Maryland's Coast-Smart Communities Initiative
The Coast-Smart Communities Initiative is charged with providing a toolbox of resources to help Maryland counties and towns develop climate-smart management policies and on-the-ground measures. The Initiative, housed under the Department of Natural Resources, developed a Community Scorecard, Coastal Communities Initiative competitive grant, Maryland’s Coastal Atlas, and a number of case studies to act as models for other local governments.
In 2009, Maryland launched the Coast-Smart Communities Initiative to provide a support center for local governments dealing with the impacts of climate change. The Coast-Smart program consists of a number of efforts to support the planning and implementation of adaptation policies. The program’s services aim to help facilitate the adaptation planning process from start to finish by providing Maryland’s local governments with necessary financial resources, technical support, data, and local case studies.
The following are the resources provided by the Coast-Smart Communities Initiative:
Coast-Smart Community Scorecard - The scorecard was developed to help local governments assess how well their community is prepared for the impacts of climate change. The Scorecard will act a template for local governments to conduct an assessment of their vulnerability and will also underline the necessity for diverse and unique solutions for every community. It will not advocate for a rigid course of action but a flexible set of strategies to integrate sea level rise and coastal storms into their planning and management.
Coastal Communities Initiative (CCI) grant program - To provide local governments with the financial resources to dedicate time and staff to developing adaptation strategies, Coast-Smart developed the CCI competitive grant program. All municipalities and counties in Maryland’s coastal zone are eligible for the annual request for proposals. Grant recipients are also eligible for technical support by the Coast-Smart Initiative's staff.
Maryland’s Coastal Atlas - The Coastal Atlas is part of Maryland’s iMap tools, which provide access to coastal data and mapping visualization tools to analyze data sets. The Atlas will include shoreline erosion data, storm surge inundation areas, and high risk sea level rise areas. The Atlas is still under construction.
Maryland County Case Studies - The Coast-Smart Initiative initially undertook three initial projects in Somerset, Worcester, and Dorchester counties, some of Maryland’s most at-risk coastline areas. The Coast-Smart program provided financial support through the CCI grant program as well as the needed technical support. Each county had a slightly different process and came up with different solutions but the documents produced act as guiding documents for other local governments.
Outcomes and Conclusions
Without national legislation on climate change mitigation or adaptation, many states and local jurisdictions have been grappling with how to plan and prepare for the impacts of climate change. The Coast-Smart Communities Initiative is one of the most innovative government programs dealing with climate change in the country. While the program only began in 2009, it has already provided extensive support to many of Maryland’s local governments thus increasing the states resiliency and preparedness. The Initiative coupled technical support, data, and case studies with the financial support necessary to help local governments dedicate the time and staff needed to make changes.
Project File (s)
Hitt, J. (2010). Maryland's Coast-Smart Communities Initiative [Case study on a project of Maryland's Chesapeake & Coastal Program]. Product of EcoAdapt's State of Adaptation Program. Retrieved from CAKE: http://www.cakex.org/case-studies/marylands-coast-smart-communities-ini… (Last updated December 2010)