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One of the more dangerous issues the residents face when it floods is the entrapment of Fontaine Avenue. Thirty-four homes in the West Ventosa subdivision are linked to the rest of the neighborhood by just one street — only one entrance and exit — and when the waters rise out of the river, that street gets cut off. In bad storms or strong northeasters there is no way for residents beyond that street to leave, or for any help to get in should there be an emergency.

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Recognizing that the problem will only worsen as sea levels rise, the Ingleside Community began to discuss their options for mitigating the flooding. In addition to their many other amenities the neighborhood also boasts an active Civic League, dedicated to the best interests of the neighborhood and her residents.

Southall serves as the Recording Secretary for the Ingleside Civic League. According to her, while the residents were ready for a change, the neighborhood wasn’t quite sure where to start.

Fortunately for Ingleside, just as they were discussing how to address the flooding from a neighborhood level, two environmental non-profits were developing a project designed for just that.

With this project Wetlands Watch and the Elizabeth River Project were hoping to combine their goals of mitigating coastal flooding and improving the quality of the water in the Elizabeth River watershed with the talents of the students at University of Virginia to solve Ingleside’s unique problems. The hope was that by collaborating on a local level they could build a resilient coastal city one neighborhood at a time.



Although the school semester has ended and the project has wrapped up, the work in Ingleside has just begun. The next step for the non-profits and community members is to seek avenues for implementing the designs in the final report. With help from Rieger, Southall presented the proposal to the Norfolk City Council in hopes of earning Ingleside a spot in the city’s Capital Improvement Plan. This would ensure that the neighborhood improvements would be factored into the annual city budget, providing a source of funding for larger, infrastructural changes like the proposed green street on Fontaine Avenue.

Wetlands Watch has also applied for a watershed restoration grant from the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation. If successful, this funding would help the neighborhood implement the first phase of the Ingleside proposal, which suggests retrofitting roadside ditches into bioswales. Overall, the members of the project felt that Ingleside has made real progress towards a sustainable future.



Produced by Virginia Sea Grant science communications interns Sarah Ruiz, Daniel Diaz-Etchevehere, and Jessica Taylor,
and directed by Ian Vorster, Virginia Sea Grant communications director.

Read the final project report, Greening Ingleside from Front to Back