More attention is brought to flood prevention in Northeast Wilmington

Your browser doesn’t support HTML5 audio

Quinn Kirkpatrick

Northeast Rising hosts the first of several community information sessions focusing on flood prevention in Northeast Wilmington.

Over 2 years after Hurricane Ida, some Northeast Wilmington residents are still struggling to recover from flooding caused by the storm.

UD’s Water Resources Center director Dr. Jerry Kauffman says he and Green Building United are focusing on the creek bank and park by the 11th Street Bridge.

“Ida was a once every two century flood, a catastrophic flood. Accelerated by the climate emergency, frankly. And this is a once in a generation opportunity to resolve the problem,” he said.

Kauffman says raising the park above the 10 foot elevation of the water during Ida to 16 feet would prevent future flooding. The plan is to create a living shoreline, using natural materials such as plants and rocks.

They’ll also be using rewilding to help naturally mitigate flooding.

Native plants will be planted along the river and in the community to reduce soil erosion, restore natural ecological functions, and create physical barriers.

Kauffman adds there have been many studies, plans, and empty promises over the past decade regarding flooding prevention in the area.

“They’ve heard a lot over the past 5-10 years. But really little has been done. So there’s frustration, that’s what I’ve been hearing. My area is hydraulics, and I know how to fix a flooding problem, but I really want to hear from residents, starting tonight and in future meetings, what they want. Because they know the river better than anyone.”

Northeast Rising’s community sessions intend to collect feedback on what residents want in the new park- and keep them up to date on other flood mitigation projects across the city.

“We are trying to at least help people stay informed so that if the city does indeed want their input, they are able to give it. And that they have every access to being able to do that,” said Northeast Rising and Green Building United’s Karen Igou.

Thursday’s session was the first of several to help finalize the 11th Street plan around the community’s wishes, and updated residents on the Brandywine dam removal project recently paused by Wilmington City Council.
“We know now from the studies being done on the Brandywine River over the past few years that one of the things you can do to make it less likely to flood is to remove dams that are not serving any purpose. And we know that the dams hurt the wildlife in the river, and don’t keep the river healthy,” explained Igou. “So we want to make sure people have access to that information as well so if they’d like to share their voice with City Council they can do that.”

Council’s dam removal resolution will return to thePublic Works & Transportation committee on January 17th for further consideration.

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • LinkedIn
  • Email
Quinn Kirkpatrick was born and raised in Wilmington, Delaware, and graduated from the University of Delaware. She joined Delaware Public Media in June 2021.