City of New Castle, Delaware Coastal Resiliency Action Plan

Created: 3/29/2010 - Updated: 3/02/2020


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 City of New Castle 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 physical, social, economic, and environmental vulnerabilities of the City of New Castle’s coast in order to 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 City of New Castle. This project is designed to assist New Castle 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 New Castle include flooding and erosion from storms, which have stressed existing dikes and tide gates throughout the community; more intense storms and sea level rise expected with climate change have the potential to overwhelm the community, resulting in complete dike failures, inundation, habitat loss, and infrastructure damage. The goal of this project is to create an adaptation plan to increase the resiliency of New Castle to current and projected effects of coastal storms, sea level rise, and climate change.


There are four planned steps in this process: collecting and synthesizing data on existing dikes and tide gates in the community; conducting a detailed vulnerability assessment; developing a suite of strategies; and implementing the action plan.

  1. Data collection and synthesis: The Delaware Coastal Programs Office is contracting firms to collect data on existing tide gates and dikes throughout the city. The information that will be collected, prepared, and/or provided includes:
    1. Dike breach analysis and inundation mapping for selected dikes
    2. Tide gate analysis, including projected functionality with anticipated sea level rise
    3. Emergency action plans for selected dikes
    4. Operation and maintenance manuals for dikes and tide gates
    5. Engineering support as needed to deal with dike and tide gate assessment and repair
  2. Vulnerability assessment: A detailed vulnerability assessment will be conducted in order to develop and prioritize specific strategies.
  3. Strategy development: Using the outcomes of the vulnerability assessment, a final set of strategies will be developed with input from stakeholders through a series of public workshops.
  4. Action plan implementation: The City of New Castle will use the data collected and the vulnerability assessment and strategies developed to implement the coastal resiliency action plan.

Outcomes and Conclusions

An adaptation action plan will be developed for the City of New Castle, 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.


Information gathered from interviews and online resources. Last updated on 3/29/10.


Gregg, R. M. (2010). City of New Castle, Delaware Coastal Resiliency Action Plan [Case study on a project of the Delaware Coastal Management Program]. Product of EcoAdapt's State of Adaptation Program. Retrieved from CAKE:… (Last updated March 2010)

Project Contact(s)

The management of Delaware’s coastal resources is shared by a number of entities within the Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control.


Scale of Project
Community / Local
Sector Addressed
Development (socioeconomic)
Tourism / Recreation
Transportation / Infrastructure
Target Climate Changes and Impacts
Habitat extent
Infrastructure damage
Sea level rise
Storms or extreme weather events
Climate Type
Type of Adaptation Action/Strategy
Capacity Building
Conduct vulnerability assessments and studies
Governance and Policy
Develop / implement adaptation plans
Sociopolitical Setting
Effort Stage
In progress

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