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DNR Secretary Announces State’s New Coast-Smart Communities Initiative
Financial and Technical Assistance Available to Maryland Coastal Communities to Address Impacts of Climate Change
Annapolis, Md. - Maryland Natural Resources Secretary John Griffin today announced the State’s new Coast-Smart Communities Initiative, a program to provide technical and financial assistance to Maryland’s coastal communities to help address their vulnerability to the impacts of climate change. Secretary Griffin made the announcement on behalf of Governor Martin O’Malley at an interactive summit, Building Coast-Smart Communities: How Will Maryland Adapt to Climate Change?, which was attended by more than 200 local leaders from the State’s most vulnerable communities.
“With more than 4,000 miles of coastline, we cannot afford to wait to address this threat,” said Governor O’Malley. “Just as we are aggressively implementing initiatives to reduce greenhouse gas emissions that will provide benefits long into the future, we must also ensure our communities and Maryland families are “Coast-Smart” now -- ready, adaptive and resilient.”
The Coast-Smart Communities Initiative was created in response to the Maryland Commission on Climate Change Action Plan, which outlined specific actions needed to protect Maryland’s people and property from rising sea levels and changing weather patterns. To increase the availability of resources at the local level, Secretary Griffin introduced a competitive grant program through which local governments may apply for awards of up to $75,000.
In addition to the grant program, State officials will work with community leaders to direct them to technical assistance they need to prepare for sea level rise, coastal erosion, and storm inundation.
“By increasing the availability of resources for local governments, the assistance provided through the Coast-Smart Communities Initiative is intended to help ensure that what we learn today translates into action that reduces the vulnerability of Maryland’s coastal communities to climate change impacts,” said Secretary Griffin.
Today’s program included a simulation based on a hypothetical decision-making situation informed by real-world information. Professional facilitators mediated negotiations of a series of actions that coastal communities can take to protect their people, infrastructure, and investments from future risk, and used a scorecard to rank them based on effectiveness and cost. Participants learned about key choices communities face; how to anticipate risks and opportunities; how to build readiness, adaptability and resilience. The event also showcased practical tools, resources and incentives to help Maryland coastal communities become ready, adaptive and resilient in the face of climate change.
The grant program will target communities that pursue the type of projects that are found on the Building Coast-Smart Communities scorecard used at the event. The State will accept proposals through May 22, 2009.
The full request for proposals and additional information, including the scorecard, is available at http://www.dnr.state.md.us/bay/czm/index.html.
The event was designed to create a network of energized community leaders who can replicate the simulation process in their own community while coordinating and learning from other Maryland coastal communities.
Made possible through federal funding, today’s event was produced through a partnership with the MIT–USGS Science Impact Collaborative (MUSIC) and the Consensus Building Institute (CBI). MUSIC tests new approaches to environmental policy-making and natural resource management by tackling “real world” assignments, with a goal of developing and deploying new procedures and methods for setting environmental policy in a rapidly changing world. Established in 2004, MUSIC is located within the Department of Urban Studies and Planning (DUSP) at MIT – the top-ranked graduate program in urban and environmental planning in North America.
The Consensus Building Institute, a Washington, D.C. and Cambridge, MA-based nonprofit affiliated with MIT, improves the way that leaders use negotiations to make organizational decisions, achieve agreements, and manage multi-party conflicts and planning efforts.
April 27, 2009
Contact: Josh Davdisburg
410-260-8002 office I 410-507-7526 cell
Maryland Department of Natural Resources (DNR) is the state agency responsible for providing natural and living resource-related services to citizens and visitors. DNR manages more than 449,000 acres of public lands and 17,000 miles of waterways, along with Maryland's forests, fisheries and wildlife for maximum environmental, economic and quality of life benefits. A national leader in land conservation, DNR-managed parks and natural, historic and cultural resources attract 12 million visitors annually. DNR is the lead agency in Maryland's effort to restore the Chesapeake Bay, the state's number one environmental priority. Learn more at www.dnr.maryland.gov