Forming a Committee
While engaging the public is integral in planning for flood readiness, establishing a group of key stakeholders is essential for sustaining a community’s commitment to climate change resiliency. Local governments may form an ad-hoc committee that is specifically appointed to develop an adaptation plan. However, a jurisdiction may wish to delegate planning to an existing committee or appoint a standing committee to both prepare and implement a long-term adaption plan. The committee should be appointed by jurisdiction’s governing body (e.g., city council) and represent diverse interests. Local government committees typically comprise elected officials and staff, property owners, citizens, state agency officials, and key community stakeholders. The committee serves in an advisory role to elected officials and makes recommendations on adaptation plans, policies, and actions. Delaware Sea Grant’s Natural Hazard and Climate Change Adaptation Tool Kit for Delaware Communities suggests that a committee may:
- Help identify vulnerabilities, adaptation strategies, and implementation strategies
- Provide feedback on drafts of plans
- Draft sections of the plan
- Contribute knowledge on how sea level rise might impact government services or the population
- Form subcommittees to focus on subjects such as public health or transportation infrastructure
An external technical advisory group may also be formed as a separate committee or as part of a local government-appointed committee. This type of group could provide technical assistance, experience from having worked on similar projects, scientific knowledge, state agency expertise, and insights into funding and other implementation resources.
The Town of South Bethany formed a Sea Level Rise & Storm Surge Committee in 2013 to conduct a vulnerability assessment to identify at-risk properties and infrastructure, as well as to evaluate and recommend potential adaptation strategies. This group made community presentations about the risks and vulnerabilities of sea level rise and applied for grant funding for adaptation projects.
In 2002, the Mayor and the Council of the City of Lewes appointed members to the Lewes Mitigation Planning Team. The team was tasked with establishing an ongoing hazard mitigation program. Since then, the group has conducted a comprehensive analysis of the City’s infrastructure vulnerabilities, developed a flood mitigation plan, educated citizens about sea level rise and associated hazards, and established partnerships with other governmental entities and stakeholders.