County must take steps to mitigate flooding

October 15, 2019

Last week’s coastal flooding should serve as a warning to both residents and local officials.  Even though the area largely escaped the high winds and rains of a typical nor’easter, a nearly full moon and wind-whipped tides combined Oct. 11 to flood many roads throughout the region and beyond, with Annapolis, Alexandria, Va., and Baltimore also falling below the waterline at high tide.

As photos posted on the Cape Gazette website and in this print edition clearly illustrate, long stretches of Long Neck Road were under water, and kayaks were the transportation of the day along Love Creek and in neighborhoods like Mariners Cove and Bayside.

Bay Vista yards, roads at The Seasons near Rehoboth, and roads in Dewey and Milton also saw significant flooding, as did Canary Creek in Lewes.

Many roads were at least temporarily impassable – all this even though this time, our region did not feel the full force of the tropical storm offshore.

These flooding events have become all too frequent in recent years, yet making plans to combat future flooding has yet to get significant traction at the county level.

With hundreds more houses on the way in the Long Neck area, county planners must step up to the plate to identify areas where flooding already occurs and where it is likely to get worse – and then propose plans to mitigate rising floodwaters.

Working with Delaware Department of Transportation and the county conservation district, Sussex officials must ensure vital roadways are protected to ensure the safety of Sussex County residents.

Bayside flooding is a serious issue that must be considered when reviewing all new development plans and land-use applications, residential as well as commercial and industrial. 

We are now well past the point when flooding was an occasional annoyance we learned to live with.

We may not be able to prevent the water from rising, but we must start planning to mitigate the flooding it brings.


  • Editorials are considered by the editorial board and written by Dennis Forney, Publisher Emeritus, with occasional contributions from other board members: Trish Vernon, CoPublisher and Editor; Dave Frederick, Sports Editor Emeritus; Jen Ellingsworth, Associate Editor; Nick Roth, Sports Editor; and Chris Rausch, CoPublisher and General Manager.

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