University of Delaware
delware environmental institute

DNREC: Governor Markell, Secretary O'Mara announce repairs of New Castle County levees

Today at the newly restored Gambacorta Marsh Dike, Governor Jack Markell, DNREC Secretary Collin O’Mara, State Senator Nicole Poore (D-Barbs Farm) and State Representative Michael Mulrooney (D-Pennwood) were joined by City of New Castle Mayor Donald Reese, council members and other officials to highlight a multi-year effort to repair and restore the centuries-old levees that provide the City of New Castle and surrounding areas with increased flood protection from the Delaware River and reduced impacts from coastal storms. The infrastructure improvements not only represent a significant milestone in coastal resiliency, but benefit the local economy and provide recreational opportunities for the community through new or enhanced walking and bicycling trails at the crest of Army Creek, Gambacorta and Broad Marsh Dikes.

“The restored levees play a key role in the safety and security of our citizens and the protection of homes, properties and infrastructure against powerful storms and rising sea levels,” said Gov. Markell.  “Investments in water control infrastructures, like those made here, reduce flooding, support jobs, and bolster the economic revitalization of our communities.”

The reconstructed levees generally consist of earthen embankments with stone armoring and water control structures designed to reduce flooding on adjacent and upstream properties. Originally built between the late 1600’s and mid 1800’s, the five historic levees, Red Lion Creek, Army Creek, Gambacorta Marsh, Broad Marsh, and Buttonwood Dikes, have been periodically reinforced and repaired, but years of neglect coupled with impacts from coastal storms and hurricanes, including Sandy, have resulted in severe erosion and overtopping of the levees, leading to breaches and the near failure of some structures.