White House Officials Visit Wetlands Project in City of Wilmington

Posted on  11/11/2013 4:11 pm

Photo of the Wetlands Project Press Conference

On Thursday, the Chair of the White House Council on Environmental Quality, Nancy Sutley, and David Agnew, Deputy Assistant to the President and Director of Intergovernmental Affairs, visited the City of Wilmington to closely view the wetlands restoration and mitigation project site that will restore 22-acres of wetlands in the Southbridge neighborhood of South Wilmington.

Mayor Dennis P. Williams joined Governor Jack A. Markell, Delaware Natural Resources and Environmental Control Secretary Collin O’Mara, and local legislator, Hanifa Shabazz, of Wilmington City Council to discuss how the project looks to reduce flooding in one of Wilmington’s most economically-challenged communities.

“Protecting our residents and businesses from flooding is the top priority,” said Mayor Williams. “The South Wilmington wetlands project focuses on the City’s most vulnerable area, and stands as an example of how successful we can be when the State and City government partner to tackle important issues.”

For years, the Southbridge community in the City of Wilmington experience chronic flood issues including poor drainage, undersized or broken infrastructure and tidal effects.

“In Southbridge, we have seen record flooding that has forced evacuations and temporary closure of some businesses. While there have been flooding challenges in Southbridge for many years, more frequent storms and heavier precipitation are making things worse,” said Governor Markell. “We are focused on taking strategic actions that will help transition Delaware from a position of vulnerability to one of preparedness and resilience.”

To address the flooding, the City will clean out, inspect and maintain inlets; clean and inspect pipes; repair tide gates; and clean and restore east drainage swale. In addition to making improvements to the existing structure, the City of Wilmington partnered with the State of Delaware to design and build the wetlands park project.

“The President believes we have a moral obligation to leave this planet better than we found it. Across America, states, cities and communities are innovating and making the changes they need to deal with the effects of extreme weather and other climate impacts,” said Agnew. “Intergovernmental cooperation is key to help ensure the federal government is doing all we can to support these efforts.”

The wetlands project in the Southbridge community will improve flood control, produce clean water and offer shoreline and storm protection.

“Climate change is changing the frequency and intensity of flooding, wildfires, storms, and heat waves and threatening our health. This project is critical to protecting this community from future floods,” said Sutley. “It’s fitting to be here in Delaware because of the leadership of the Governor, the Natural Resources Secretary and the Mayor to take action to protect communities from potentially destructive climate impacts. We can count on Delaware for innovative ideas.”