Adapting to Climate Change

Climate change affects the people and places we care about. Adaptation is a way to protect ourselves from the threats of climate change, including shifts in temperature, precipitation, and sea level rise.

Public Health

Climate change is complicating the challenges we already face in protecting our public health.

  • Increased heat raises the chance of heat stroke, stressors related to heart attack, and heat-related illness
  • Poor air quality can be worsened by changing climate conditions, increasing rates of asthma and pulmonary disease
  • Diseases carried by ticks and mosquitoes, like Lyme’s disease and West Nile virus could become more prevalent, as warm, wet weather persists longer into the late autumn and winter

The DNREC Division of Climate, Coastal and Energy collaborated with the Delaware Academy of Medicine and Delaware Public Health Association for an issue of the Delaware Journal of Public Health focused on climate and health.

Crossing Disciplines

At the Climate + Health Conference, medical professionals, environmental practitioners, and critical services providers explored threats to public health exacerbated by climate change. Read the summary report or visit for presentations and information.

Employee and Worker Safety

The Climate-Ready Workforce Pilot Project explores climate change-related health and safety risks to state employees who work outdoors or in work environments that are vulnerable to extreme weather. The project focuses on direct and indirect impacts  of high heat days and other severe weather conditions.

Dover Library Green Roof
Dover Library Green Roof

Protecting Public Assets

The state of Delaware is actively addressing the challenges of climate change through a variety of climate adaptation projects and initiatives.  State facilities will be more resilient and cost-effective, providing long-term cost savings to the State and ensuring reliable, uninterrupted services for Delaware residents, visitors, and businesses.

Climate-Smart Facilities

The Climate Mitigation and Adaptation Planning Pilot Project takes a combined approach to climate mitigation and adaptation for state facilities. An energy audit and flood risk assessment was performed for the state facilities observed for this pilot project. Improving energy efficiency and mitigating risks from climate and weather-related impacts will improve the resiliency and cost-effectiveness of state facilities.

Nature-based Solutions

Plants and soils naturally filter air and water, prevent flooding and erosion, and provide other protection to buildings, communities, and environments. Green infrastructure projects, like the green roof pictured above, provide nature-based solutions to many development challenges.

School Bus on a Flooded RoadAvoiding Flood Risk and Damage

Sea levels have risen in Delaware by more than 12 inches over the last century – twice the global average. This means high tides and storm surges reach further inland, resulting in damaging flooding and beach erosion. A combination of expanding oceans, subsiding land, and increased rainfall are putting our buildings, roads, bridges and other structures (collectively known as “infrastructure”) at risk of flood damage in both coastal and inland areas. Building with future flood areas in mind will help keep Delawareans safe and prevent costly future repairs and relief.

For more resources on flood avoidance, visit

Guidance for State Agencies

Avoiding and Minimizing Risk of Flood Damage to State Assets: A Guide for Delaware State Agencies is a guide designed to help Delaware state agencies identify areas of high flood risk now and in the future.

Sea Level Rise Map

The state has developed a collection of map-based planning tools, including the Delaware Sea Level Rise Inundation Map federal flood-risk maps (FEMA), and a collection of geospatial data resources provided by Delaware FirstMap to help state and local planners explore the risks of flooding in different parts of the state.

Resources at a glance

Climate Ready Workforce Cover
Delaware Climate-Ready Workforce Pilot Project
CMAP Cover Page
Climate Mitigation and Adaptation Planning (CMAP)
2016 Climate Action Progress Report
Climate Action in Delaware: 2016 Progress Report
Avoiding And Minimizing Flood Risks
Avoiding and Minimizing Risk of Flood Damage to State Assets
Vulnerability Assessment Cover
Sea Level Rise Vulnerability Assessment
Climate Framework for Delaware
Climate Framework for Delaware
Green Infrastructure Primer
Green Infrastructure Primer
Climate Conference Report
Delaware Climate + Health Conference Summary Report