Coastal community research proposals sought

10:25 a.m., May 16, 2007--UD's Coastal Community Enhancement Initiative (CCEI) seeks proposals for fiscal year 2007-2008. The program is coordinated by a steering committee with members from three colleges--the College of Marine and Earth Studies (Delaware Sea Grant Program), the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources (Cooperative Extension, and the College of Human Services, Education, and Public Policy (Institute for Public Administration).

CCEI proposes to address issues related to growth, land use and environmental impacts in Southern Delaware. Between 1990 and 2000, the population of Sussex County increased by 38 percent to almost 157,000 residents. The extreme growth during the 10-year period has occurred chiefly in the areas fronting the Atlantic Ocean and around Delaware's Inland Bays. The Delaware Population Consortium estimates that the county could see a 62 percent growth rate by 2030 to almost 255,000 people. A key component of this initiative is to fund applied research projects that will assist county and local decision-makers make more-informed decisions that will affect the future of Sussex County.

Proposal submissions should be two to three pages in length (plus budget) and address one of the themes identified below. The proposal should include a strategy for disseminating the results to target audiences. Funding will range from $25,000-$45,000 per proposal. Support for students is encouraged.

CCEI plans to fund two to four proposals. Notification of awards will be made on, or before, July 1. The applied work should be completed by June 30, 2008. All funds must be spent by June 30, 2008. A final report is required by Aug. 15, 2008. The deadline for receipt of proposals is June 8. (Electronic submission is preferred.)

Proposal submissions should address one of these themes:

  • Economic valuation studies--Applied research that focuses on the intrinsic value of open space including farm and forest. Research should attempt to provide mechanisms for use by decision-makers to evaluate future costs of the conversion of these areas;
  • Disaster-resilient communities--Applied research that examines Delaware's coastal communities and addresses issues related to natural hazards and disasters. Research may have a strong social science component and focus on communities' needs after a disaster occurs, or help to provide an understanding of the level of disaster preparedness that residents now have;
  • Growth trends in Sussex County--An important component to understand the future of Sussex County is being able to forecast growth trends based on previous growth patterns, as well as having an understanding of other factors that have an impact on how areas grow. This information can have a major impact in helping county decision-makers make informed decisions on the county's future;
  • Infrastructure needs in Sussex County--As growth and development continues in Sussex County, there is a need to review the infrastructure needs (e.g., waters, sewer, roads, utilities) to support this growth. In addition providing an estimate of the costs associated with infrastructure is also critical; or
  • Impact of development on environmental, cultural and historical resources--Future development in the county can pose serious threats to natural systems (habitat, water, living resources, etc.) and the historical and cultural amenities that make the county unique. It's vital to understand the extent of these impacts and attempt to minimize them if possible. One example is the addition of impervious surface in a watershed and the drastic affects it can have on the water quality of bays, streams and rivers.

For more information about this initiative or about preparing proposals, contact one of the steering committee members listed below:

Bernard Dworsky, policy scientist in the Institute for Public Administration, College of Human Services, Education, and Public Policy, at 831-8710 or [].

James Falk, director, College of Marine and Earth Studies (Delaware Sea Grant Program), at 645-4235 or [].

William McGowan, extension agent, College of Agriculture and Natural Resources (Cooperative Extension), at 856-2585 or [].