This page provides an overview of the actions that Delaware and its state agencies are taking to support adaptation efforts at the local level. These actions include offering guidance and providing financial and staff support.
The Delaware Office of Planning and Development’s current Comprehensive Plan Checklist requires municipal plans to address climate change, sea-level rise, and flooding, where appropriate. In 2016, the University of Delaware’s Institute for Public Administration released Creating Flood-Ready Communities: A Guide for Delaware Local Governments, to help local governments assess their flood vulnerability and plan to minimize identified risks to lives, property, and critical infrastructure. A number of state agencies, including the Delaware Department of Transportation, contributed. The guide also includes mapping tools and information about funding and technical resources that can be used across the state to implement flood-ready policies.
To inform the public about how climate change may affect development, the state maintains FirstMap, an interactive mapping tool that includes multiple layers, including for ground elevation, municipal boundaries, flooding extents, and the location of wetlands.
To promote information-sharing between levels of government, several state departments, including the Departments of Natural Resources and Environmental Control and Transportation and the Delaware Emergency Management Agency, participate in the Resilient and Sustainable Communities League (RASCL). RASCL serves as a forum where 14 state, academic, and nongovernmental (e.g., Delaware League of Local Governments) members coordinate and share resources and strategies for how local governments can adapt to climate change.
State agencies also support local climate adaptation in Delaware by funding local initiatives. In 2016, the Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control (DNREC) started the Resilient Community Partnership, a program that leverages federal funding from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration to help communities build resiliency through local and emergency preparedness planning processes that incorporate information about coastal hazards and climate change. Through the partnership, DNREC provides technical and staffing support as well as funding for public outreach and training. The Town of Slaughter Beach and the City of New Castle were the first two communities that developed climate vulnerability assessments and adaptation plans through this partnership. Delaware’s Database for Funding Resilient Communities, a web-based database of financial assistance programs that can support resilience work through the University of Delaware’s Institute for Public Administration and Delaware Coastal Programs, helps local governments seek funding to increase their climate resilience.
(Research last updated: August 23, 2018).