Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Virginia Beach (6/9/2015)

What a difference a decade makes.  I was at this location more than a decade ago to do an environmental inventory, and it was a contaminated site that needed some serious work.  Development was encroaching and there was a tremendous pressure to do something with the site.  I'm so happy to be here now and see what the Chesapeake Bay Foundation has done with it.

A view of the Lynnhaven river from the Education Center.  Interestingly, when I got my sailboat five and a half years ago it came out of the inlet in the back.  The boat could not get out at low tide and we had to pull her over a sand bar.  The problem was it could not go under the bridge any other time; the mast was too tall. 

The site now has the Brock Environmental Center and we are giving a stormwater class in their class room.  The building is LEED certified (platinum), they used good environmental site design, recycled materials,  do not use city water, generate the majority of their own electricity and have composting toilets.   Yes, that in the middle of Virginia Beach!

One of the two windmills that are estimated to produce 40% of the electricity for the Center.  Solar cells on the roof generate the rest.

It is pretty impressive,  the building has been designed to take advantage of the environment while still being protective against the elements, in particular global warming, sea level rise, and just increased flooding events.

Looking outside, you can see that the site is surrounded by tidal wetlands and what looks like a salt marsh community.   I can remember that one would not eat oysters coming from the Lynnhaven; the water they grew in was too polluted.  Currently,  Lynnhaven oysters are a delicacy, prized for it's salty, but delicate taste.  So great to see we are making progress in cleaning up the Bay; albeit very slowly and very localized.

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