New website provides Seaford-area residents information on proposed flood risk mapping revisions

Seaford-area residents are asked to review and comment on proposed floodplain mapping changes in the Clear Brook watershed by visiting a new website managed by the Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control. The proposed floodplain map changes for Clear Brook are being made because a recent evaluation found the Hearns Pond area floodplain is receding and areas downstream are slightly expanding.

The new wesbsite includes a helpful video that provides important information for residents about how the proposed changes may affect their properties and flood insurance rates. Visitors to the website can also record their comments on the proposed revisions. Any comments must be received by May 31.

“DNREC and its consultant performed updated watershed modeling, which included recent improvements to the Hearns Pond Dam to produce more detailed and accurate flood risk assessments and maps for the Clear Brook watershed,” said Michael Powell, administrator for the DNREC Division of Watershed Stewardship. “This improved study and map will ultimately be adopted by the Federal Emergency Management Agency to produce updated federal floodplain maps for the watershed.”

DNREC partners with FEMA to improve the accuracy of flood risk maps statewide. Delaware’s current flood risk maps are used by FEMA to set flood insurance rates and enforce local floodplain codes. FEMA’s National Flood Insurance Program makes flood insurance available to property owners. Mortgage lenders require borrowers whose properties are located in a designated flood hazard area to buy flood insurance as a condition of receiving a federally-backed mortgage loan.

Standard homeowners insurance does not cover damage caused by flooding, but all property owners and renters can buy flood insurance. Homeowners interested in how the proposed changes could impact the cost of their flood insurance premium should contact their insurance agent.

For information on flood risk maps, contact Gina Tonn or Michael Powell, with the DNREC Division of Watershed Stewardship, at 302-739-9921. The Division has also posted more information about the flood mitigation program on the Department’s website.

About DNREC

The Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control protects and manages the state’s natural resources, protects public health, provides outdoor recreational opportunities and educates Delawareans about the environment. For more information, visit the website and connect with DNREC on Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn.

Media Contact: Michael Globetti, michael.globetti@delaware.gov

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Funding available to communities to plan for coastal flooding and climate change impacts

DOVER – DNREC’s Division of Climate, Coastal, & Energy is soliciting letters of interest from municipal, county, or state government entities to enter into projects that will support local resilience planning and adaptation activities in Delaware.

The Resilient Community Partnership program provides technical assistance and potential funding to plan for and reduce the impacts of coastal hazards related to flooding from sea level rise, coastal storms, and climate change through development of planning strategies at the local level. Coastal resilience means strengthening the ability of a community to “bounce back” after hazardous events such as hurricanes, coastal storms, and flooding – rather than simply reacting to impacts.

Examples of eligible projects include, but are not limited to:

  • Assessments of vulnerability to flooding due to sea level rise, coastal storms, and nuisance flooding (sunny day flooding).
  • Assessments of local land use ordinances, zoning codes and building codes for the purpose of identifying barriers and opportunities, and recommending improvements.
  • Adaptation plans that outline short and long-term actions that can be taken to reduce vulnerability and increase preparedness, including updating comprehensive land-use plans. Such plans can be drafted for a specific community, town, or region or for a specific type of resource or infrastructure.
  • Design of on-the-ground adaptation projects.
  • Improving communication of risk and adaptation options to affected populations from flooding due to sea level rise, coastal storms, and nuisance flooding

Limited funding is available for activities that require advanced technical assistance and are required to support the project objectives. DNREC’s Delaware Coastal Programs section, which oversees the program, will work with awardees to determine the technical needs of the proposed project and, as appropriate, retain subject matter experts or contractors to meet project requirements and deadlines.

Letters of interest from municipal, county or state government entities are due April 13. Selected partnerships will be announced April 27.

Complete guidelines for submitting a proposal and examples of past projects – including partnerships with the City of New Castle and Town of Slaughter Beach related to building resilience to flooding – are available at http://de.gov/resilientcommunity.

For more information about the program, contact Kelly Valencik at 302-739-6377 or Kelly.valencik@delaware.gov.

Media Contact: Joanna Wilson, DNREC Public Affairs, 302-739-9902


DNREC to hold public sessions March 3, 4, and 5 seeking input on development of Delaware’s climate action plan

DOVER – DNREC’s Division of Climate, Coastal, & Energy will hold three public input sessions the first week of March seeking input on development of the state’s climate action plan.

