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WCU professor tapped for Virginia governor’s coastal planning team

Rob Young, director of Western Carolina University’s Program for the Study of Developed Shorelines, was recently appointed by Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam to a technical advisory committee as part of the Virginia Coastal Master Planning Framework, which will guide development of the state’s master plan to adapt to environmental changes.

Young’s appointment reflects the important role science has in the understanding of climate change. 

“This is a classic example of the kind of position we hope to be in as a center where we have a state government at this level looking to us for advice and consultation on long-term coastal planning,” he said. “If you look at the members of the committee, most of them are not scientists, so I often end up being the only scientist with a group of decision makers.”  

Young, a Virginia native, earned his bachelor’s degree from the College of William and Mary in Williamsburg and grew up on the Chesapeake Bay. 

“That kid who was hanging out on the York River could have never imagined playing even a small role in guiding long-term coastal planning for the state of Virginia,” he said.

Young also has been appointed to serve on the South Carolina Flood Water Commission, established by Gov. Henry McMaster to identify solutions and ways to better coordinate efforts to mitigate increased flooding from rains, storms, hurricanes and tides.  

He has also been recently appointed to the Healthy Gulf Board, The Center for Coastal and Marine Studies in Bulgaria, the Technology Advisory Board of American Water Security Project and the Environmental and Energy Study Institute.

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