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Grant to help Slaughter Beach build resiliency against storms

DNREC has awarded the town of Slaughter Beach $75,000 for coastal resiliency projects.

Like other Delaware Bayshore communities, Slaughter Beach residents are highly vulnerable to coastal storms and flooding.

The grant, provided by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, stems from DNREC’s new Resilient Community Partnership program to help protect the First State’s coastal communities.

This month, local officials and residents of Slaughter Beach began working on a series of coastal resiliency projects.

Harry Ward, mayor of Slaughter Beach, says he and his neighbors are worried about how flooded some of their roads get during storms.

“So it’s not just that we’re concerned about property, but we’re also very concerned about safety while a storm is happening,” said Ward

DNREC officials could not gain access to the bayshore communities immediately after the nor’easter in January.

A vulnerability assessment to examine roads, bridges and other susceptible infrastructure in Slaughter Beach began over the last couple weeks. The overall work will be finished between a year and 18 months from now.

DNREC coastal programs administrator Sarah Cooksey says Slaughter Beach stood out among the proposals her division received.

“You could tell they knew what they were talking about," said Cooksey. "They knew what exposure their town had to coastal storms and flooding. And they actually were also concerned about what would happen if the marsh behind the town went away.”

The salt marshes along Delaware Bay were critical in absorbing the storm surge that hit the town during the January nor’easter.

Cooksey adds that the town of New Castle came in a close second. And her division wants to make plans to help residents there as well. A total of four coastal towns applied for these resiliency grants. 

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