Isabel waterfront houses - CoastSmart Communities Grant

Coastal damage.

The CoastSmart Communities Grant (CCG) provides financial assistance to local governments to encourage the incorporation of coastal hazards, sea level rise, and/ or related coastal management issues into local long-term strategic planning, new or modified codes and ordinances, permitting processes, education and outreach campaigns, and other relevant programs.


Example projects:

  • Update the floodplain ordinance to incorporate a higher freeboard and/or other higher regulatory standards in the most at-risk areas
  • Incorporate hazard mitigation strategies into comprehensive or Critical Area plans
  • Incorporate hazard mitigation plans with land use planning and sea level rise adaptation strategies
  • Adopt a sea level rise overlay district
  • Apply to FEMA’s Community Rating System

Preference is given to projects that focus specifically on reducing community vulnerability to coastal hazards and/or sea level rise. The grant requires that the project result in a modification, adoption or implementation of an ordinance, code, plan, or program.


Grants typically run from October 1st through September 30th. The Request for Proposals is typically released in early December and closes in late February.


This grant program is made possible through Maryland’s annual Coastal Zone Management grant fund awarded by NOAA’s Office of Ocean and Coastal Resource Management (OCRM). The grant is competitive and no match is required.


Past CoastSmart Communities Grant Projects

Community/Partner Project Title Outcome CZMA Grant Year
Baltimore County Floodplain Area Resiliency Initiative through the Community Rating System (Baltimore Co.) Funding will be used to apply to the Community Rating System, as well as develop a program that will keep up-to-date records and maintain CRS eligibility.  The County will adopt FEMA's new coastal study Flood Insurance Rate Maps (FIRMs), however, will attempt to maintain current Base Flood Elevations (BFEs) for new development.  To address both the CRS application and new FIRMs, the County will also update the flood ordinance 2014
Calvert County Coastal Hazard and Natural Resources Planning in Calvert County Building on the previous two years of funding, the County will work to implement the special area flood management plan for Cove Point Community, develop a similar plan for the Broomes Island Community, and update and expand the Shoreline Development Guide & Website.  The County will update the Critical Area digital map layers for the entire county.  Funding will also be used to maintain CRS eligibility. 2014
Baltimore City Creating a Ready and Resilient Baltimore City: Implementation Implement adaptation recommendations developed in the previous year of funding (in the Climate Adaptation Plan) that may include updating the flood ordinance.  Funding will also be used to integrate some of the recommendations into existing programs, for example, Capital Improvement projects.  The City will apply to the Community Rating System to reduce flood risk and decrease homeowner's flood insurance premiums.  The City will be developing an outreach and education program, part of which will include a website on hazard information including risk and vulnerabilities; public meetings, mailings, and informational posters will accompany this effort. 2014
Talbot County Creating Flood Resilience in Talbot County: Public Outreach and Community Rating System Apply to the Community Rating System to help ensure new develop is more resilient and prepared for coastal flooding as well as decreasing flood insurance rate premiums for homeowners. 2013
Calvert County Enhancing Coastal Protection in Calvert County Funding will be used: to support the County's development and adoption of a special area flood management plan for the Cove Point Community - a residential community in a highly flood prone area - that will reduce flood associated losses of property and life and provide a replicable plan that could be used in other vulnerable areas; for the County to adopt Zoning Ordinance amendments developed during a previous project period (many suggested by the Cliff Stabilization Advisory Commission) that will provide protection of natural resources while facilitating permitted development; to adopt its Shoreline Development and Protection Plan, providing increased protection for floodplains, wetlands, rare threatened 2013
Baltimore City Creating a Ready and Resilient Baltimore City Project to develop and implement an integrated All-Hazards Mitigation Plan, floodplain mapping, and Adaptation Plan program that link the research, outreach, and actions to assure implementation of a comprehensive system for addressing existing and future impacts. Funding will be used to complete a Climate Adaption Plan (CAP), to be adopted by the Planning Commission as an official Appendix to the AHMP. 2013
