After nearly three years of assessment, debate and public input, Delaware’s Sea Level Rise Advisory Committee has approved recommendations for adapting to sea level rise in the state through the release of its final report, “Preparing for Tomorrow’s High Tide: Recommendations for Adapting to Sea Level Rise in Delaware.” The report is available for download at de.gov/slradaptplan.
The report is intended to guide statewide decisions about adaptation and to assist government agencies, businesses and individuals make well-informed choices about preparing for and responding to sea level rise. Central to the report recommendations for building the state’s ability to adapt to sea level rise. The SLR adaptation report also contains background information about adaptation measures that can be taken to reduce vulnerability to sea level rise and provides a set of guiding principles.
Delaware’s Sea Level Rise Advisory Committee was convened in November 2010 by DNREC Secretary Collin O’Mara to investigate the state’s vulnerability to sea level rise and to provide recommendations about how to best prepare for higher sea levels. The 24-member committee comprises a wide variety of stakeholder groups including state agencies, local governments, citizen organizations, business organizations and environmental organizations. Publication of this report marks the completion of the committee’s work.
“Preparing for Tomorrow’s High Tide: Recommendations for Adapting to Sea Level Rise in Delaware” is the Sea Level Rise Advisory Committee’s third and final report, and builds upon its comprehensive statewide sea level rise vulnerability assessment, published in 2012.
The committee’s recommendations focus on building the state’s ability to make informed decisions about adaptation strategies, rather than pinpointing specific actions that should be taken in a particular location. Among others, the committee recommended increased regulatory flexibility, incorporation of sea level rise considerations into long-range and comprehensive plans, increased public awareness about sea level rise and improved data about flooding and saltwater intrusion. Any recommendation included in the report was supported by at least a two-thirds majority of advisory committee members.
“Delaware's long term competitiveness will be shaped in many ways by our response to climate change. This report provides a solid foundation to address threats from sea level rise, one of the key impacts of climate change, and to increase our resiliency to coastal storms,” said DNREC Secretary O’Mara. “While we’ve already begun making strategic investments to improve dams, dikes, impoundments and drainage and stormwater systems, in the coming years, we will be working to implement the recommendations approved by the Sea Level Rise Advisory Committee.
“We will also be leading by example through Governor Markell’s Executive Order 41, which requires state agencies to plan for sea level rise when making decisions about buildings and infrastructure,” O’Mara said. “State government can’t do it alone and I encourage everyone to review the report and the recommendations of the Sea Level Rise Advisory Committee and to take action today.”
The report is available for download at de.gov/slradaptplan. A limited number of hard copies of the report are also available by contacting the Delaware Coastal Programs office at 302-739-9283.