Research: Resilient Communities and Economies. Combining coastal science and community planning to adapt for the future.

Preparing Delaware communities and local businesses to bounce back from natural coastal hazards

Delaware's coastal economy contributes around $7 billion to the state annually. But coastal hazards such as hurricanes and severe storms, beach erosion, flooding, and sea level rise pose a threat to that economic contribution. Delaware Sea Grant is funding research that identifies critical areas for infrastructure development and community preparedness that will enable coastal communities and local businesses to be resilient in the face of destructive natural processes.


Current Projects

Dune grasses in floodwaters.

Implementing a Subgrid Scheme for Improving Marsh Inundation Estimates

Investigators: Drs. James Kirby and Fengyan Shi

Resource managers often rely on computer simulation models to predict the response of ecosystems such as marshes to changing conditions. These models are able to simulate the flow of water from Delaware Bay, through tributaries and creeks, and over the surface of coastal marshes. However, the models are complex and sometimes require days to run a full simulation.

A recently developed modeling method produces open water models that are more precise and require significantly less computing power. Drs. James Kirby and Fengyan Shi will apply this technique – known as subgridding because calculations are generated over smaller areas of coverage than in traditional models – to models of Delaware’s marshes with support from Delaware Sea Grant. The research will ultimately be used inform management decisions in Delaware’s coastal marshes.