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Wilmington Resiliency Plan targets flooding issues

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Sophia Schmidt, Delaware Public Media
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Coastal states nationwide are scrambling to plan for the effects of sea level rise, and Delaware is the lowest lying of them all. But the City of WIlmington has additional challenges on top of that.

Gov. John Carney and DNREC’s climate action plan released last fall encompasses the entire state, but Alison Quimby, Resiliency Plan Manager in Wilmington’s public works department, says it is unique, and needs its own plan to address things like tidal flooding.

“Something you may not think about when you think about Wilmington, but we’re really actually a river city," Quimby said. "And it’s a beautiful, spectacular thing that you don[‘t always think about because you think the city and the big buildings, but we’re surrounded by the Brandywine, the Christina and the Delaware, those are all tidal influenced water bodies that really affect our constituents in a good and a bad way.”

Quimby adds the effects of Hurricane Ida last fall created a sense of urgency to better understand Wilmington’s unique vulnerabilities. It even prompted a partnership with the Delaware Emergency Management Agency to study them.

“We’re really trying to go as scientifically based as possible so that we’re not guessing," Quimby said. "So that when the next storm comes, our residents will be able to know where to go and what to do.”

Now, all they need is the funding to start putting projects in the plan to the test.

A new website page helps put plan information in perspective for residents, helping them better understand resiliency, and how they can adapt.

That includes getting flood insurance, even if they are not in the floodplain, because more than 40% of recent flood insurance claims are from properties outside of the designated floodplain.

More information is under the public works department at wilmingtonde.gov.

Rachel Sawicki is Delaware Public Media's New Castle County Reporter. They are non-binary and use they/them pronouns.