The Nature Conservancy Maryland/DC Chapter and the Maryland Department of Natural Resources (DNR) recently partnered to assess Maryland’s coastal resilience. Counties can use the DNR Coastal Resiliency Assessment tool and accompanying Maryland Coastal Atlas data to help plan shoreline development, preservation, and protection. The Conservancy is offering a free and short interactive webinar on how you can use the Assessment tool on September 9 from 11:00 AM – 11:15 AM. Click here to RSVP for the webinar.
Further background on the Coastal Resiliency Assessment and Coastal Atlas was provided in a Nature Conservancy press release (2016-06-06):
“Our coastal areas host very dynamic and ever-changing landscapes that require innovative tools, technologies and services to address weather-related challenges, such as sea-level rise,” Chesapeake and Coastal Service Director Matthew Fleming said. “The new assessment was developed by us for use by practitioners at the state and local level. It identifies areas most at risk and provides essential data on how best to enhance and improve resiliency.”
Some of the study’s key findings include:
- Coastal habitats can reduce flooding and erosion impacts, with forests and wetlands playing the greatest roles. These areas significantly protect 22 percent of Maryland’s shoreline.
- Marshes play a particularly important role in risk-reduction along the Tangier Sound in Somerset County, and the Assawoman Bay and Isle of Wight Bay shorelines in Worcester County.
- The majority of high risk exposure occurs along the Lower Eastern Shore (Dorchester, Somerset, and Worcester counties).
- Shoreline hardening, transportation infrastructure, and development prevents habitat from playing a role in protection, most notably on the Western Shore. Hybrid approaches, such as living shorelines that incorporate structural components, may be more appropriate in these areas.
The department is integrating the results of the Coastal Resiliency Assessment into existing discussions, programs and strategies, and will incorporate the data into land acquisition, easement and restoration decision-making. State and local planners can apply the assessment using Maryland’s Coastal Atlas – a platform of ocean, estuary and shoreline spatial data – to identify areas of attention and focus.
The statewide assessment was conducted in partnership with The Nature Conservancy in Maryland/DC, in collaboration with the Natural Capital Project, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, and additional federal, state and local partners.