The City of New Castle and DNREC have partnered for a study to determine the potential impacts of various sea level rise scenarios on the city’s ecosystems.
The Ecosystem Assessment and Enhancement Project is based on the recommendations of a previous city/state partnership.
It will evaluate the ability of coastal wetland and marsh areas to absorb flood waters and stormwater runoff and determine how the city and/or state can implement a wetland restoration program to increase the city’s overall adaptive capacity to sea level rise and flooding.
A 2017 Resilient Community Partnership project created a City of New Castle Vulnerability Assessment and Adaptation Plan. Using the sea level rise projections in the plan, the city found that as much as 40 percent of its total area could be inundated by tides alone in 2100. That would affect more than 200 structures.
The 100-year floodplain could increase to 60 percent of the City by 2100, impacting nearly half of all buildings.
The plan recommended more than 30 wide-ranging actions.
While investigations related to the management of city dikes and structure floodproofing will continue, the city and DNREC’s Delaware Coastal Programs have partnered to focus on one of those recommendations: the Ecosystem Assessment and Enhancement Project.
The study, and related efforts, will provide many other ecological, recreational and educational benefits. The public outreach components of the study will further educate the residents and businesses in New Castle about the importance of the city’s natural resources.
AECOM is managing the project and providing surveying, mapping and technical evaluation of tide control structures at the dikes.
The Partnership for the Delaware Estuary will use a variety of their assessment methods and tools to perform the ecosystem evaluation and to identify potential intervention tactics and their locations.
The project will summarize findings in an ecological report card that will prioritize intervention needs within and among different sites.
It will develop restoration programs to preserve ecosystem values as sea levels change and to enhance the ability of marsh areas to mitigate the impacts of future coastal storms.
The city will partner with DNREC’s Delaware Coastal Programs in outreach and education efforts to inform the public about the importance of protecting and preserving ecosystems as changes occur.