Fenwick Seeks State Funding For Study On Sea Level Rise

FENWICK ISLAND – Town officials voted last month to apply for state funding to conduct a sea level rise study to help prepare Fenwick for impacts in the future.

Town Manager Merritt Burke announced to the Town Council on Jan. 23 the opportunity to apply for a Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control (DNREC) Coastal Programs Grant to assess the town’s sea level rise.

“In September of 2010, DNREC convened a Delaware Sea Level Rise Advisory Committee and out of that committee three years later the opportunity for municipalities to apply for grant funds … essentially assistance to combat and mitigate sea level rise,” Burke said.

Burke asked for the go ahead to submit a DNREC Coastal Programs Grant application asking for $10,000 with a 50/50 cost share that would fund a sea level rise assessment.

According to DNREC, the Delaware Coastal Programs (DCP) announced the availability of grant funding to support projects and activities that improve local and regional capacity to conserve, manage and promote the incorporation of coastal management issues into local planning and implementation activities throughout Delaware.

The year’s grant will focus on those activities and planning efforts that assist sea level rise adaptation planning, including those recommendations provided in “Preparing for Tomorrow’s High Tide”, the reduction of coastal hazard related impacts, increasing local or regional coastal resiliency and/or natural resource management issues as they pertain to adaptation measures.

The goals and priorities in providing such a grant is to improve the management and wise use of land and water resources as well as the need for compatible economic development of the coastal zone.

This grant program provides an opportunity to plan for and reduce the impacts of coastal hazards related to sea level rise, coastal storms and climate change through the implementation adaptation options such as the development of ordinances, comprehensive land use plans, and infrastructure capacity and improvement planning.

“The study would document sea level rise into a bound report for future town councils and administrators to look at what the severe impact was and how to mitigate those impacts…this is the safe way of encouraging local towns to potentially study sea level rise and come up with some kind of game plan for the future. I do think it is worthy of the 50/50 cost share. For $5,000 this is a worthy endeavor,” Burke said.

The Town Council voted unanimously to approve the application for a DNREC Coastal Programs Grant to conduct a sea level rise study.

“We have made the effort in the past to survey our streets and stormwater mitigation … it seems to fall in line with what we have been doing recently,” Councilman William Weistling said.