Maryland's Chesapeake & Coastal Service News - January 2013

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Volume 5, Issue 2 

January 2013


IN THE ZONE is a service from the 

Maryland Department of Natural Resources'

Chesapeake & Coastal Service (CCS)

that delivers timely information, tools, and resources to those who live, work, and play in 

Maryland's coastal zone.

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Governor O'Malley Signs Executive Order Helping State Prepare for Climate Change and Extreme Weather


Photo courtesy of DNR Office of Communications.
Governor Martin O'Malley has signed a landmark initiative to increase the State's long term resiliency to storm related flooding and sea level rise.  He signed the Climate Change and Coast Smart Construction Executive Order, directing that all new and reconstructed state structures, as well as other infrastructure improvements, be planned and constructed to avoid or minimize future flood damage.

"As storms such as Hurricane Sandy have shown, it is vital that we commit our resources and expertise to create a ready and resilient Maryland, by taking the necessary steps to adapt to the rising sea and unpredictable weather," said Governor O'Malley. 


The Executive Order enacts a number of policy directives, including directing all State agencies to consider the risk of coastal flooding and sea level rise when they design capital budget projects and charging the Department of General Services with updating its architecture and engineering guidelines to require new and rebuilt State structures to be elevated two or more feet above the 100-year base flood level.


"Over the past three decades, Maryland's climate has become hotter and water levels within the Chesapeake Bay have continued to rise," said Zoe Johnson, DNR's Program Manager for Climate Change Policy. "The region's recent extreme storms and weather have demonstrated just how vulnerable our natural resources and infrastructure can be to such events. The Executive Order will be instrumental in reshaping how we build along Maryland's coasts."

Click here to read the full press release. For more information on Maryland's climate change adaptation efforts, visit
Grant program to seek second round of applicants


Photo by Gabe Cohee.

In December, Governor O'Malley's Stream Restoration Challenge awarded 29 grants to local governments, school systems, and non-governmental organizations to establish and extend forested stream buffers while actively engaging middle and high school students. 


Click here to view the list of all 29 award recipients.


"I would like to thank the groups that submitted Stream Restoration Challenge proposals to help restore our streams, rivers and our prized Bay through on-the-ground projects and educational programs," said Governor O'Malley. "This initiative also raises awareness on the importance of protecting our water quality by teaching all of us that making smarter, greener, more sustainable choices is vital to a better future."


Beginning this spring, these projects will plant 110,000 trees and involve 13,400 students across Maryland. The projects will not only improve water quality across the state, but are tied to the Maryland Environmental Literacy Standards and offer Service Learning opportunities towards graduation.


The students will be engaged in all phases of the restoration - assessing riparian areas, developing a plan, implementing a project, monitoring survival, and reflecting on impact.


With the success of the first RFP and additional funding available, it is the intent of the state to re-release the RFP in early February. For more information visit our website or contact Gabe Cohee with DNR's Chesapeake & Coastal Service at


Click here to view the December 2012 press release.


The Innovative Technology Fund Enters Into Its First Partnership With St. Mary's College of Maryland 


Photo by Maryland Technology Enterprise Institute (Mtech).

On December 7, 2012, St. Mary's College of Maryland, Maryland Department of Natural Resources, Maryland Industrial Partnerships (MIPS) and Shore Thing Shellfish, LLC together announced their partnership to research in-situ oyster setting techniques. Dr. Robert Paul with St. Mary's Department of Biology will test a new method to streamline the process of planting spat-on-shell on lease bottoms in a more cost-effective and environmentally friendly manner than the traditional method of remote setting. If successful, the improved method will be less labor-intensive and costly while decreasing mortality rates. Preliminary trials will be conducted at St. Mary's College or at the Piney Point Aquaculture facility located on St. George Creek. After the experimental design Dr. Paul will test the improved method at a lease site owned by Sheldon Russell, a member of Shore Thing Shellfish, LLC. Field trials will provide data on setting efficiency and an economic analysis will be performed to calculate average cost per spat and overall economic cost analysis.


