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).
|Resource Name||Resource Type||Date|
|Maryland Senate Bill 457: Resilience Authorities||Law and Governance||May 8, 2020|
|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|
|Resource Name||Sector(s) Covered||Date|
|State of Maryland 2016 Hazard Mitigation Plan||Coastal, Emergency preparedness, Land use and built environment, Transportation||August 2016|
|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|
|Baltimore, Maryland 2018 Disaster Preparedness and Planning Project (DP3)||December 20, 2018|
|Kent County, Maryland Climate Change and Sea Level Rise Adaptation Report||September 2016|
|Baltimore, Maryland Disaster Preparedness and Planning Project (DP3) 2013||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|
|Sea Level Rise: Technical Guidance for Dorchester County, Maryland||October 2008|
|Somerset County, Maryland: Rising Sea Level Guidance||September 24, 2008|
|Resource Name||Resource Category||Date|
|Maryland Resiliency Hub Grant Program||Funding||November 1, 2018|
|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 Cultural Resources Hazard Mitigation Planning Program||Planning||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 Land Preservation and Recreation Plan||Planning||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|