Delaware residents are invited to attend upcoming engagement sessions on sea level rise and provide comments on potential actions that can be taken to improve our state’s capacity to adapt. Three sessions, one in each county, will be held, Wednesday, Feb. 13, in Lewes, Tuesday, Feb. 19, in New Castle and Monday, Feb. 25, in Dover.
“Over the past few years, Delaware has experienced property damage, road closures, and infrastructure damage resulting from intense coastal storms, flooding, and record high tides,” said Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control Secretary Collin O’Mara.
“These types of impacts will become more routine as the state faces more extreme weather events and sea levels rise. Now is the time for a statewide conversation about the best strategies and tactics to prepare Delaware for these growing challenges by improving our capacity to adapt. I encourage all Delawareans to take part in this important conversation.”
The Delaware Sea Level Rise Advisory Committee, composed of representatives from state and local governments, businesses and civic advocacy organizations, developed a list of potential actions – “capacity building options” - that seek to improve the way in which decisions about adaptation are made.
The options focus on improving regulatory flexibility, streamlining communications and coordination between affected groups, providing consistent policies and improving data and technical assistance.
The options include suggestions for changes to existing programs to allow them to be more responsive to the challenges of sea level rise and suggestions for the creation of several new programs and partnerships.
The engagement sessions will be held: 4 to 7 p.m., Wednesday, Feb. 13, at Cape Henlopen High School Auditorium and Lobby, Lewes; 4 to 7 p.m., Tuesday, Feb. 19, at New Castle Middle School Auditorium and Lobby, 903 Delaware Street, New Castle; and 4 to 7 p.m., Monday, Feb. 25, at Kent County Levy Court Complex, Rooms 220 and 221, 555 Bay Road (Rt. 113) Dover.
“When finalized, the options up for review at the public engagement sessions will be incorporated into the state’s sea level rise adaptation plan, then put into place by a variety of agencies, businesses and citizens. Implementing these options will help set Delaware up for successful adaptation to sea level rise,” said Sarah Cooksey, Delaware Sea Level Rise Advisory Committee Chair and Administrator of DNREC’s Delaware Coastal Programs.
Each session will feature informative presentations, displays and opportunities for participants to provide comments and feedback to committee members and DNREC staff. Potential capacity building options, presentations and displays can be reviewed online at http://de.gov/adaptationengagement. Comments may be submitted at each engagement session, or until March 14, by email to DNREC_DCP_PublicComment@state.de.us.
All comments received will be used to finalize a set of capacity building options for inclusion in the state’s Sea Level Rise Adaptation Plan, a guidance document for citizens, businesses and governments.
Delaware is particularly vulnerable to the effects of rising sea levels because of its location, low average elevation and coastal economy. For more information about sea level rise or to read the Delaware Sea Level Rise Vulnerability Assessment and review the vulnerability maps, go to http://de.gov/slrva.