Dewey officials moving ahead on coastal resiliency strategy

Commissioners form committee to address climate change, sea level rise
December 2, 2021

Acknowledging the reality of shifting temperatures and weather patterns, Dewey Beach commissioners voted unanimously Nov. 19 to form a climate change and sea level rise committee.

Mayor Bill Stevens said council has been discussing the topic for quite some time, and that former Mayor Dale Cooke had stressed the formation of a focused committee.

“We know there is climate change and sea level rise, and it’s going to be an issue, especially as we’re a coastal town with the bay to our west,” Stevens said.

Commissioner Gary Persinger, who will serve as committee liaison, said the group will develop recommendations to present to council in support of a responsible strategy for resilience to climate change and rising sea levels to protect the town. 

Persinger drafted a set of objectives for the committee, which include promoting the understanding of flood zone designations and associated flood risks, and recommending available tools that can characterize current and future flood risks.

“This comes directly out of the comprehensive development plan,” Persinger said. “A section on page 77 of the comp plan talks about many of these issues. In fact, the objective is to establish a responsible strategy for resilience to rising sea levels that would protect the town.”

The committee will also propose coastal adaptation goals, consider changes to zoning and building regulations that could enhance resilience, and identify possible grant funding and technical assistance sources for implementing resilience and sustainability strategies.

The committee would not take away from the goals of the infrastructure committee, Persinger said, but would focus specifically on how the town can avoid the negative impacts of climate change and sea level rise that were evident in the region’s major coastal flooding event Oct. 29.

Committee members and an initial meeting date for the group have not yet been set.

Subscribe to the Daily Newsletter