help address flooding issues. “First Earth has a creative and economically responsible scope of work for the development of a resilience plan,” said Craig Horn, County Administrator of Buchanan County. A town hall meeting and other methods for community input will be arranged in the coming months to further identify issues and planning needs.
The grant opportunity to develop a flood resilience plan is a welcomed start to solving flood issues that have troubled the county for years.
About First Earth|2030
First Earth | 2030 resides at the intersection of urgent environmental needs and innovative eco/climate solutions. It is a results-based environmental asset management firm delivering customized outcomes for public and private clients. Its team provides innovative conservation techniques that result in environmental and economic project lift.