Higher Standards: Opportunities for Enhancing Flood Resilience in the Eastern Shore of Maryland

May 22, 2019


This report was prepared by the Georgetown Climate Center for the Eastern Shore Climate Adaptation Partnership (ESCAP) to inform efforts to prepare for impacts of sea-level rise in 

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communities on the Eastern Shore of Maryland as part of the "Mainstreaming Sea Level Rise Preparedness in Local Planning and Policy on Maryland's Eastern Shore" initiative.  ESCAP worked with the Eastern Shore Regional GIS Cooperative to assess sea-level-rise vulnerabilities in Eastern Shore communities and, with GCC and the University of Maryland Environmental Finance Center to identify legal and policy options for enhancing flood resilience in ESCAP jurisdictions. This report presents opportunities for enhancing flood resilience through local floodplain regulations, subdivision regulations, Critical Area programs, and other non-regulatory options including acquisitions, conservation easements, and public education and outreach programs. Case studies highlight how other jurisdictions have used similar approaches to enhance flood resilience. Example regulatory language is provided to help jurisdictions implement these approaches. The report also discusses legal and policy considerations, including the potential to earn points under the Community Rating System, to help jurisdictions assess the feasibility of different options.

The Eastern Shore Climate Adaptation Partnership or ESCAP was established in 2016 to support regional coordination on adaptation and climate resilience work among counties and municipalities on the Eastern Shore of Maryland, one of the regions in the U.S. that is most vulnerable to the impacts of sea-level rise. Jurisdictions participating in ESCAP include Caroline, Cecil, Dorchester, Queen Anne's, and Talbot counties and the municipalities of Oxford and Cambridge. ESCAP is facilitated by the Eastern Shore Land Conservancy (ESLC).

This work was supported by a grant to ESLC from the Climate Resilience Fund and a grant to GCC from the Town Creek Foundation.