Adapting to climate change means preparing Delawareans for changes that are happening as a result of climate change: changes in temperature, rainfall, and sea level rise. There are a variety of ways that Delaware is adapting to climate change.
Delaware’s experts in environmental issues, public health, emergency management, transportation and other sectors are working together to understand and plan for the effects of a changing climate on the people of the state. At a statewide Climate + Health Conference in June of 2017, they collaborated to produce a report summarizing their discussions about the affects of climate change on environmental and social issues, health and medical issues, and issues related to emergency management and public safety.
Sea levels have risen in Delaware by more than 12 inches over the last century – twice the global average. This means high tides and storm surges reach further inland, resulting in damaging flooding and beach erosion. A combination of expanding oceans, subsiding land, and increased rainfall are putting our buildings, roads, bridges and other structures (collectively known as “infrastructure”) at risk of flood damage in both coastal and inland areas. Building with future flood areas in mind will help keep Delawareans safe and prevent costly future repairs and relief.
The State has a variety of resources for understanding and acting to prevent flood risk and damage. They include:
Plants and soils naturally filter pollutants out of the environment, and absorb water to reduce flooding and runoff after storms. Nature-based solutions, known as green infrastructure, include rain gardens outside of buildings or trees planted in urban areas. Green infrastructure can help moderate temperatures, reduce flooding, and filter pollutants out of the air. Vegetated areas along waterways trap nutrients and pollutants that come off the land, helping to keep waterways clean.
The Green Infrastructure Primer was designed to walk readers through the basics and benefits of green infrastructure. It also provides contacts and resources for every step of implementing green infrastructure projects.