DNR partnered with MIPS five years ago on the Innovative Technology Fund to connect research and industry with the goal of accelerating water quality restoration. This is the first Innovative Technology Fund and Maryland Industrial Partnerships collaboration with St. Mary's College. DNR, MIPS and Shore Thing Shellfish provided funding to St. Mary's College for their research. By improving survival rates and decreasing cost, this in-situ oyster setting method could accelerate oyster production in the Bay and improve water quality.


For more information on this project, please contact Sarah Lane with DNR's Chesapeake & Coastal Service at 410-260-8788 or  

Funding Available to Help Coastal Communities Prepare for Climate Change


Photo by Jim Thompson.

Maryland's CoastSmart Communities Program wants to remind citizens that there are grants available to help coastal areas prepare, respond and adapt to the effects of flooding, shoreline erosion, increased storm intensity, accelerated sea level rise, and other anticipated impacts of climate change. Hurricane Sandy was a deadly reminder of the dangers and risks associated with living on the coast. In response to Sandy's impact, the State has announced its request for proposals earlier this year to provide applicants with more time for per-proposal consultation and assistance.


Launched by Governor O'Malley in April 2009, Maryland's CoastSmart Communities program has awarded more than a half-million dollars to coastal communities to help prepare for the anticipated impacts of climate change. In partnership with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the State will provide grants ranging from $10,000 to $75,000 to coastal communities to support the planning and preparation. In addition to competitive grants, the State will offer on-the-ground expertise, planning guidance, training and tools to support local planning efforts.


For more information or to apply for a grant, citizens may visit  

or email Kate Skaggs with DNR's Chesapeake & Coastal Service at


Click here to download the Request for Proposals. 


Again, the deadline for project proposals is February 28, 2013.


TEAM will be hosting three training workshops in coming months


Photo from TEAM DNR webpage.
Calling all Marylanders interested in helping students understand and care for their natural world! The Maryland Department of Natural Resources (DNR) is hosting three training workshops that will provide volunteers with the tools necessary to teach children about the Chesapeake Bay, coastal and Bay marine life and the State's streams through TEAM (Teaching Environmental Awareness in Maryland).

Established by DNR in 1998, TEAM volunteers have delivered 1,200 classroom programs to more than 32,000 students in public and private schools across the State since the program began. TEAM currently offers schools free classroom programs on the Chesapeake Bay watershed, streams, oysters and oyster reefs, horseshoe crabs, and Chesapeake watermen.


DNR is seeking volunteers from all counties across Maryland. Volunteers should have an outgoing personality and enjoy working with children (grades 3 to 8). No prior teaching experience is necessary. There are three workshops on consecutive weeks this winter and TEAM members are asked to attend all three for necessary training. Volunteers must be at least 18 years old and have their own transportation.


The workshops will be held on:

  • February 19 and 26 from 10 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. at the DNR Tawes Building located at 580 Taylor Ave., Annapolis, MD 21401; and
  • March 7 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Lathrop E. Smith Environmental Education Center, 5110 Meadowside Lane, Rockville, MD 20855 (Transportation is available from Annapolis).

To register for a workshop, volunteers should contact Chris Hintz with DNR's Chesapeake & Coastal Service at 410-260-8809 or


Schools can get more information on this free program and request a TEAM teacher in their classroom at

Research on Deal Island Peninsula made possible through grant from National Estuarine Research Reserve's Science Collaborative 

Researchers sampling marsh root production. 
Photo by Patricia Delgado.

Investigators from the University of Maryland, the Smithsonian Environmental Research Center, and the Coastal Bays Program have partnered with the Maryland Chesapeake Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve and other programs within the Maryland Department of Natural Resources to increase the resilience of coastal marsh and communities on Maryland's Deal Island Peninsula in the face of sea level rise. With a $598,645 grant from the National Estuarine Research Reserve System' Science Collaborative, the team is using the Collaborative Learning methodology to identify which services provided by marshlands are highly valued by local communities, understand how current management practices impact the marshes' ability to provide these services, and develop a process for stakeholders to work together to conserve and restore marshes for the future. In the process, the team will conduct economic, anthropological, and ecological research to better understand coastal marsh systems and their surrounding communities, develop a strong regional network for future collaboration, and test a model for engaging a range of stakeholders in ecosystem science and decision-making.


