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W&M Law School to host Flooding and Coastal Change Conference

  • Isabel Flooding
    Isabel Flooding  Gloucester Point, Va. - home of William & Mary's Virginia Institute of Marine Science - during Hurricane Isabel, September 2003.  Photo by David Malmquist, VIMS Communications
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Conference to explore legal and policy implications in Virginia


Public officials, attorneys, scientists, and concerned citizens will gather on Sept. 13 at the College of William & Mary for a day-long conference on “Adaptive Planning for Flooding and Coastal Change in Virginia: Legal and Policy Issues for Government.” The conference is presented by the Virginia Coastal Policy Clinic at William & Mary Law School and the Virginia Institute of Marine Science (VIMS), in collaboration with the Commonwealth of Virginia. Admission is free and the public is welcome. Pre-registration is required because of limited seating. Please visit the conference website and submit a registration form by September 9 if you wish to attend. For more information about the conference, contact Professor Shana Jones at

Speakers include:

  • Doug Domenech, Secretary of Natural Resources for the Commonwealth of Virginia;
  • Mayor Paul D. Fraim (Norfolk, Va.), Mayor Will Sessoms (Virginia Beach, Va.), and Mayor Molly Ward (Hampton, Va.);
  • Va. Delegate Christopher P.  Stolle (83rd District);
  • Va. Senator John C. Watkins (10th District);
  • Joseph H. Maroon, Executive Director, Virginia Environmental Endowment;
  • Professor Carlton H. Hershner and Molly Mitchell of the Virginia Institute of Marine Science, and Professors Lynda Butler and Ronald Rosenberg of William & Mary Law School.

Jones, managing attorney of the Virginia Coastal Policy Clinic, said the goal of the conference is to provide a public forum to discuss issues created by recurrent flooding and coastal change.

“The policy and legal issues localities are likely to face as they work to protect public safety and private property from increased flooding are complicated questions,” she said.  “Many people understand that flooding is a serious problem for our region – the next step is identifying the legal and policy tools that are needed to assist localities with effectively dealing with the problem.”

According to Hershner, director of the VIMS Center for Coastal Resources Management, the conference is a product of the ongoing collaboration between VIMS and the Law School. “We are striving to develop integrated scientific and legal advice on critical coastal management issues for the Virginia General Assembly and local governments,” he said.

The conference is made possible by funding from the Virginia Environmental Endowment. Additional support is provided by Greehan, Taves, Pandak & Stoner and the Virginia Chapter of the American Planning Association.