The Delaware Canal, a historically significant, defunct industrial canal system, ties together multiple jurisdictions having shared challenges with the 190-year-old, dilapidated infrastructure. Following three consecutive years of devastating flooding of the adjacent Delaware River, critical obstacles to repairing flood damage came into sharp relief—as did an opportunity to develop a resilient stormwater management infrastructure improvement, making use of the canal.
Delaware Canal 21, a regional non-profit organization with a mission to ensure an enduring solution to address flooding along the corridor and related challenges, turned to a team of consultants led by Econsult Solutions to evaluate the possible options for establishing a new, multi-jurisdictional entity tasked with advancing plans to restructure the canal infrastructure, enabling it to provide sustainable flood attenuation while enhancing a community asset that also benefits regional economic development. To build the case for public support, ESI conducted a series of analyses that illustrate the shared economic, environmental, and public safety benefits generated from the investment in this infrastructure improvement. The economic impacts of capital costs and maintenance were evaluated to demonstrate how those activities will generate local economic activity as well. The comparative analysis of management mechanisms presented in ESI’s report provided the client with a tool for determining the most feasible path forward.
The findings of this project are presented in a graphically rich format of the full study and the executive summary. Both formats are essential for public outreach and stakeholder engagement, paramount for gaining consensus in a multi-jurisdictional region.