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Importance of the Initiative
The Virginia Coastal Resilience Master Plan (Master Plan) was initiated by Executive Order 24 (2018) and positions the Commonwealth to take the lead in making Virginia’s coast more resilient to the impacts of climate change and sea level rise. Among its many accomplishments, the Master Plan defines the responsibilities of the Chief Resilience Officer (CRO) and the Special Assistant to the Governor for Coastal Adaptation and Protection (SACAP). This leadership is key to addressing the economic, social, environmental, and public health and safety threats of coastal natural hazards. The Coastal Resilience Master Planning Framework (Framework) that was developed pursuant to Executive Order 24 demonstrates how the Commonwealth will lead by providing a sound approach to developing and implementing solutions that will build resilience and maintain thriving coastal communities.
In using the Framework to develop and implement a full Master Plan, the CRO and SACAP will require significant administrative and technical support. This support will include decision option identification; stakeholder and advisor input management; data collection and synthesis; and performance monitoring. The Virginia Coastal Zone Management Program (CZM) is well positioned to provide this support.
The CZM Program is a network of state agencies and coastal localities led by the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) and grant funded by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). CZM is of particular importance to the master planning process because it funds a variety of projects that support coastal adaptation and protection. The CZM Program is housed within DEQ, an appropriate arrangement given the CZM mission and the need for financial administration and support from a state agency. However, the CZM Program also has professional coastal planning expertise that should be applied directly to the master planning process. Therefore, a system of direct reporting to the Chief Resilience Officer on issues of coastal adaptation and protection will improve coordination of the Commonwealths’ coastal resilience initiatives while also retaining financial and administrative support from DEQ.
Directive to the Coastal Zone Management Program
Accordingly, pursuant to the authority vested in me as the Governor under Article V of the Constitution of Virginia and under the laws of the Commonwealth, I hereby provide the following directives to the Coastal Zone Management Director regarding responsibility and reporting to the Commonwealth’s Chief Resilience Officer.
The Director of the CZM Program shall report directly to the Chief Resilience Officer on matters of coastal adaptation and protection, pursuant to the Chief Resilience Officer’s role as the primary point of contact on all issues relating to pre-disaster hazard mitigation and responsibility for coordination and planning of resilience initiatives across state government.
In the Chief Resilience Officer’s absence, or under other circumstances as determined by the Chief Resilience Officer, the Director of the CZM Program shall report directly to the Special Assistant to the Governor for Coastal Adaptation and Protection on all on matters of coastal adaptation and protection, and shall, in any event, inform the Special Assistant for Coastal Adaptation and Protection of the CZM Program’s actions and activities, and coordinate with the Special Assistant for further development of the Coastal Resilience Master Plan.
Consistent with the terms of its NOAA grant agreement, the Coastal Zone Management Plan, and the Coastal Needs Assessment and Strategies, the Director of the CZM Program shall provide technical support to the CRO and the SACAP as necessary to develop and implement the Virginia Coastal Resilience Master Plan.
Effective Date of the Executive Directive
This Executive Directive shall be effective upon its signing and shall remain in force and effect unless amended or rescinded by future executive action.
Given under my hand and under the Seal of the Commonwealth of Virginia, this 16th day of November, 2020.