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Project Summary / Overview
As part of their statewide Sea Level Rise Adaptation Initiative, the Delaware Coastal Programs Office of the Division of Soil and Water Conservation in the Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control (DNREC) is helping the Town of Bowers Beach to conduct a vulnerability assessment and develop a coastal resiliency action plan to prepare for and adapt to sea level rise and other projected climate change impacts. This pilot implementation project will examine the coastal hazards risks to the Town of Bowers Beach, identify issues of concern, collect relevant information, and develop adaptation strategies.
The Delaware Coastal Programs Office of the DNREC has created a Sea Level Rise Initiative to help assess vulnerabilities and plan for projected impacts of accelerated sea level rise to the Delaware coast. One aspect of this has been the design of pilot implementation projects to assist coastal communities in the state; one such project is underway in the Town of Bowers Beach. This project is designed to assist Bowers Beach in their efforts to reduce existing vulnerabilities along the coast as well as to help plan for future rising sea levels and other climate change impacts. Current coastal issues in Bowers Beach include flooding and coastal erosion from storms; more intense storms and sea level rise expected with climate change have the potential to overwhelm the community, resulting in inundation, habitat loss, coastal erosion, saltwater intrusion, and infrastructure damage. The goal of this project is to create an adaptation plan to increase the resiliency of Bowers Beach to current and projected effects of coastal storms, sea level rise, and climate change.
There are four planned steps in this process: collecting and disseminating data on existing coastal hazard risks and projected climate change impacts to the community; conducting a detailed vulnerability assessment; developing a suite of strategies; and implementing the action plan.
- Data collection and dissemination: The Delaware Coastal Programs Office and the town are working to collect, analyze, and disseminate existing information on coastal hazard risks and projected climate change impacts.
- Vulnerability assessment: A detailed vulnerability assessment will be conducted in order to develop and prioritize specific strategies. A Hazards Characterization Workshop was held in June 2009 to collect personal accounts from residents on coastal storms and flooding events and to solicit input on local concerns. This information will be used by a technical working group of state and county officials and planners.
- Strategy development: Using the outcomes of the vulnerability assessment and workshops, a final set of strategies will be developed.
- Action plan implementation: The Town of Bowers Beach will use the data collected and the vulnerability assessment and strategies developed to implement the coastal resiliency action plan.
Project Outcomes and Conclusions
An adaptation action plan will be developed for the Town of Bowers Beach, Delaware. The plan will identify specific coastal vulnerabilities and outline targeted strategies to address current and future sea level rise, coastal storms, and other climate change impacts.