2015 Reporter

Annual report highlights Sea Grant efforts for Delawareans

According to the National Ocean Service, coastal resilience means “building the ability of a community to ‘bounce back’ after hazardous events rather than simply reacting to impacts.”

Since 1976, Delaware Sea Grant (DESG) has leveraged its education and research focus to support communities in reducing the environmental and societal risks from natural hazards, water quality challenges, severe weather, energy challenges and the effects of climate change. 

DESG work also supports efforts to protect environmental coastal areas while ensuring responsible economic development.

DESG is a federal, state and university partnership focused on coastal issues that receives funding from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), the state of Delaware and the University of Delaware. 

Housed in University’s College of Earth, Ocean, and Environment, the program receives about $2.4 million in federal and state support annually for a variety of research and education efforts, according to DESG acting director Jim Falk.

The program’s 2015 annual report — Reporter — highlights Delaware Sea Grant work in four key focus areas: resilient communities and economies; healthy coastal ecosystems; sustainable fisheries and aquaculture; and environmental literacy and workforce development. 

While only one of these focus areas highlights resilience, elements of resilience and climate change adaptation are woven throughout all DESG efforts. 

In 2014, DESG co-funded a study with the Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control to assess Delawareans’ general knowledge of climate change and sea level rise and support for action. 

In the survey, 79 percent of respondents said they are convinced that climate change is happening, up from 70 percent in a similar 2009 survey. Seventy percent said they believe that sea level rise is a reality, compared to 63 percent in 2009. 

Additional surveys by DESG-funded researchers are currently underway to measure social dimensions for renewable energy and climate science.

This year’s Reporter focuses on research and outreach efforts that have a real impact on the lives of Delawareans. It features work aimed at helping towns avoid and minimize flood risks due to sea level rise and coastal storms; leading-edge science that is providing solutions for sustainable coastal development; and outreach programs that enhance the safety, resilience and economic viability of coastal communities.

Published annually, Reporter encourages readers to become informed, get involved and stay connected through various Sea Grant programs. Reporter readers who complete the readership survey by Dec. 31 will be entered in a drawing for Delaware Sea Grant’s coast-inspired prize package.

Published on UDaily June 22, 2015

Page Updated on June 24, 2015