Jim Morrison's stories have appeared in dozens of pubs including Smithsonian, The New York Times, Wired, The Washington Post. Winner, Excellence in Reporting 2021, ASJA.
Climate Change Forces Cities to Consider Retreat
An exhaustively reported story outlining the need to begin discussing managed retreat from threatened areas including the coasts and inland floodplains.
Climate Change Turns the Tide on Waterfront Living
The city doesn’t use that politically explosive term, the Voldemort of climate adaptation. Planners here and elsewhere refer to it as the “r-word.” They’re happy to talk about the other r-word — resilience, which includes projects like sea walls, retention ponds, rebuilding wetlands and improved storm-water capacity. Retreat signals surrender, while resilience screams reassurance: Don’t worry. Stay. We’ll protect you. That medicine goes down easier. It has been embraced by dozens of cities an...
North Carolina Bald Cypresses Are Among the World’s Oldest Trees
"There is no other place on Earth like this," Angie Carl says. Her voice carries across the swamp of North Carolina's Black River as we sit floating in kayaks at the knees of our elders, an ancient stand of bald cypress trees.
Following markers of neon-pink ribbons tied to branches, we've paddled to this remote stand to recreate a journey that Carl took eight years ago guiding David W. Stahle, a University of Arkansas scientist. Carl is the fire and coastal restoration manager for The Nature ...
An ancient people with a modern climate plan
For 10,000 years, the Swinomish tribe has fished the waters of northwestern Washington, relying on the bounty of salmon and shellfish not only as a staple of its diet but as a centerpiece of its culture. At the beginning of the fishing season, the tribe gathers on the beach for a First Salmon ceremony, a feast honoring the return of the migratory fish that binds the generations of a tribe that calls itself the People of the Salmon.
At the ceremony’s conclusion, single salmon are ferried by bo...
A Bold Plan to Save the Last Whitebark Pines
The high-altitude tree is vital to its ecosystem, but it’s being decimated by a fungus. Its admirers are fusing old and new methods to bring it back.
Melissa Jenkins usually doesn't take pictures on hikes in Montana's Whitefish Range. Here, the whitebark pine that she works to restore has been so decimated by a fungus that gray skeletal ghost forests reign, haunting symbols of a once widespread species. But last summer, she paused to snap a shot of survivors flanking the trail, ragged but def...
As Norfolk weighs storm protection plan, Black residents want more say
NORFOLK — Kim Sudderth went to a meeting of community leaders from the city’s low-income, largely Black Southside last week to hear about the $2.6 billion plan to protect Norfolk from storms and hurricanes.
She left seeing red.
A representative of Norfolk’s Office of Resilience explained that the neighborhood on the south side of the Elizabeth River would be protected by natural shorel...
Norfolk moves ahead on sea wall project to protect against storms
A 2015 corps study targeted Norfolk because waters are rising faster here than elsewhere in the country, putting the city at risk sooner. The corps later identified cities including Miami and Charleston, S.C., as facing existential threats. Those cities, pioneers in addressing the urban climate threat, are finding that protecting themselves from storm surges is more than a design and engineering problem. It is a complicated and evolving mix of science, social justice, urban planning and finance.
As rainstorms grow more severe and frequent, communities fail to prepare for risks
Lack of a current, national rainfall database means some states use 60-year-old statistics as they design roads, bridges, and dams that are supposed to last 50 years.
How ‘Daylighting’ Buried Waterways Is Revitalizing Cities Across America
For a century, Jordan Creek cut across downtown Springfield, Missouri. As in so many other 19th-century cities, the waterway was a founding centerpiece of the town. But over the decades, the creek regularly unleashed a tantrum of flooding into the city’s commercial heart. By 1927, residents had tired of rebounding from one watery attack after another. They created tall concrete banks to cage the creek. When that wasn’t enough and the area flooded again five years later, the city entombed the ...
A New Generation of Satellites Is Helping Authorities Track Methane Emissions
Hugo, Iris and a growing complement of public and private sentries orbiting overhead and scheduled for launch have opened a new era of fighting the climate crisis by tracking methane leaks from landfills, pipelines and mines. The new generation of satellites will allow better measurements of such leaks over time and help the public hold countries and corporations accountable to their promises to reduce greenhouse gases.
Pliocene-Like Monsoons Are Returning to the American Southwest
For researchers seeking to understand the effects of climate change on the weather of the North American Southwest, the answer lies in traveling millions of years back in time on wings of wax—leaf wax.
Plants make waxes on their leaves composed of carbon and the hydrogen drawn from rainwater. When the plant dies, those waxes turn into dust that floats on the wind, then drifts down to form layers preserved in marine and terrestrial sediments. Trapped withi...
Why is a Norfolk community development entity investing everywhere but Norfolk?
Hampton Roads Ventures, created by the Norfolk Redevelopment and Housing Authority, is headquartered in this office building in Norfolk. (Jim Morrison/ For the Virginia Mercury)
NORFOLK — When they posed for a picture in an empty field 18 years ago, Robert K. Jenkins and other Norfolk Redevelopment and Housing Authority officials were confident that a new subsidiary would bring a much-needed shopping center to Norfolk’s Berkley neighborhood by pioneering the use of a fledgling federal tax cre...
The mystery of the management fees
The skeletal documents obtained through records requests raise a number of questions.
Why would NRHA with a lawyer expert in tax credits deals not maximize the fees earned by HRV?
Why for years did NRHA employees, including the executive director, get paid separately to work for HRV while also drawing housing authority paychecks?
Summaries of Hampton Roads Ventures finances, show that HRV has paid nearly twice as much in the last decade — $2.5 million for “labor/administration” — than it has funneled to NRHA. That’s a departure from other community development entities.
Norfolk leaders push community development group to invest locally
Hampton Roads Ventures, a subsidiary of the Norfolk housing authority, has been under a microscope over out-of-state projects
After months of scrutiny of the out-of-state deals financed by Hampton Roads Ventures, Norfolk Mayor Kenneth Alexander said the city will draft a resolution requiring the housing authority’s subsidiary to focus on Norfolk.
The comments by Alexander came after a meeting with representatives of the Norfolk Redevelopment and Housing Authority and Hampton Roads Ventures du...
Sunny-Day Flooding Is About to Become More Than a Nuisance
Sunny-Day Flooding Is About to Become More Than a Nuisance
Sea level rise will soon combine with a host of other environmental factors to produce dozens of floods each fall in US coastal cities.