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Hampton Comp Waterway Management Plan

12/14/10 Briefing Notes on Previous Studies

by Fred Whitley, PE, URS Corporation

[Listing of studies slide] Introductory remarks:

This briefing is to help the steering committee understand what

work the city has already done on this subject, so it can be aware
of what has been recommended and/or implemented and perhaps
utilize and/or build on some the previous work
The summaries of these studies are contained in the notebooks, in
Tab N
These summaries are based on the full studies, which are available
for reading on both the city’s website and the project website
The order has been changed slightly from what is in the notebooks
and this briefing will be a summary of those summaries.

1) Newmarket Creek Flooding [Title slide]

 Initiated in March 2007 by council to address citizen

concerns about flooding along Newmarket Creek
 There are 3 primary causes for flooding in Hampton:
1. Higher than normal tide (includes wind driven waves)
2. Rainfall intensity exceeding the capacity of the storm
drains, drainage ditches and canals

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3. Obstructions in the storm drainage system- naturally
occurring and manmade- fallen trees, illegal dumping
( even grocery carts)

Some areas of the city are only affected by 2 out of the 3 causes.
But, because of its geography and heavy vegetation, Newmarket
Creek is highly susceptible to all three.

 The study was conducted by a 15 member citizen’s

committee supported by city staff and a consultant, working
together for about 4 months
 [Aerial Slide]Watershed aerial slide-(orientation)/what is a
watershed? (This is the largest watershed in Hampton)
 Watersheds don’t respect municipal boundaries-drains some
of NNews/most of the watershed is in Hampton
 Waterway flows out past the Coliseum and under Mercury
Blvd and La Salle Ave, near Riverdale, to the Back River
 Background- flooding in Newport News/Hampton- 1960’s
Corps constructed project for northern segment ( Newmarket
Shopping Center) solved part of the flooding problem
 Today there is recurring flooding all along the creek with one
of the worst areas around the Paula Maria/City Line Road
 Study involved a series of meetings with the committee and
the public and the committee noted some ideas which they
didn’t recommend along with some ideas that they did
[refer to list slides]

2) Mary Peake Watershed Study- [Title slide]

 This study was the result of the Newmarket Creek Study- it

did not involve a citizens committee
 [aerial slide] This area is a subset of the Newmarket Creek
basin ( orientation)

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 [aerial slide ] Describe subwatershed boundaries- describe
canal system in this area, draining higher ground, how
development spread that way from downtown, and
distinguish with lower lying areas drainage.
 This was the first project of its kind commissioned by the
city, using sophisticated computer modeling of the
watershed- this modeling inputs all of the topography,
drainage pipes, ditches and development in the area across
the entire watershed and it show how for various rainfall
intensities, where there will be bottlenecks in the drainage
system and the probable extent of the flooding. It can also
reveal how a modification in the drainage system, or a new
development, might affect the drainage in the rest of the
 The study identified a number of specific projects that would
improve the drainage in the watershed which are identified in
the full report- most of these involve the replacement of
undersized drainage pipes.
 City is considering these drainage improvements in its capital
improvements planning.

3) Farmington Canal Area Drainage Study [Title slide]

 This study was commissioned as a result of street and yard

flooding from several storms in 2007- highest land in the city
( approx 20’ above sea level) but still susceptible to flooding
in a heavy rainfall event
 [Map slide] This slide shows the study area (orientation)
 History- Bethel High School construction- drainage canal
dug- years ago this area was known as Sawyers Swamp, and
Big Bethel Road was then known as SS Road
 The new canal allowed subdivisions to develop in the area
-Farmington, Forest Ridge and Micheals Woods in
accordance with subdivision design standards but, this was
before the city had computer tools like watershed modeling-

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each subdivision designed to drain its own water w/o looking
at the bigger picture in the canal.
 Study identified deficiencies in the canal that slowed the flow
of water- city has the corrective work done
 Some areas still susceptible to backwater in a major storm
when the Newmarket Canal outfall becomes full of storm
 Study raises the question of doing future modeling of the
Newmarket canal watershed, perhaps by the Corps since the
watershed includes two cities

4) Pochin Place Canal [Title slide]

 [Aerial photo slide] This is another watershed study using

computer modeling, this time in the Wythe area ( orientation)
 History of Wythe development- before there were
subdivision design standards with drainage calculations
requirements, drainage systems were expanded as far as
possible without much regard for downstream capacity
 Recognizing this problem, the city has completed a number
of drainage improvements in this watershed- diversion of
some water near Pembroke, a dry basin , and canal widening
at lower end
 But, flooding along the canal still occurs in major storms
primarily due to downstream channel siltation and tidal
encroachment from Hampton Roads
 Study recommended tide gate at Kecoughtan Rd, and
dredging of waterway. City is working on a project to get
easements from adjacent property owners for dredging, and
permits from the Corps and VMRC would be required.

5) Corps of Engineers- Ches. Bay Storm Damage Reduction

Study [Title slide]

 This was the “mother of all studies”, performed by the

Army Corps of Engineers, taking 8 years and costing many

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hundreds of thousands of dollars (and hundreds of trees
lives). The Corps follows a very regimented, phased process
that results in an end product that is very thorough, it’s just
very tedious and expensive. Fortunately for Hampton, most
of the expense was federally funded.
 [Aerial slide of shoreline]. The study began by looking at
the environmental impacts, probable costs and benefits of
improving Hampton’s shoreline along the Ches Bay in order
to increase the ability of the shoreline/ adjacent structures to
withstand damage from flood tides and wave action ( coast is
a mosaic of ownership, some areas are developed and some
 A number of public meetings were held to discuss the project
 Corps primary criteria for funding actual improvements is the
benefit/cost ratio, and only a few areas had a benefit cost
ratio greater than 1, the public beach areas that had
development in the vicinity ( in order to have something to
 Some areas opted out of the study due to not wanting to grant
public access, such as Malo Beach
 Final report identified Buckroe Beach as an eligible project.
Council committed a cost share and, in 2005, the Corps
oversaw the pumping of sand on the beach from an offshore
source (which has a very large quantity of beach quality
sand) to provide more storm damage protection. Sand was
also pumped onto the Salt Ponds public beach at 100% local
 Periodic beach nourishment is required as sand is constantly
drifting away- however, breakwaters have been added to
slow the movement of sand. One was in place at the time of
the Corps project, one was added last year and a third will be
constructed in a few months.

6) Floodplain Management Plan- [Title slide]

 [Study results slide]

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7) Salt Ponds Inlet Study [Title slide]
 Ken Dierks will talk about this one since he was involved in
the study

8) Back River Flooding and Shoaling [Title slide]

 Background- rapid disappearance of the sand spit at the

mouth of the Back River [ Aerial photo of before condition]
known to most as Factory Point ( former menhaden
processing plant in late 1800’s)
 Gave rise to concerns about increased susceptibility to waves
in the Back River, shoreline erosion, loss of the recreational
feature, loss of wildlife habitat, and an increase in siltation of
the boating channels in the vicinity
 Council authorized citizen’s committee to look into this, with
staff and consultant support
 Committee had a number of findings [Findings slide] and
recommendations[Recommendations slide]- their highest
priority was the restoration of Factory Point
 Many of these findings and recommendations are relevant
still to what this committee will be considering
 After 6 months of design effort, over 2 years of permitting
effort, and constant battles with Mother Nature, in the spring
of this year, boating channels were widened and deepened,
and Factory Point was restored, and this is what the finished
product looks like, with breakwaters added to protect the
restored spit. [After aerial photo]


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