Get Ready: Region’s Sea Level Rise Highest on East Coast

A trio of new reports set out the challenge posed in the Chesapeake Bay region by sea level rise and the policy options for addressing it, focusing on the Eastern Shore of Maryland. The underlying challenge: “Due to the combination of land subsidence and sea level rise … tide gauges across the Chesapeake and mid-Atlantic indicate relative water level rise … [as] the highest of the entire Atlantic seaboard and among the highest worldwide.”

An overview publication — “Mainstreaming Sea Level Rise Preparedness in Local Planning and Policy on Maryland’s Eastern Shore” — was prepared by the Eastern Shore Land Conservancy. This focuses on sea level rise scenarios for 2050 and 2100, noting that while these scenarios “seem far off, the buildings where residents will live and work in those future years are being built today.” The report is geared toward local decision makers and residents to help communities develop policies and practices for reducing risk. Key messages include: “the window of opportunity to make policy adjustments is still open in most of the region, but is closing fast.”

Two additional reports focus on model language for floodplain, zoning, and regulatory standards and on best practices for capital improvement planning. The reports are written for the Eastern Shore Climate Adaptation Partnership, a work group of local, state, academic and nonprofit staff helping communities address climate risks. See all three here.

Eastern Shore Land Conservancy is a member of the Chesapeake Conservation Partnership. Weighing how a changing climate will influence the Chesapeake region and landscape conservation efforts is one priority of the Partnership.