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Virginia Institute of Marine Science

Isabel recovery in full swing

  • Ferry Pier Aftermath
    Ferry Pier Aftermath
    The VIMS Ferry Pier following Hurricane Isabel in September 2003.
  • During the Storm
    During the Storm
    The VIMS shoreline during Hurricane Isabel.
  • Gloucester Point Flooding
    Gloucester Point Flooding
    Gloucester Point and the VIMS Boat Basin during Hurricane Isabel.
  • Debris
    Debris
    VIMS professor Deborah Steinberg views the remains of the VIMS Ferry Pier, which were washed into the parking lot of the Customer Service Center during Hurricane Isabel.
  • Langley Air Force Base
    Langley Air Force Base
    Flood waters from Hurricane Isabel rendered one of the main streets on Langley Air Force Base virtually impassable. (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Ben Bloker)
  • Felled Trees
    Felled Trees
    Hurricane Isabel downed trees across tidewater Virginia and the mid-Atlantic.
  • Clean-Up
    Clean-Up
    Monty Montigny cleans up the VIMS workshop following Hurricane Isabel.

Like many of its neighbors, VIMS is still working to restore, replace, and rebuild areas hit by Hurricane Isabel last September. The storm destroyed all three of VIMS’ research piers, claimed 18,000 sq ft of workspace, and displaced 34 scientific and support personnel.

“We’ve made a great deal of progress this spring,” says VIMS Director of Facilities Management Joe Martinez. “The finfish aquaculture building, submerged aquatic vegetation greenhouse, and sea turtle greenhouse are all operational. The seawater distribution system, required for research support, is back up and running as well.”

“The Teaching Marsh and Maritime Forest were open again for the public in May, just in time for Marine Science Day and public tours,” adds Public Relations Coordinator Susan Maples. “We owe great thanks to CCRM [Center for Coastal Research and Management] staff for their efforts to re-plant the vegetation that was lost to the storm and to re-landscape the area.”

Reconstruction of VIMS’ new piers will be completed by the end of June. Replacement windows for Chesapeake Bay Hall are scheduled to be installed by mid-July.

While some buildings are still waiting to be repaired, most of the reconstruction needed for continued research has been completed,” says Martinez.

Hurricane Isabel at VIMS, by the numbers