by Steven H. Allan, AICP, Planner with the Office of Planning, Education and Outreach at the Maryland Historical Trust, with Kristen E. Humphrey, MLA, Local Assistance and Training
In mid-December 2020, Maryland Historical Trust (MHT) Director, Elizabeth Hughes, informed me that I had been selected for an interim reassignment to help fill a critical staffing need within the Maryland Department of Health (MDH) and/or the Maryland Emergency Management Administration (MEMA). She explained this move was part of a larger effort to tap various personnel from across state government to assist with the COVID-19 response effort as it entered the vaccination phase, moving, hopefully, toward an end of the pandemic.
The increasing frequency of tidally-driven nuisance flooding has been recognized as a concern by Maryland lawmakers (see Maryland HB1427 – 2019 and SB1006 and HB1350 – 2018), resulting in the requirement for local jurisdictions that experience nuisance flooding to develop a plan to address it.
The legislation set October 1, 2020, as the deadline for plans to be developed. Considering the COVID-19 pandemic and the additional strains placed on resources, an extension of the submission deadline was granted. In compliance with the order of the governor dated March 9, 2021, the regulatory deadline extension will expire on June 30, 2021.
As stated on MEMA’s website: “Hazard mitigation is any sustained action taken to reduce or eliminate the long-term risk to life and property from hazard events. MEMA’s Hazard Mitigation Branch collaborates with governmental and non-governmental partners before, during, and after disaster events to identify, craft, and implement comprehensive hazard mitigation strategies.”