delware environmental institute

A flood of innovation: UD and the state work together to mitigate coastal flooding in Delaware

A flood of innovation: UD and the state work together to mitigate coastal flooding in Delaware

Living along the southern coast of Delaware definitely has its perks. Fishing, beaches and cool bay breezes can make for an idyllic way of life. But members of the Kent County community can tell you that living by the water is not always a carefree existence.

On Mother’s Day in 2008, the Delaware Bay coast of Kent County suffered a serious coastal flooding event. One person died and at least 150 residents were evacuated from their homes. Monetary estimates of the damage ranged from $1–2 million. Not only were community members unprepared for the event, but emergency management officials had no accurate gauge as to how serious the flooding would be, and thus their response was delayed.

The aftereffects of the Mother’s Day flood left citizens and emergency management officials alike wondering if there was a better way to plan for these types of events.  Two state agencies, the Delaware Emergency Management Agency (DEMA) and the Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control (DNREC), collaborated with the University of Delaware and the Delaware Geological Survey (DGS) and found an answer in the Delaware Environmental Observing System (DEOS).