About Tidewater

Whether folks want to call it climate change or sea level rise – whatever the cause, our waters are rising.
— James Redick, Director of Emergency Preparedness & Response City of Norfolk, Va
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The Hampton Roads area of Virginia is relatively unknown nationwide, but it is the region whose vulnerability to sea level rise most affects military readiness and our overall national security.

With 14 military installations spread across 17 local jurisdictions, it is our highest concentration of military assets in the country, where 1 in 6 residents are associated with our nation's defense.

Their homes, schools, hospitals, and families are increasingly struggling to keep up with the effects of rising waters, and the military and all the surrounding municipalities are working towards solutions in the name of strengthening national security and enhancing economic prosperity.

Hampton Roads requires $1 billion in urgent infrastructure repairs with 900 miles of its roads and electric grid threatened by permanent flooding. Faced with these unprecedented challenges that can only be tackled by a wide range of stakeholders, from ordinary citizens to the U.S. Navy to local businesses, Tidewater demonstrates that an innovative whole-of-government problem-solving model being attempted by local and military leaders is the only way to ensure the continued strength of our national security, along with the continued prosperity of the region and the nation.

Tidewater, explores the project’s namesake, the Tidewater region of Virginia and North Carolina, encompassing Hampton Roads, arguably the region whose vulnerability most affects our overall national security.  An area rich in diversity and historical significance, it is the second most vulnerable community in the U.S. to sea level rise, after New Orleans. With over 1.6 million citizens, the region is comprised of 17 jurisdictions and hosts 18 federal government agencies along with Naval Station Norfolk, the largest naval station in the world and a major deployment point for U.S. forces globally. The region is also experiencing land subsidence, which exacerbates the effects of flooding.

If Hampton Roads succeeds, it will mean success on several levels.  They'll save their homes, schools, businesses, the bases, and that's no mean feat.  But they'll also create a powerful template for success, a model other regions can use to prepare for and deal with disaster – and more: a model that can demonstrate how people, businesses and government can pull together to solve any complex problem. The story strikes a positive tone, highlighting the outsized capabilities of Hampton Roads to show the nation and the world how it can be done. Lots of hard choices and sacrifices will have to be made in order for the plan to succeed, but if they get it right, human communities everywhere will have a roadmap.




Rear Admiral Kevin Slates, USN
Rear Admiral Ann Phillips, USN (ret.)
Rev. Canon Win Lewis, Rector, Christ & St. Luke’s Episcopal Church
Captain Dean VanderLey, USN, Commanding Officer, Naval Facilities Engineering Command
Christine Ortiz-Lumina
Peter Garner, Dept. of Public Works, City of Norfolk
Eric Tucker, Dept. of Utilities, City of Norfolk
Captain Joseph Bouchard, USN (ret.), Fmr. Commanding Officer, Naval Station Norfolk
Alice Hill, Fmr. Senior Director for Resilience, National Security Council
Andria McClellan, Norfolk City Council member
Robert Crum, Executive Director, Hampton Roads Planning District Commission
Karen Speights
Christine Morris, Chief Resilience Officer, City of Norfolk
Vice Admiral Dennis McGinn, USN (ret.), Asst. Sec. of the Navy
Lenny Newcomb, Dept. of Planning, City of Norfolk



Borrowing from the military and corporate world, the film invokes the idea of resilience as the quality most needed to address the problem. Resilience represents toughness in the face of adversity that motivates an individual, community, or nation to find the resources necessary to face a challenge in an effective and positive manner.” - Educational Media Reviews Online

This film is entirely unobjectionable, because nothing it says can be contradicted. The damages to homes, industries, and military bases are easily observable, and no politician could possibly be stubborn enough to deny these things.” - Tyler Beckett, Author, AltDaily.com

“The film is beautifully shot and relentlessly understated about a big problem that won’t soon go away.” Dave Mayfield, Reporter, The Virginia Pilot



Official Selection, DC Environmental Film Festival, Washington, D.C.
Official Selection, San Francisco Green Film Festival, San Francisco, CA
Official Selection, EarthxFilm, Texas
Official Selection, RVA Environmental Film Festival, Richmond, VA
Official Selection, Global Peace Film Festival, Orlando, FL
Official Selection, American Conservation Film Festival, Sheperdstown, WV
Official Selection, Chesapeake Film Festival, MD


The Harvard University Center for the Environment, Cambridge, MA
The Society of American Military Engineers
North Carolina State University


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