Delaware Preps for Sea Level Rise: - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

Delaware Preps for Sea Level Rise:


LEWES, De. - For the second year in a row, the state of Delaware began their Sea Level Rise Awareness week Saturday. It all kicked off on Sept. 10, building up to a seminar on Wednesday that brought in experts from around the world. 

The seminar took place at the DNREC field office in Lewes, where dozens gathered to learn more about a problem that experts say will impact Delaware. 

WBOC caught up with three fisherman outside of the meeting. Enjoying retirement, they said the waterways of Delmarva made their way of life possible. 

"We're surrounded by water where we live..." one said who didn't give his name. "It's all waterway. So it wouldn't take much for us to be underwater." 

This sentiment was shared by many inside the packed room. People from throughout the cape region, said their close proximity to the water made them especially aware of sea level rise. 

"It's not so much of an if," said Gregg Rosner from Surfrider, the group that hosted the seminar. "It's probably a when."

Rosner said the event was put on so that they could help the community to prepare for the sea level rise. 

"How to start preparing," he said. "How to get government and non-government entities involved." 

Surfrider had five experts speak including a DNREC official, a law professor, a dredging expert, a coastal planning chief, and an engineer. WBOC spoke with the engineer, Robert Dalrymple who said sea level would impact low-lying coastlines like Delaware especially. 

"A lot of Delaware is very low," he said. "And so the sea level rise has a bigger effect then if you had a shoreline with a lot of cliffs like the state of Maine for example. There you have a rocky coastline and it's hard to erode. Whereas Delaware has a low shoreline." 

Dalrymple said that scientists anticipate an average worldwide sea level increase of 82 cm, the equivalent of approximately 2 feet and 8 inches by 2100. 

"As the water level goes up it inundates land," he said. "And so houses that were perhaps five feet above sea level are not quite as high above sea level anymore. So waves during storms can hit the houses. Beach erosion is another problem associated with Sea Level Rise."

Dalrymple said people could build their homes higher and stronger to help prevent against the sea level rise. However he said the best solution would be for homes to simply be built farther away from the coast. 

"If you don't build on the coasts then you don't have an issue at least in the next twenty to thirty years," he said. "But if you do build on the coast or if you have existing communities that are built on the coast, then you need to take into account the effects of sea level rise." 

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