This page provides an overview of the steps Maryland is taking to prepare for the impacts of climate change.

On April 20, 2007, Governor Martin O'Malley established the Maryland Commission on Climate Change and directed the Commission to create a Climate Action Plan including measures to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and prepare for the impacts of climate change (Executive Order 01.01.2007.07). The 2007 executive order established the Adaptation and Response Working Group within the Commission to develop the adaptation portions of the state's Climate Action Plan. Maryland developed two climate change adaptation plans: a Comprehensive Strategy for Reducing Maryland's Vulnerability to Climate Change, Phase I: Sea-level rise and coastal storms (Chapter 5 of the Climate Action Plan; “2008 Plan”), published on September 12, 2008; and a Comprehensive Strategy for Reducing Maryland's Vulnerability to Climate Change, Phase II: Building societal, economic, and ecological resilience, published on January 24, 2011 (“2011 Plan”). The 2008 Plan addresses the effects of sea-level rise and coastal storms on the existing and future built environment and infrastructure; the economy; human health, safety and welfare; and natural resources. The 2011 Plan addresses changes in precipitation patterns and increased temperature, and the likely resulting impacts on six sectors: human health, agriculture, forest and terrestrial ecosystems, bay and aquatic ecosystems, water resources, and population growth and infrastructure.

“Coast Smart” Requirements

In 2012, Governor O’Malley directed all state agencies to consider the risk of sea-level rise, flooding, and extreme weather in the construction or reconstruction of state buildings and facilities (Executive Order 01.01.2012.29, Climate Change and “Coast Smart” Construction). The 2012 executive order also calls for new and reconstructed state-owned structures to be elevated two or more feet above the 100-year base flood elevation. This requirement was codified and expanded upon with legislation in 2014 (H.B. 615) and again in 2018 (H.B. 1350). The 2014 legislation established a Coast Smart Council and required the development of “coast smart” siting and design criteria for state structures. The 2018 legislation, passed in April, amends the Coast Smart law by expanding the categories of structures that must comply with coast smart criteria to include new state highway facilities, and new or reconstructed local projects that are at least half state-funded. The Coast Smart Council is also required to develop new coast smart criteria to comply with the 2018 law. H.B. 1350 also requires local jurisdictions that experience nuisance flooding to develop plans for addressing that flooding, and it requires the state departments of Planning, Natural Resources, Agriculture, and Environment to collaborate on a plan for addressing saltwater intrusion.

Strengthening the Maryland Commission on Climate Change

The Maryland Commission on Climate Change, originally established in 2007, was expanded in membership and scope by executive order in 2014 (Executive Order 01.01.2014.14, Strengthening Climate Action in Maryland, signed by then-Governor O’Malley). The Maryland Legislature codified the Commission through legislation in 2015 (S.B. 0258/H.B. 514, An Act Concerning Maryland Commission on Climate Change). The legislation specifies the agencies to serve on the Commission, including the Department of Natural Resources, The State Treasurer, the Secretary of Agriculture, the Secretary of the Environment, the Secretary of Planning, the State Superintendent of Schools, the Secretary of Transportation, the Secretary of General Services, representatives from the state legislature, among others. This legislation continues the work of the commission and requires each state agency to review its planning, regulatory, and fiscal programs to more fully integrate emissions reductions and adaptation to the impacts of climate change into agency operations.

 

These pages highlight the progress Maryland is making to implement its statewide adaptation plans. Other resources from the Adaptation Clearinghouse, which have been developed and adopted to help Maryland prepare for the impacts of climate change, are featured in the chart below.

The Georgetown Climate Center’s State Adaptation Progress Tracker, which tracks the progress states are making in implementing adaptation plans, was supported by the MacArthur Foundation.

 

(Research last updated: July 16, 2018).

