DNR Fact Sheet Highlights Technical, Financial Aid Available to Meet New Local Coast Smart Requirements

The Maryland Department of Natural Resources recently released a helpful fact sheet that highlights new county building requirements for constructing structures in areas subject to sea level rise or coastal flooding and development of a plan to address nuisance flooding. The fact sheet also identifies available technical and financial assistance to help meet these new requirements.

As previously reported on Conduit Street, the Maryland General Assembly passed legislation in 2018 (HB 1350/SB 1006) that: (1) starting on July 1, 2019, applied the Coast Smart criteria to structures that are part of a local government building or reconstruction project where the project costs $500,000 or more and at least 50 percent of the project is paid for by state funds; (2) required a local jurisdiction subject to nuisance flooding to develop a plan to address flood impacts by July 1, 2019, and submit the plan to the Maryland Department of Planning (MDP) for publication; and (3) required certain State agencies to develop and update a saltwater intrusion plan. The legislation passed with MACo amendments adding the $500,000/50 percent local thresholds to the Coast Smart criteria and removing a requirement that MDP approve the local nuisance flooding plans.

The fact sheet lists some of the resources available to local governments to help meet the bill’s requirements:

The Maryland Department of Natural Resources’ Chesapeake and Coastal Service has resources available to assist communities to address the short and long term impacts to nuisance flooding, storm surge and sea level change, which affect property, infrastructure, natural resources and local economies. Through technical and financial assistance, tools and training opportunities, the Department works with local communities to take action to reduce the risk to life, property and natural resources. Assistance and resources can be accessed at dnr.maryland.gov/ccs and include:

  • Grants to understand, plan for and implement measures to reduce flood risk
  • Maps, tools and resources to determine vulnerability; and
  • Planning frameworks to address flooding now and into the future.

The Maryland Emergency Management Agency administers several Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) programs in the State, including the Hazard Mitigation Grant Program, Pre-Disaster Mitigation Grant Program, and Flood Mitigation Assistance Grants. MEMA offers an application guidance package for potential applicants, which can be access at mema.maryland.gov/community. This guidance can be used to integrate climate change into local hazard mitigation plans.

In 2017 the Maryland Department of Planning conducted an analysis of adaptation planning within county comprehensive plans. MDP can provide jurisdictions with the results of this analysis, including examples of plan language (recommendations, background, etc.) that addresses a variety of hazards expected to worsen due to climate change.

For further information about resources and funding opportunities available to help comply with the legislation’s requirements, contact Catherine McCall (catherine.mccall@maryland.gov) or Kimberly Hernandez (kimberly.hernandez@maryland.gov).

Useful Links

HB 1350 / SB 1006 of 2018

MACo End of Session Wrap-Up of HB 1350/SB 1006