Delray Beach's coastal neighborhoods and vibrant downtown economy are key assets, and features that will be increasingly challenged as the community confronts the various impacts of climate change. Managing, mitigating, and preparing for the interrelated hydrological issues caused by sea level rise, intense rain events, tropical storms, coastal and inland flooding, storm surge and saltwater intrusion are critical to maintaining the quality of life that undergrids Delray Beach's success.
In 2014, the City Commission tasked the Rising Water Task Force, a citizen-lead group of local environmental experts and concerned residents to assess the City's challenges with respect to hydrological climate change impacts and make recommendations to advance resilience. The Task Force's report, published in April of 2017 was presented to City Commission in June of 2017.
Several of the report's recommendations have since been advanced. In 2019 the City's Public Works Department completed a comprehensive update to its Stormwater Master Plan, identifying drainage basins that will be impacted by intermittent flooding and capital improvement projects needed over the long term horizon to address flooding issues. The Public Works Department also completed a Seawall Vulnerability Assessment that identified the height and condition of both public and privately-owned seawalls within the city boundaries.
The Sustainability Office is also engaged with the newly established southeast Palm Beach County Coastal Resilience Partnership (CRP), a collaboration among 9 coastal jurisdictions interested in collectively developing a community vulnerability assessment. The CRP's initial work has been funded with a small Florida Department of Environmental Protection grant, and the community vulnerability assessment should be underway in late 2019.
Delray Beach is actively engaged in climate mitigation and adaptation discussions with partners statewide and nationally. The City is an active member Resiliency Florida and the Washington-based American Flood Coalition.
For more information on climate resilience projects visit Resilient Delray.