Sustainable coastal communities: Preserving Delaware's coastal heritage through adaptive community development.

Developing active partnerships to help coastal communities prosper for generations to come

Delaware's coastal landscape and economy have changed over time, compelling coastal communities to adapt while preserving their maritime heritage. Delaware Sea Grant is partnering with individual communities, state agencies, and researchers to identify paths forward for these communities, develop new practices that marry tradition and change, and enable communities to thrive.

Working Waterfronts

Revitalizing Delaware's waterfront communities and their strong maritime traditions

Economic Development

Finding solutions to incentivize local business and tourism in Delaware's rural communities

Community Planning

Working with communities to develop economic and environmental visions for the future

Working Waterfronts

Delaware's waterfront communities have suffered economically as the fishing and seafood industries have declined from their historical highs. The Working Waterfronts Initiative, coordinated by the University of Delaware Sustainable Coastal Communities Initiative, is working to identify strategic initiatives around the new tourism and recreation economies within Delaware that can help revitalize waterfront communities while maintaining their maritime heritage.

Working waterfront by the docks.
Hats from the Leipsic Oyster Festival.

Leipsic Oyster Festival

In the coastal town of Leipsic, the Working Waterfronts Initiative helped the community coordinate the first-ever Leipsic Oyster Festival in 2017. Delaware Sea Grant's funding and expertise helped the community to develop a branded identity and execute a successful festival that brought more than 1,500 people into the town of 200.

Economic Development

Delaware Sea Grant and the University of Delaware's Sustainable Coastal Community Initiative are helping communities to identify and pursue sustainable economic opportunities that maintain the unique character of each town.

Reimagine Laurel

With funding and expertise from Delaware Sea Grant and the University of Delaware, the town of Laurel has launched the "Reimagine Laurel" campaign, established a Downtown Development District, and created the Laurel Ramble, a mixed-use redevelopment project around Broad Creek.

Banner along riverside in Laurel

Community Planning

Managing the growth of small communities is critical to protecting both community traditions and the environment as the population in Kent and Sussex Counties expands. Delaware Sea Grant and the University of Delaware's Sustainable Coastal Communities Initiative are working with communities to establish forward-looking development plans that can serve as blueprints for the future.

Greenwood millstone sign.

Bridgeville-Greenwood Master Plan

The towns of Bridgeville and Greenwood were challenged by an aging wastewater treatment plant and limits on agriculture pollution of the Nanticoke River. Collaborative efforts led to the development of a development plan for the two communities that identifies areas of potential growth that will not further impact water quality.