Army Corps, DNREC to share cost of Inland and Delaware bays storm risk study

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The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) Philadelphia District signed a feasibility cost-sharing agreement with the Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control (DNREC) to initiate a new study for the Delaware Inland Bays.

The agreement, signed by USACE Philadelphia District Commander Lt. Col. Ramon Brigantti and DNREC Secretary Shawn M. Garvin on Nov. 29, 2022, formally kicks off the Delaware Inland Bays and Delaware Bay Coast Coastal Storm Risk Management Study.

“Our District has a long history of supporting the First State and I’m proud to continue that tradition,” said Brigantti. “We know there’s considerable risk along our nation’s coastlines and back bay environments, and so it’s important for us to study ways to help manage that risk – that will be our focus with this effort.”

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“This study presents us with a great opportunity to investigate flood risk and to develop mitigation solutions in areas that are seeing greater impacts from climate change,” said DNREC Secretary Shawn M. Garvin. “Through Delaware’s vital partnership with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, we will be able to capitalize on the experience the Corps has gained performing similar studies throughout the northeast United States. With Delaware being the lowest-lying state in the nation, and with us already seeing and feeling the impacts from climate change, this collaboration with the Corps will allow us to explore creative solutions to help us manage these impacts.”

The study will evaluate alternatives to manage risk from coastal storms that impact the Delaware Inland Bays and Delaware Bay area. Alternatives must be technically feasible, economically justified, and environmentally acceptable. The final product of the study will be a decision document in the form of a Chief’s Report, which may authorize design and construction opportunities, a release stated.

The study area includes the Delaware Inland Bays (the set of interconnected bodies of water that are separated from the Atlantic Ocean by a spit of land) and the Delaware Bay coastline in the State of Delaware in New Castle, Kent, and Sussex Counties. The Inland Bays’ coastline area encompasses 77 square miles, and the Delaware Bay coastline is about 145 square miles.

A meeting will be held within the first several months of the study, to “present the scope of the study” and seek initial comments from the public, agencies, and stakeholders.

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