Sea Level Wise

Sea Level Wise is the City's comprehensive program for addressing rising sea levels and recurrent flooding risks. The Adaptation Strategy, published in March 2020, outlines a proactive, long-term approach to enable the City of Virginia Beach to adapt to these changing environmental conditions.


Interactive Story Map

Learn about flood risks, explore adaptation options, and interact with the maps presented in the Adaptation Strategy.

Adaptation Strategy Document

View the full Sea Level Wise Adaptation Strategy document, released in March 2020.


What's in the Adaptation Strategy?

Getting Sea Level Wise

The flooding risks posed by rising sea levels and changing rainfall patterns demand City-wide action to protect vulnerable neighborhoods and industries. Over the past five years, the Sea Level Wise program has engaged technical experts, community participants, and regional partners to advance adaptation efforts.

Understanding Flood Risks

Sea level rise is occurring at an accelerated rate, increasing the frequency, severity, and extent of many different flooding event types. This is causing wide-ranging impacts on our infrastructure, economy, and community.

Adaptation Framework

The multi-layered Adaptation Framework presents a holistic method for addressing flood risks, with high-level strategic objectives to guide adaptation efforts across the entire city. The four layers work together to provide comprehensive flood protection; each layer presents a specific approach to flood risk management that complements the others.

Watershed Strategies

The City's four major watersheds present natural boundaries for taking a more precise look at flood-related challenges and opportunities. Each Watershed Strategy lays out the specific flood drivers and risk types distinct to that watershed and identifies specific projects and areas for action.

The Path Forward

Reducing flood risks and planning for a vibrant future is an ongoing, iterative process, requiring sustained actions from the City and its partners. In order to further Sea Level Wise efforts, the City is focusing on integrating findings into complementary processes and frameworks, funding and implementing adaptation projects, and continuing internal planning efforts.

The full version of the Adaptation Strategy document is available for download here and a printer-friendly (pages view) is available here.

What is behind the Adaptation Strategy?

The following reports have been produced as part of the Sea Level Wise effort and are all included in the Adaptation Strategy Appendices, and can be reached by clicking on the report.

Additional Resources

Flood Plain Management

Fourth National Climate Assessment

NOAA Sea Level Tracking

FEMA Homeowners Guide

Southern Rivers Watershed

Regional Hazard Mitigation Plan