An official website of the United States government
Here's how you know
A .mil website belongs to an official U.S. Department of Defense organization in the United States.
A lock (lock ) or https:// means you’ve safely connected to the .mil website. Share sensitive information only on official, secure websites.

Home : News : Article Display
NEWS | April 29, 2024

The flooding struggle

By Airman 1st Class Ian Sullens 633 Air Base Wing Public Affairs

JOINT BASE LANGLEY-EUSTIS, Va.— The water is rising, and Joint Base Langley-Eustis is sinking. Depending on projected scenarios over the next 100 years, JBLE-Langley will either lose its surrounding wetlands, in the best case scenario, or be mostly under water in the worst case scenario. The rising sea level and the sinking base are issues that JBLE faces.

“Langley is almost entirely within the 100-year floodplain,” said Cecilia Boyd, Langley Resource Program manager, “We are uniquely affected by the sea level rise.”

The Hampton Roads area, including JBLE, is sinking and is second only to New Orleans at risk for sea level rise, ( JBLE personnel are striving to improve the coastal resiliency of the base by including nature-based designs at the end of the flightline and other key areas. Designs include oyster reefs, breakwaters, sand islands, and thin layer placement, all of which are preventative measures that raise elevation and slow erosion. Those are not the only steps JBLE has taken.

“We now build all of our infrastructure above the floodplain.” said Boyd.

New infrastructure to combat flooding includes seawalls in strategic locations that can help alleviate sunny day flooding. According to the Office for Coastal Management, “sunny day flooding occurs when tides alone are high enough to induce flooding.”

While new infrastructural and nature-based actions might not halt the sea level rise, they are important steps to mitigate the situation. According to Boyd, the main challenge in overcoming the sea level issue is that people didn’t start looking for solutions 70 years ago.

“Langley will always flood,” stated Boyd, “But we can prepare so that floods are less damaging, and we can recover quicker.”

According to Boyd, there are actions people can take to assist with the flooding issue. While buying less plastic and riding a bike to cut emissions help, they are not as effective on a larger scale. The best way to help as an individual, is to get involved in a way that impacts the greater community.

“It’s easy to get burned out if you're trying to change your daily life instead of participating in civic and community engagement,” said Boyd, “If you want to really do something, you have to try and get involved and work the system into moving a little faster.”

As Boyd put it, the magic happens when you work to change the whole community and social structure in which you live.