Maryland’s Resiliency Initiative: From mapping to implementation of nature-based solutions
Natural features can enhance the ability of communities to prepare for and respond to climate impacts such as sea level rise, storm surge, erosion, and precipitation-induced flooding. Recognizing the risk-reduction benefits of natural features, the Maryland Department of Natural Resources (DNR) partnered with The Nature Conservancy to evaluate how the state’s existing coastal forests, marshes, dunes, underwater grasses, and oyster reefs work together to buffer communities. By working with federal, state and non-profit partners, a Coastal Resiliency Assessment was completed to evaluate coastal exposure to erosion and inundation, and assess how habitats can reduce relative exposure along Bay and Ocean shorelines. This modeling effort led to the identification of priority shoreline and marsh areas where conservation and restoration activities will enhance community resiliency. Data products are publically available on the state’s online coastal data viewing platform, the Coastal Atlas, and have been integrated into state and local conservation, restoration, and hazard mitigation planning. Additionally, targeted shoreline data directly led to the creation of Maryland’s new Coastal Resiliency Grant Program. This novel and completely state-funded program provides local governments and non-profits with support for design, construction and adaptive management of natural and nature-based resiliency projects. Year 1 pilot projects will restore, enhance or create coastal habitat with the goal of protecting Maryland's coastal communities and public resources from climate-related events. DNR is expanding the program to also address flooding in noncoastal areas of the state. This presentation will highlight the use of spatial data and online tools in decision-making and on-the-ground restoration.