Queen Anne’s County Queen Anne's Coastal Resources and Floodplain Management Queen Anne's County will develop and adopt a new Chapter 14:3 Floodplain Ordinance, adapted to meet new FEMA regulations / mapping, heightened coastal hazards and enhanced environmental protections which are consistent with federal, state and local goals and standards. Funding will also be used to identify repetitive loss properties and help create strategies for mitigation to reduce the exposure of coastal infrastructure in high hazard areas. Finally, this project will establish a community dialogue via public meeting(s). 2013
Talbot County Creating Flood Resilience in Talbot County Project will update and adopt new Floodplain regulations and adopted new Floodplain Maps created by FEMA.  In order to address goals and objectives of the county's hazards mitigation plan, the County will conduct the requisite public education and outreach in order to pursue adoption of the ordinance. 2013
Queen Anne’s County Protection and Management: Coastal Resources in Queen Anne’s County Update local Critical Area Program to afford local government the ability to regulate more effectively without challenge, resulting in greater protection and management of our valuable natural resources 2013
Calvert County Calvert County Shoreline Development Guide and Plan Create a shoreline development guide to assist citizens in complying with all regulations while protecting life and property from coastal hazards and to develop a long range plan that balances natural resource protection with protection of shoreline development and human life 2012
Various Lower Eastern Shore Communities / MD Dept. of Planning: Denton, Federalsburg, St. Michaels, Salisbury, Easton Coordination of Local Planning and Protection This project supported 3 full-time staff:  Principal Planner Tracey Gordy, Lower Eastern Shore Planner Keith Lackey and Upper an Eastern Shore Planner Shawn Kiernan to develop and implement  programs and policies at the local level directed at growth management and natural resource protection through comprehensive planning, zoning, subdivision regulations, priority funding area targeting, and infrastructure projects in the Lower Eastern Shore Region (Dorchester, Somerset, Wicomico and Worcester Counties and 23 municipalities) and the Upper Eastern Shore Region (Caroline, Cecil, Kent, Queen Anne's and Talbot Counties). 2011
Town of Cambridge Cambridge Code and Ordinance Modification Comprehensively amend and modernize the zoning ordinance to bring about implementation of the Comprehensive Plan to improve regional water quality and prepare land use pattern and development practices for the potential impacts of storm surge associated with sea level rise 2010
Talbot County Coastal Management for Traditional Villages Empower rural communities in Talbot Countyto better manage their relationships with the coastal environment 2010
City of Annapolis City of Annapolis Flood and Inundation Mitigation Strategies - Eastport Area Create the regulatory framework to implement a recommended response to the impacts of sea level rise in Annapolis, and to inform the public of the City's intended action 2010
Anne Arundel County Sea Level Rise Strategic Plan Anne Arundel County - Final Vulnerability assessment, development of a framework for interagency planning, development of a Sea Level Rise Strategic Plan, and public outreach and education to promote awareness 2010
Town of Ocean City Stormwater Utility Development for Ocean City Determine the feasibility of a stormwater utility in order to address unfunded stormwater maintenance, repairs and upgrade issues 2010
Town of Centreville Corsica Stormwater Utility Refinement and implementation of the framework developed during the first phase/year. It will focus on five primary tasks: public outreach and education, preparation of a business plan, determination of policies, development of billing mechanisms and preparation of ordinances 2010
Town of Queenstown Transportation Element Addition to Queenstown's Integrated Watershed Community Design Document Integrate near, mid and long term transportation pattern changes into both the Integrated Watershed Community Design (ICDD)and upcoming annexation negotiations 2010
Town of Queen Anne Municipal Growth Element and Water Resources Element for the Town of Queen Anne Development and Incorporation of Climate Change Information into a Municipal Growth Element and Water Resources Element for the Town of Queen Anne 2010
Crisfield, Princess Anne, Snow Hill, Mardela Springs, Sharptown, Vienna and Secretary with assistance from MD Dept. of Planning Critical Area Ordinance Updates for Seven Lower Eastern Shore Municipalities This project resulted in outreach, training, implementation, and education efforts for near-shore Blue Infrastructure by updating Critical Area Ordinances on Maryland's Lower Eastern Shore.  Blue Infrastructure work engaged stakeholders to increase understanding and consideration of near-shore Blue Infrastructure targeting work completed in previous Aquatic Resource Network (ARN) tasks.  2010
