Virginia shorelines are facing some of the highest rates of sea level rise seen over the last 5 millennia and are among the most vulnerable coastlines in the country to the effects of sea level rise such as flooding and storm surge (Down et al. 1994). In the face of these rising sea levels, coastal wetland habitats will be forced to migrate inland to avoid inundation (Akumu et al. 2011). However, increased development on the Virginia coast threatens these critical wetland habitats by blocking their inland movement as the try to avoid rapidly rising sea levels. Without a clear migratory path, wetland’s ecosystem services and biodiversity will be lost to saltwater inundation. To prevent the loss of wetland’s migratory paths from development, this paper proposes that any new development behind coastal wetlands must undergo a Life Cycle Cost Assessment (LCCA). Completion of the LCCA will expose developers to both the future costs they will incur from rising sea levels, flood mitigation, and the costs associated with possible wetlands destruction. Exposing developers to the future costs they will incur has the potential to save a developer future property loss while also maintaining wetland’s inward migration path by deterring development. Cost of the LCCA will fall on the developer of the coastal property.

Poster session prepared for the Environmental Studies Senior Seminar.

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