The public input sessions will be held in each of the three counties from 4:30 – 7:30 p.m. each evening:

  • Tuesday, March 3, CHEER Community Center, 20520 Sand Hill Road, Georgetown, DE 19947;
  • Wednesday, March 4, Wilmington Public Library, 10 East 10th Street, Wilmington, DE 19801;
  • Thursday, March 5, Delaware Technical Community College, Terry Campus, 100 Campus Drive, Dover, DE 19904.

Delaware has committed to reducing the state’s greenhouse gas emissions 26 to 28 percent from 2005 levels by 2025. The climate plan will serve as a roadmap toward achieving that goal, outlining specific actions to meet the 2025 commitment, and identifying strategies to further reduce emissions in the years beyond. The plan will also examine what’s being done in Delaware to reduce the impacts of climate change that the state already is experiencing, such as sea level rise and increased flooding in some areas, and will identify strategies to help mitigate those impacts on Delaware communities.

The workshops will provide an opportunity for Delawareans to learn more about how to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and better prepare the state for climate impacts. Workshop attendees will also have a chance to provide their thoughts on choices the state can make to more effectively take action on climate change.

Media Contact: Joanna Wilson, DNREC Public Affairs, 302-739-9902


Sussex Conservation District offers free workshop on stormwater pond maintenance Dec. 5 in Lewes

GEORGETOWN – Sussex County property owners who want to learn more about stormwater pond maintenance are invited to attend free workshops being offered Thursday, Dec. 5, by the Sussex Conservation District at the DNREC Lewes Conference Room located at 901 Pilottown Road, Lewes, DE 19958. The morning workshop will begin with registration at 8:30 a.m. and run until noon. An afternoon workshop will begin with registration at 1:30 p.m. and run until 5 p.m.

Stormwater ponds collect surface runoff to manage and help prevent downstream flooding, remove pollutants, and settle suspended sediments transported by stormwater. These ponds can add to the aesthetics of a community, and homeowners often pay a premium to be close to these waterfront sites.

The task of maintaining stormwater ponds falls on the property owner. In many cases, the owner is a homeowners’ association or maintenance corporation, whose responsibilities also include open space management. Some associations seek professional support, while others choose to manage them on their own. Other property owners may not even be aware that the ponds require ongoing and sometimes extensive maintenance.

The workshop will provide general information on why stormwater pond management is needed and how to ensure a pond’s proper function for years to come. Many homeowners do not reach out for technical assistance until there is a problem.

Seating is limited and pre-registration is encouraged. To register for a workshop or for more information, please contact the Sussex Conservation District at 302-856-2105, or register online at www.sussexconservation.org.

For more information about Delaware’s Sediment and Stormwater Program, which operates within DNREC’s Division of Watershed Stewardship’s Conservation Program Section, visit DNREC Sediment and Stormwater.

Contact: Jessica Watson, Sussex Conservation District, 302-856-2105, or Joanna Wilson, DNREC Public Affairs, 302-739-9902.


Preliminary Flood Insurance Rate Maps appeal period starts Dec. 14 for portions of New Castle County

DOVER – The DNREC Division of Watershed Stewardship’s Flood Management Program reminds residents of New Castle County that preliminary Flood Insurance Rate Maps (FIRMs) for portions of New Castle County released in December 2016 and revised in May 2018 by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) will begin a 90-day regulatory appeal period Friday, Dec. 14 through Wednesday, March 13, 2019.

To see if your property is located in one of the areas with preliminary FIRMs, please review DNREC’s website at www.de.gov/floodplanning. Anyone who believes that the preliminary maps may contain errors can submit an appeal to their community floodplain administrator. The floodplain administrator will review and consolidate all appeals before forwarding them to FEMA. Once FEMA has reviewed appeals and made a determination on their validity, the agency will issue a Letter of Final Determination to community representatives, and the floodplain administrator. The preliminary maps will become effective six months after the Letter of Final Determination.

FEMA’s National Flood Insurance Program makes flood insurance available to local property owners. Mortgage lenders require borrowers whose properties are located in a designated special flood hazard area to purchase flood insurance as a condition of receiving a federally backed mortgage loan in accordance with the Federal Disaster Protection Act of 1973. FEMA’s flood risk maps are used by insurance companies to establish insurance rates and by local communities to enforce local floodplain codes.

For more information on the flood risk maps, please contact Michael Powell, Division of Watershed Stewardship, at 302-739-9921. For information on DNREC’s flood mitigation program, please visit DNREC’s website at http://www.dnrec.delaware.gov/swc/Drainage/Pages/Flooding.aspx.

Contact: Joanna Wilson or Michael Globetti, DNREC Public Affairs, 302-739-9902.

Vol. 48, No. 332