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Contact: Michael Globetti, DNREC Public Affairs, 302-739-9902 

Delaware Sea Level Rise Vulnerability Assessment report completed
Results show impacts of sea level rise will be felt throughout entire state

DOVER (Sept. 12, 2012) – After more than a year of study of the risks posed by sea level rise, Delaware’s Sea Level Rise Advisory Committee has completed its statewide Sea Level Rise Vulnerability Assessment report. Results of the assessment show that sea level rise is a statewide issue: all three counties and 31 of the state’s 57 cities and towns will be directly impacted. The report is available for download on DNREC’s website at 

About the report
The Vulnerability Assessment outlines the potential impacts of three future sea level rise scenarios to homes, businesses, parks, roads, farmland, habitat, wetlands and dozens of other statewide resources. It also includes detailed data tables and maps that illustrate the scope and significance of sea level rise for the state. The findings of this report will be used by the Sea Level Rise Advisory Committee to develop recommendations aimed at improving Delaware’s ability to adapt to the changes that sea level rise may bring.

In developing the report, the Delaware Sea Level Rise Advisory Committee, composed of representatives from state and local governments, businesses, and civic advocacy organizations, solicited extensive stakeholder and public comment at meetings and public engagement sessions throughout the state.

“The science is clear that Delaware will face very real and wide-ranging impacts from more extreme weather events and sea level rise,” said DNREC Secretary Collin O’Mara. “This scientific assessment provides a solid foundation to evaluate potential strategies and proactive measures that will improve our resilience to storms and reduce our long-term vulnerability.”

“Sea level rise is not just a problem for beach-front homeowners,” said Sarah W. Cooksey, advisory committee chair and administrator of DNREC’s Delaware Coastal Programs. “It is an issue that will affect every Delawarean. Solutions to the problems laid out in this document will require effort and cooperation from individuals, businesses and all levels of government. This new document will be a baseline for finding solutions.”

About the findings of the report
The Vulnerability Assessment found that between 8-11 percent of Delaware’s total land area could be inundated by a sea level rise of 1.6 feet to 4.9 feet (0.5 meters to 1.5 meters). This includes:

·         Between 61,000 and 74,000 acres of permanently preserved lands, including wildlife areas, parks, federal wildlife refuges and conservation easements (37-44 percent of the state’s total)

·         Between 3,000-17,000 single family homes, apartments and manufactured homes ( 1-5 percent of the state’s total)

·         Between 116 and 484 miles of roads and bridges (1-5 percent of the state’s total)

The assessment also compares the relative statewide impact of inundation and identified 16 resources as of highest concern for the state. Among the high concern resources are dams and dikes, evacuation routes, tidal wetlands, future development areas, industrial areas and tourism and coastal recreation.

Using the report
The report was developed for use by the Sea Level Rise Advisory Committee to guide development of a sea level rise adaptation plan for the state. It can also be used by homeowners, municipal officials and business owners to understand and plan for their own risks to sea level rise.

The final report of the Sea Level Rise Advisory Committee, due in 2013, will contain recommendations to help governments, businesses, and citizens prepare for sea level rise.

About Sea Level Rise
Delaware’s location and coastal economy makes our state more vulnerable than many other areas to sea level rise. Rising sea levels can cause several major problems: loss of low-lying land and structures; saltwater intrusion into ground and surface waters; and increased coastal flooding from storm events.

Tide gauges in the state show that sea levels in Delaware are rising at a rate of about 13 inches over a time span of 100 years. This rate is expected to accelerate in the coming decades.

For more information about sea level rise or to read the Delaware Sea Level Rise Vulnerability Assessment and review its vulnerability maps, go to

Vol. 42, No. 350

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