Economic Analysis of Delaware Bay Shore Adaptation Alternatives

Location: Delaware

Michael Baker International supported the Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control to evaluate coastal hazard adaptation alternatives for seven communities along the Delaware Bay shoreline. These developed communities, along with adjoining salt and freshwater marsh areas, are under continuous threat from hazards such as sea level rise, flooding, and coastal erosion. The firm modeled coastal flood and erosion hazards, assisted in the construction of a comprehensive property inventory, evaluated flood damage, erosion loss, and tax revenue impacts, completed structure valuations, and performed benefit-cost analyses for various adaptation alternatives. Michael Baker International’s mobile LiDAR technology was used to collect roadway centerlines, digital images, and first floor elevation data for over 1,600 structures throughout the communities studied. The technical analyses and comprehensive planning approach used in this study provided the State of Delaware with information needed to develop an effective strategy that advances public understanding of populations and property at risk to coastal hazards while improving the resiliency of at-risk communities. Key decision-makers are being provided a thorough evaluation of the costs and benefits associated with proposed mitigation actions. Results from this project are being used to develop a data-driven strategy which reduces community vulnerability and minimizes future economic and natural resource impacts as a result of coastal hazards along the Delaware Bay.

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