A new report outlines the threats posed by sea level rise to buildings in Maryland Eastern Shore counties and
the need for mainstreaming preparedness efforts. (Image: Eastern Shore Land Conservancy)

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  artnership, 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.


Lightning Update is a regular communication of the Chesapeake Conservation Partnership. Any opinions expressed are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect positions of the Partnership or member organizations.
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Support for the Chesapeake Conservation Partnership is provided by:
National Park Service Chesapeake
EPA Chesapeake Bay Program
USDA Forest Service
Pennsylvania Department of Conservation & Natural Resources
Maryland Department of Natural Resources
Virginia Outdoors Foundation
US Fish & Wildlife Service
Chesapeake Conservancy

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