delware environmental institute

News Journal: As state officials debate how to deal with the future of non-resort beach communities, residents utilize different strategies on holding back the sea

News Journal: As state officials debate how to deal with the future of non-resort beach communities, residents utilize different strategies on holding back the sea

The view through Michael Gagliardo’s floor-to-ceiling glass doors is spectacular: Delaware Bay as far as the eye can see, with cargo ships and enormous flocks of migratory birds floating through the scene. Bayshore residents cherish their quiet lifestyles far from the crowded boardwalks that dominate commercial beaches along the East Coast. And property taxes are low – especially when compared with resorts along the Jersey Shore, Long Island or Cape Cod. Annual property tax on a 6,653 square-foot home here, for example, is $3,445.

If rising seas were not inching toward their doorsteps, it would be almost perfect.

But bayshore residents often face frightening tidal surges that push past protective dunes and into their homes, knocking some structures off pilings, turning refrigerators and other items into floating projectiles and flooding access roads into housing developments.

In a region where scientists say the ocean is rising at twice the rate as other places on the planet, the most pressing question for most homeowners here is how much money should be spent to hold back the sea.