Town of Centreville Corsica River Stormwater Utility Develop a stormwater utility to assure that long term funding is available to maintain quality stormwater treatment systems, improve existing stormwater treatment systems, and implement such systems where they do not exist 2009
Town of Queenstown The Queenstown Integrated Community and Watershed Design This project will develop an Integrated Community Design Document (ICDD).  Development of this document will be accomplished by examining best development practices from around the world and by involvement of the community in community design workshops 2009
Caroline County Improving Caroline County's Floodplain and Stormwater Management Stormwater Management Ordinance will be updated and regulations, which are currently located throughout the Zoning and Subdivision Ordinances, will be updated and consolidated into one ordinance. 2009
City of Annapolis City of Annapolis Regulatory Response to Sea Level Rise and Storm Surge Inundation Project will expand the geographic scope of the sea level rise study beyond City Dock to include an assessment of the Eastport peninsula and adjacent flood-prone areas 2009
Anne Arundel County Sea Level Rise Strategic Plan Anne Arundel County – Phase I Report: Vulnerability Assessment Vulnerability Assessment to identify potential areas of sea level rise and storm surge inundation, assess trends and predict impacts of shoreline erosion, and develop complete inventories of resources at risk. 2009
Baltimore City Site Selection & Ownership Transfer Policies to Support and Protect Community-Managed Open Spaces The Green Spaces Project to establish new selection guidelines and disposition policies for use by the BGS Land Trust, City of Baltimore and our future land bank to facilitate the transfer of vacant lots used as community-managed open spaces to a land trust for long-term protection and support. 2008
City of Salisbury Comprehensive Plan Revisions for Compliance with HB 1141, Water Resources Element Drafting of the Water Resources Element 2008
Dorchester County Sea Level Rise: Technical Guidance for Dorchester County The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Coastal Zone Management Program (CZM) has provided grant funding to Maryland Department of Natural Resources to pursue the necessary planning. The statewide Strategy was completed in October 2000. CZM funds were used to produce this guidance document to support planning in Dorchester County. 2008
Somerset County Somerset County, Maryland - Rising Sea Level Guidance An project to assess the County’s vulnerability to sea level rise and review and develop workable revisions to the County’s plans, development codes, and regulations to mitigate the identified impacts. The recommendations address suggested modifications to the County’s planning and regulatory mechanism, including the Floodplain Management Ordinance/Building Code, Zoning Ordinance, Subdivision Regulations, Comprehensive Plan, and Hazard Mitigation Plan. 2008
Town of Crisfield A Strategic Revitalization Plan for the City of Crisfield The series of meetings to create a vision and revitalization plan for the town with citizen input. 2008
Town of Elkton Comprehensive Plan Revisions for Compliance with HB 1141, Water Resources Element Drafting of the Water Resources Element 2008
Town of Forest Heights Comprehensive Plan to Develop a Green Community A sustainable “green infrastructure” throughout the Town of Forest Heights, and educate and encourage residents to adapt to behavioral changes by involvement in various projects. 2008
Town of Hurlock Comprehensive Plan Revisions for Compliance with HB 1141, Water Resources Element Drafting of the Water Resources Element 2008
Town of North East Comprehensive Plan Revisions for Compliance with HB 1141, Water Resources Element Drafting of the Water Resources Element 2008
Town of Ridgely Comprehensive Plan Revisions for Compliance with HB 1141, Water Resources Element Drafting of the Water Resources Element 2008
Worcester County Worcester County, Maryland, Sea Level Rise Response Strategy A study to develop and assess response options for the expected impacts of accelerated sea level rise caused by climate change. This report presents several scenarios to assess the impacts of sea level rise on Worcester County over the next century. Also, the prioritization of the response options considers which options would be useful despite uncertainties in the rate and range of sea level rise. 2008


  • “Here in Maryland we are aggressively implementing initiatives to reduce greenhouse gas emissions that will provide benefits long into the future; however, we must also ensure our communities are “CoastSmart” now - ready, adaptive and resilient.”

    - Governor Martin O’Malley

CoastSmart Grant RFP

CoastSmart Grant RFP

Contact Information

Kate Skaggs

Chesapeake & Coastal Service

Maryland Department of Natural Resources

Tawes State Office Building E-2

580 Taylor Avenue

Annapolis, Maryland 21401

Phone 410-260-8743

Fax 410-260-8739

kskaggs@dnr.state.md.us