By Tim Ryan

In the wake of escalating climate crises, RISE Resilience Innovations has launched the Riverine Community Resilience Challenge, a groundbreaking initiative designed to bolster flood resilience. Spearheaded by RISE Resilience Innovations, this challenge is a clarion call for innovators to devise and deploy transformative solutions to safeguard communities against the ever-growing menace of riverine flooding.

The initiative emerged in response to the devastating impact of flood events in areas like Hurley and Whitewood, where lives were lost, homes were destroyed, and the absence of FEMA aid and sufficient insurance payouts left communities vulnerable. The challenge focuses on pre- and post-disaster strategies, emphasizing affordable building protection, efficient early warning systems, comprehensive community insurance programs, and robust recovery frameworks.

Innovators are encouraged to address three critical areas: Flood Event Early Warning, to enhance disaster preparedness through advanced forecasting; Landscape and Building Adaptation, to fortify infrastructure resilience; and Community Insurance Program, to provide financial security to affected residents. With a prize pool of $1 million, the challenge offers a unique opportunity to test and scale solutions in Southwest Virginia’s diverse ecosystems, potentially setting a global benchmark for flood resilience.

This initiative is not just about immediate disaster response. Still, it aims to foster a long-term vision where communities are empowered to withstand and bounce back from the adversities posed by climate change. The Riverine Community Resilience Challenge stands as a testament to Virginia’s commitment to innovation, community well-being, and environmental stewardship, paving the way for a future where resilience is woven into the very fabric of our societies.

For detailed information on participating in the challenge, visit RISE Resilience Innovations. The overview document can be downloaded here.