DNREC : public engagement sessions on adapting to sea level rise

First of three public engagement sessions on adapting to sea level rise set for Feb. 13 in Lewes

(LEWES, Feb. 7, 2013) – The first of three public engagement sessions on adapting to sea level rise is scheduled for Wed., Jan. 13 in Lewes. Delaware residents are invited to attend and provide comments on potential actions that can be taken to improve our state’s capacity to adapt to rising sea levels.

4 – 7 p.m., Wednesday, Feb. 13, 2013
Cape Henlopen High School
Auditorium and Lobby
1270 Kings Highway
Lewes, DE  19958

The Delaware Sea Level Rise Advisory Committee, composed of representatives from state and local governments, businesses and civic advocacy organizations, developed a list of potential actions – “capacity building options” – that seek to improve the way in which decisions about adaptation are made. The options focus on improving regulatory flexibility, streamlining communications and coordination between affected groups, providing consistent policies and improving data and technical assistance. The options include suggestions for changes to existing programs to allow them to be more responsive to the challenges of sea level rise and suggestions for the creation of several new programs and partnerships.

The session will feature informative presentations, displays and opportunities for participants to provide comments and feedback to committee members and DNREC staff.  Potential capacity building options, presentations and displays can be reviewed online at http://de.gov/adaptationengagement. Comments may be submitted at each engagement session or until March 14, 2013 by email to DNREC_DCP_PublicComment@state.de.us.

“Over the past few years, Delaware has experienced property damage, road closures, and infrastructure damage resulting from intense coastal storms, flooding, and record high tides,” said Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control Secretary Collin O’Mara. “These types of impacts will become more routine as the state faces more extreme weather events and sea levels rise.  Now is the time for a statewide conversation about the best strategies and tactics to prepare Delaware for these growing challenges by improving our capacity to adapt.  I encourage all Delawareans to take part in this important conversation.”

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“When finalized, the options up for review at the public engagement sessions will be incorporated into the state’s sea level rise adaptation plan, then put into place by a variety of agencies, businesses and citizens. Implementing these options will help set Delaware up for successful adaptation to sea level rise,” said Sarah Cooksey, Delaware Sea Level Rise Advisory Committee Chair and Administrator of DNREC’s Delaware Coastal Programs.

Engagement sessions will also be held:

4 – 7 p.m., Tuesday, Feb. 19, 2013
New Castle School
903 Delaware Street
New Castle, DE 19720

4 – 7 p.m., Monday, Feb. 25, 2013
Kent County Levy Court Complex
Rooms 220 & 221
555 Bay Road (Rt. 113)
Dover, DE  19901

All comments received will be used to finalize a set of capacity building options for inclusion in the state’s Sea Level Rise Adaptation Plan, a guidance document for citizens, businesses and governments.

Delaware is particularly vulnerable to the effects of rising sea levels because of its location, low average elevation and coastal economy. For more information about sea level rise or to read the Delaware Sea Level Rise Vulnerability Assessment and review the vulnerability maps, go to http://de.gov/slrva.

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