 
State Agency Action Overview
Local Support Overview
 
 

State Law and Policy

Resource Name Resource Type Date
Maryland HB 1350/ SB 1006 - Sea Level Rise Inundation and Coastal Flooding - Construction, Adaptation, and Mitigation Law and Governance April 5, 2018
HB0514/SB0258 Maryland Commission on Climate Change Law and Governance June 1, 2015
MD Executive Order 01.01.2014.14: Strengthening Climate Action in Maryland Law and Governance November 19, 2014
Maryland HB 118: Bay Acidification Bill Law and Governance May 5, 2014
Maryland HB 615: Coast Smart Council Law Law and Governance May 5, 2014
Maryland Forest Preservation Act of 2013 Law and Governance October 1, 2013
Climate Change and "Coast Smart" Construction (Maryland Executive Order 01.01.2012.29) Law and Governance December 28, 2012
Maryland Climate Change and "Coast Smart" Construction (Executive Order 01.01.2012.29) – Application to Transportation Infrastructure and Facilities Law and Governance December 28, 2012
Maryland Department of Natural Resources Policy: “Building Resilience to Climate Change” Law and Governance October 15, 2010
Maryland's Living Shoreline Protection Act of 2008 (HB 973) Law and Governance April 22, 2008
Maryland Executive Order 01.01.2007.07 Law and Governance April 20, 2007

State Agency Plans

Resource Name Sector(s) Covered Date
Maryland Coastal Resiliency Assessment Coastal, Frontline Communities March 2016
Maryland State Wildlife Action Plan (2015-2025) Biodiversity and ecosystems, Fish and fisheries, Land management and conservation, Wildlife June 2016
Maryland State Highway Administration Climate Change Adaptation Plan with Detailed Vulnerability Assessment Transportation October 11, 2014
Maryland's Greenhouse Gas Reduction Plan - Chapter 8: Adaptation Agriculture and food, Biodiversity and ecosystems, Coastal, Forestry, Land use and built environment, Public health, Water resources October 8, 2013
PlanMaryland (MD 2011 Executive Order 01.01.2011.22) Biodiversity and ecosystems, Coastal, Land management and conservation, Land use and built environment December 19, 2011
Comprehensive Strategy for Reducing Maryland's Vulnerability to Climate Change - Phase II: Building societal, economic, and ecological resilience Agriculture and food, Biodiversity and ecosystems, Coastal, Emergency preparedness, Forestry, Land management and conservation, Land use and built environment, Public health, Water resources January 2011
Comprehensive Strategy for Reducing Maryland's Vulnerability to Climate Change - Phase I: Sea-level rise and coastal storms Biodiversity and ecosystems, Coastal, Emergency preparedness, Forestry, Insurance, Land management and conservation, Land use and built environment, Public health, Tourism and recreation, Transportation July 2008

Local and Regional Plans

Resource Name Date
Kent County, Maryland Climate Change and Sea Level Rise Adaptation Report September 2016
Baltimore's Disaster Preparedness and Planning Project (DP3) October 15, 2013
Transportation Elements of the City of Baltimore Disaster Preparedness and Planning Project (DP3) October 2013
Baltimore Climate Action Plan (Maryland) January 15, 2013
Sea Level Rise Strategic Plan Anne Arundel County, Maryland November 2011
Regulatory Response to Sea Level Rise and Storm Surge Inundation City of Annapolis, Maryland October 2011
Annapolis, Maryland Comprehensive Plan October 5, 2009
Sea Level Rise: Technical Guidance for Dorchester County, Maryland October 2008
Somerset County, Maryland: Rising Sea Level Guidance September 24, 2008

More Featured Resources

Resource Name Resource Category Date
Prioritizing Local Climate Adaptation through Regional Collaboration on Maryland's Eastern Shore Planning July 2017
Critical Area Coastal Resilience Planning Guide for Maryland Planning 2017
GCC: Policy Considerations for the Maryland Commission on Climate Change Planning January 31, 2017
Maryland Climate and Health Profile Assessments April 2016
Maryland Coast Smart Community Scorecard Planning
Adapting to Climate Change and Sea Level Rise: A Maryland Statewide Survey, Fall 2014 Education and Outreach September 15, 2014
Maryland Climate Change and Coast Smart Construction Infrastructure Siting and Design Guidelines Law and Governance January 31, 2014
Maryland Community Resiliency Grants / CoastSmart Communities Grants Funding
Updating Maryland's Sea-Level Rise Projections Assessments June 26, 2013
Maryland Update to the Governor and General Assembly Monitoring and Reporting January 2010
Maryland DNR Coast Smart Communities Initiative Solutions 2009
Climate Action Plan: Interim Report to the Governor and the Maryland General Assembly Planning January 14, 2008
Maryland Coastal Atlas Data and tools
 

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