Many local governments in Delaware do not have the capacity or resources (e.g., staff, expertise, finances, and time) to adequately manage flood risk, which may impact a community’s preparedness and resiliency. Local, state, and federal governments; private and non-profit sectors; and community stakeholders must work collaboratively to plan for future flood events. Adaptive planning is an ongoing process involving coordination and partnerships. Local governments should seek assistance from experts within state agencies in developing strategies to protect critical structures such as wastewater treatment facilities from flooding, protect water supplies from flooding and saltwater intrusion, evaluate the adequacy of drainage infrastructure, and incorporate adaptive measures within planning processes.
Delaware local governments should develop operational plans and strategies, with technical assistance from state agencies and input from key stakeholders, to address potential impacts of flooding. While it is advised that each jurisdiction assign a certified floodplain manager to this role, smaller entities may not have this ability. Therefore, it is essential to designate a specific staff member to work with state agencies, local officials, and citizens to evaluate and manage flood readiness. Local governments should determine needs for technical assistance, funding, or training for staff, elected officials, planning commission members, and/or other citizen volunteers to address flood readiness associated with storms, seasonal high “king” tides, and sea level rise.
Training for local government officials is offered through IPA’s Delaware Planning Education Program. Conducted in collaboration with DNREC and the Sea Grant College Program, IPA’s Planning 201—Creating a Flood-Ready Community—trains local leaders in evaluating flood risks, implementing adaptation measures through community planning, and revising codes and ordinances. State agencies also host workshops for local government officials and staff, such as DNREC’s Coastal Training Program. Lastly, the University of Delaware’s Sustainable Coastal Communities Initiative and Delaware Sea Grant provide training workshops to local government officials and decision makers.