Integrating Climate Change Adaptation into Local Planning: New Water Resources Element Guidance

Planning Assistance in Action 

by Jason Dubow, CC-P, Manager, Resource Conservation and Management and Matthew Rowe, Assistant Director, Water and Science Administration, Maryland Department of Planning 

Note: this article was originally published in the Maryland Municipal League’s September/October online magazine, Municipal Maryland

Fig 1 – Photo of sign warning fisherman of rising waters.

To protect private property, public health, government infrastructure and local environmental resources, municipalities should take steps to study the expected impacts of climate change. Those steps should include identifying vulnerable areas, populations, and assets to develop strategies to avoid or lessen those impacts.

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When Are Forest Fires Not a Disaster? When They Are Prescribed!

Planning Assistance in Action

by Kristen E. Humphrey, MLA, Local Assistance and Training Planner

Some days it seems like the world itself is burning, with reports of wildfires mostly across the western states increasing in frequency and the fires themselves ever larger and more destructive.[1]

A deadly combination of drought, lightning strikes, human activity – both accidental and malicious – have made wildfires in California, Colorado, and Texas almost daily news. Even eastern states, and now parts of Europe and the UK, are experiencing a sharp increase in deadly and damaging fires in the face of unprecedented heat waves.

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Register for the Upcoming EPA Climate Resilience Training Workshop for Drinking Water and Wastewater Utilities for the Mid-Atlantic

In Case You Missed It!

Dear Maryland Water Sector Stakeholder:

The Maryland Department of Planning’s Resource Conservation division is pleased to share the following information as part of our Water Resources Element training and support.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Creating Resilient Water Utilities (CRWU) initiative is providing a series of five, free webinars for drinking water, wastewater, and stormwater (water sector) utility owners and operators, as well as other water sector stakeholders in the Mid-Atlantic region.

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Two Western Shore Chesapeake Bay Towns Join Forces to Fight the Effects of Climate Change 

Local Spotlight 

by Kristen E. Humphrey, MLA, Local Assistance and Training Planner 

Due to the growing effects of climate change, many coastal areas around the country and world are facing problems exacerbated by sea level rise and intensified weather patterns. These include larger and more severe storms, and high tides which cause our cities, towns, as well as agricultural, forested, and natural areas to flood more frequently. 

Figure 1 – photo courtesy of Town of North Beach.

Some of the anticipated consequences affecting coastal areas include property damage, surface and groundwater resource contamination, and the negative impacts on recreational opportunities and wildlife habitats.  With roughly 3,190 miles of shoreline1, Maryland is no exception. “For coastal Maryland towns, the future means dealing aggressively with flood risks,” says Lauren Kabler, North Beach Town Council Member.

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SHA Climate Tool Warns of Coastal Flooding

Resources and Tools

Will some coastal towns be underwater in 2050? What can be done to rescue roads, towns, and homes from coastal and river flooding?

The Maryland Department of Transportation State highway Administration (MDOT SHA) has a powerful application to help public planners and private citizens. The MDOT SHA Climate Change Vulnerability Viewer (CCVV) is a user-friendly tool to explore areas and assets vulnerable to the risk of sea-level rise, roadway inundation, and nuisance flooding. The sophisticated web app layers climate and asset management data geospatially to show how extreme weather associated with climate change may change the Maryland coastline. Read more…