Preparing for Tomorrow's High Tide: Final Recommendations for Preparing Delaware for Sea Level Rise

These recommendations, formally released in September 2013, were developed by Delaware’s Sea Level Rise Advisory Committee and by staff of the Delaware Coastal Programs section of the Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control (DNREC). Fifty-five recommendations were developed for adapting to sea level rise in the state, which target the 16 vulnerable resources noted of high or moderate concern in Delaware’s 2012 Sea Level Rise Vulnerability Assessment. These recommendations focus on building the necessary capacity for Delaware agencies, local governments, businesses and individuals to plan for and put into place strategies for responding to sea level rise.

In building the final recommendations, the Advisory Committee gathered input from their organizations, other stakeholder groups, and the public to determine whether barriers and opportunities for adaptation exist for the vulnerable resources identified as of high or moderate concern. The Committee established seven overall objectives for building capacity to adapt to sea level rise, and grouped the final recommendations according to the objective it will most help achieve.

The objectives are:

• Improve Communication and Coordination among State, Federal, Local and Regional Partners to Streamline Sea Level Rise Adaptation Efforts
• Provide Increased Regulatory Flexibility for Adaptation and Improve Consistency among Regulatory Agency Decisions
• Provide Consistent and Predictable Policies for Future Growth, Investment, and Natural Resource Management
• Increase Public Awareness of Sea Level Rise through Education, Outreach and Marketing
• Improve the Availability and Robustness of Sea Level Rise Data Sets
• Provide Technical Assistance to Partners for Assessing Vulnerability and Choosing Adaptation Strategies
• Expand Funding Opportunities for Adaptation Planning and Implementation Projects

The chapter “Adaptation Strategies and Measures” provides background information on sea level rise adaptation strategies which are presented in four categories: avoid, accommodate, protect, and retreat. Within each category are numerous measures that can be taken alone or in combination.

“Adaptation in Practice” discusses Delaware’s existing capacity to adapt, how adaptation strategies may be implemented, and the importance of planning for sea level rise. This chapter also provides a list of guiding principles that can be used in planning adaptation projects.

A chapter of case studies describes several notable initiatives that have been undertaken related to storm surge and sea level rise preparedness including innovative marsh management, public lands acquisition, dike restoration and community planning.

Because of its location, low average elevation and dependence upon coastal resources for jobs and recreation, Delaware is particularly vulnerable to the effects sea level rise, including loss of low-lying land and structures, saltwater intrusion into groundwater and surface water and increased coastal flooding during storm events.

 

Publication Date: September 2013

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  • Adaptation plan
  • Policy analysis/recommendations

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