Contact: Melanie Rapp, DNREC Public Affairs, 302-739-9902
Slaughter Beach selected for DNREC
Resilient Community Partnership
DOVER (March 14, 2016) - DNREC’s Delaware Coastal Programs (DCP) announced today that the Town of Slaughter Beach has been selected for DCP’s first annual Resilient Community Partnership. This partnership leverages up to $75,000 in federal funding provided by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) to help Delaware communities improve their planning and preparation capabilities for responding to coastal hazards.
“Delaware towns are extremely vulnerable to coastal storms and climate change,” said Sarah Cooksey, DCP administrator. “Advance planning can help communities minimize their risks and rebound more quickly from hazardous events. We applaud Slaughter Beach for wanting to take the necessary steps to become more resilient.”
Slaughter Beach has compelling reasons to enhance its resiliency to hazardous events. This small town in Sussex County lies immediately north of Prime Hook National Wildlife Refuge and east of Slaughter Creek. Its northern and western boundaries front Cedar Creek and the Delaware Bay. The town routinely experiences flooding from storms and extreme tides, and the two access roads in and out of town often flood for up to three days at a time, posing risks for evacuation. During Snowstorm Jonas in January 2016, the town experienced near record flooding as well as substantial dune loss and property damage. Residents have expressed concerns that their town is flooding more often, particularly from the marsh side, according to DCP’s Cooksey.
The Mayor or Slaughter Beach Harry Ward said. “We’re thrilled to have been selected as the first community to participate in the resiliency project and look forward to working with Delaware Coastal Programs. We’re a small town with limited means and being selected to participate in this program gives us the opportunity to identify the resources needed to ensure the safety of our citizens. Slaughter Beach is a beautiful and unspoiled bay beach and is home to over 400 species of wildlife. We have an obligation to protect our environment and community for future generations, and the only way to guarantee that our children and grandchildren can experience the beauty and serenity that we now enjoy is to become a resilient community.”
Through this partnership, DNREC, DCP and Slaughter Beach will carry out a comprehensive vulnerability assessment of risks from coastal storms, sea level rise and extreme tides. Other potential risks, including wildfires and temperature changes due to climate change will be examined. This assessment will produce data and visualization tools that characterize the Town’s risk so that the Partnership can identify adaptation and mitigation measures that will enhance the Town’s resiliency to hazardous events. Other goals are to promote best practices and their transferability so that other Bayshore towns may benefit from this important work.
The selection of Slaughter Beach follows a competitive process that was announced in November 2015. DCP will provide direct staffing, technical support, public outreach and training to assist the Town with its vulnerability assessment. In addition, DCP will collaborate with other DNREC and state partners, including DelDOT and the State Office of Planning Coordination, to obtain valuable insights and assistance. Stakeholder participation will also be a major part of the process, with an initial public workshop to be scheduled in Slaughter Beach later this spring.
Delaware Coastal Programs improves local capacity to conserve and wisely manage coastal resources and supports the integration of coastal management principles through local planning and implementation activities. For more information about the Resilient Community Partnership, contact Danielle Swallow, DCP at 302-739-9283.
Vol. 46, No. 77