As a Coastal State, Delaware’s economy and quality of life are linked to it’s shores and farm fields. Because of it’s location, low average elevation, and dependence on the coast, Delaware is particularly vulnerable to the effects of rising sea levels.
In 2009, scientists from the across the state met as Technical Work Group to provide the Department with planning scenarios for SLR
In 2010, the Sea-Level Rise Advisory Committee convened to help the state plan for sea level rise. Stakeholders included state agencies, local governments, citizen organizations, businesses, and environmental. The committee was established by invitation of DNREC Secretary O’Mara to investigate Delaware’s vulnerability to .5, 1, 1.5M by 2100of SLR and to provide recommendations about how to best prepare for higher sea levels.
3 Workgroups were formed to allow in depth discussions on priorities: Natural Resources, Society and Economy, and Public Safety and Infrastructure.
It is very difficult to predict how shorelines and coastal areas will change and reshape due to SLR but using a bathtub model where the shoreline stays static were used to determine what areas would be subject to inundation in the future.
Delaware is the first state to comprehensively assess specific resource vulnerability to sea level rise at a statewide level.
The statewide sea level rise vulnerability assessment was completed in July 2012 and published in September 2012. It assessed 79 different resources ranging from wells and septic systems to roads to wetlands. It found that sea level rise will impact all of Delaware, with direct effects in all three counties and 31 of our 57 towns. 8-11% of our total land area could be inundated, or permanently flooded, by sea level rise under the three scenarios.
After determining where we were vulnerable, we had to determine how that would impact the state and therefore, how what would the state be able to do to lessen the impacts.
If you remember the 2nd aspect the Sea-Level Rise Advisory Committee was charged with was developing a list of recommendations for how the state will deal with sea-level rise.
Adaptation-adjusting to new conditions and taking steps to moderate and cope with the effects
Adaptation strategies include raising structures out of flood prone areas, building dikes, avoiding placement of structures in vulnerable areas and restoring wetlands
Delaware chose to focus on how to improve our adaptive capacity or the ability of individuals or agencies to assess potential impacts and to select and implement appropriate adaptation measures-availability of data, funding, technical assistance, communications.
You have done all of this wonderful work but as we all know, that only matters if people actually know about it. Thankfully, there has been a lot of work done on the University and state level to educate the public. A comprehensive strategy with all of the stakeholders had to be developed so we could get this information to the public.
0.5, 1.0 and
1.5 meters of
SLR to 2100