Chesapeake & Coastal Service’s Response to Sea Level Rise and Coastal Resiliency

Alexandra DeWeese


Through a variety of efforts at the state and local level, the Critical Area Commission for the Chesapeake and Atlantic Coastal Bays is working to enhance coastal resilience in the face of climate change and its impacts. The Commission regulates land within 1,000 feet of tidal waters, and thus many of the most at-risk areas in the state of Maryland when it comes to climate change. When state development projects are proposed within the Critical Area, Commission staff collaborate with other Maryland state agencies to address coastal vulnerabilities now and into the future. This presentation will provide a brief overview of the history and function of the Critical Area Commission, and review coastal resilience standards required of state agencies proposing projects within it's jurisdiction and discuss examples.

Maryland’s Resiliency Initiative: From mapping to implementation of nature-based solutions

Nicole Carlozo


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.

Presenters: Nicole Carlozo & Alexandra DeWeese

Critical Area Commission for the Chesapeake & Atlantic Coastal Bays

Nicole is a Natural Resource Resiliency Planner at the Maryland Department of Natural Resources where she manages the state's new Resiliency through Restoration Initiative. Nicole is responsible for integrating climate data and other technical and spatial information into coastal restoration, conservation, and waterfront enhancement activities. Nicole earned a Masters Degree in Coastal Environmental Management and a Certificate of Geospatial Analysis from Duke University, and a B.A. in Biology & English from St. Mary's College of Maryland.

Alexandra DeWeese is a Natural Resources Planner for the Critical Area Commission for the Chesapeake and Atlantic Coastal Bays. She is the primary planner for coastal resilience efforts within the Critical Area context, including coordinating and collaborating with local jurisdictions and state agencies. Alex earned her Bachelor of Science in Geology and Environmental Science from the College of William and Mary, and her Master of Science in Geography from the University of Delaware.