As sea levels rise along Maryland's coast, marshlands are degraded and lost; taking with them vital services-such as protection from storm surges and inundation and placing surrounding communities

at risk. This vulnerability is intensified by the impacts of historic land use practices. For example, wetland ditching, used from the 1930s to the 1950s to ostensibly control mosquito-borne disease, may limit the ability of marshes to grow vertically in response to sea-level rise. While there is an urgent need to address this problem, key stakeholders from different sectors and levels of government lack the collaborative, problem-solving partnerships needed to create cost effective, efficient solutions that optimize the social and environmental tradeoffs between different management choices. These stakeholders also need science-based information about how the marsh's ecological systems function in relationship to the surrounding communities, and what the outcomes of different approaches to marshland management might be. This project will use restoration of ditch drained marshes on the Deal Island Peninsula as a case study for conducting the necessary science, developing partnerships, and testing a stakeholder-driven process for developing management strategies that protect the resilience of marshlands and the communities that depend on them.

For more information on this project, please email Patricia Delgado with DNR's Chesapeake & Coastal Service/Chesapeake Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve at


Project serves as example of public/private partnerships succeeding to restore our State's important coastal ecosystems


Photo by Claudia Donegan.

Many Marylanders know Jessup for its Maryland Food Warehouse district or, maybe without as much enthusiasm, the State Prison. Few, however, realize there has been a significant watershed restoration project taking place in the middle of this busy industrial area. This project shines a spotlight on the importance of public private partnership for ecosystem restoration. The project came into existence following a suggestion by DNR to the State Highway Administration (SHA) that a particular section of Dorsey Run that flows through land owned by the State Prison system was in dire need of floodplain and stream restoration due to the nature of a this very impervious watershed. The floodplain is bisected by the railroad on the north side of Dorsey Run, which cuts off about one third of the floodplain. In addition, a very long and deep historic ditch was starving the floodplain of water on the south side of the stream.


In 2009, SHA agreed to fund the design and construction of a restoration plan out of their Transportation Enhancement Program for $304,000. In 2010, CCS's Habitat Restoration and Conservation group was assigned as contractor for the project and began working with BioHabitats, Inc. on the site design. The main goal of the floodplain restoration design was to permanently plug the entrenched ditch so that storm water, during high flows, would remain on the floodplain - now making it an integral part of the riparian system instead of what it was; a ditch that shot water out of the floodplain to the down stream area with no infiltration possible.


In spring 2011, DNR's Engineering and Construction crew started working on the site. However, before they could get in with their backhoes and construction trailers, a temporary access road had to be built using mulch and timber-mats. Baltimore Gas & Electric (BGE) and a neighbor of Dorsey Run, Sysco Baltimore LLC, helped with this phase of the project. Sysco allowed BGE to stockpile the mulch needed on a designated area of their busy parking area (lot). Working through the winter and spring of 2012, the construction of the ditch plugs and cobble weirs finally concluded with a large boulder cascade at the confluence of the ditch with Dorsey Run. The restoration technologies used to remediate the ditch system and floodplain were: 9 earthen dams (for infiltration of water), 3 cobble weirs (to control flow and create macroinvertebrate habitat), 2 boulder cascades (used at two confluence areas), and 2 seasonal pools (to provide habitat and help hold storm flows). This work created 11.5 acres of wetland, 0.8 acres of wetland enhancement, and 1.985 linear feet of steam restoration.


To wrap up the project and repair areas damaged by the construction roads, the Maryland Conservation Corp and CCS staff planted 260 native trees and shrubs through-out the borrow area dug for the earthen dams, and along 500' of the remediated ditch in November of last year.


Although too much storm water still flows into Dorsey Run from its surrounding watershed, the floodplain function of this site is extensively improved and the project has been a great example of how public/private partnerships can work to help restore our State's important riparian areas and fluvial ecosystems. 


For more information on the Dorsey Run project, contact Claudia Donegan with DNR's Chesapeake & Coastal Service at

King Tide Initiative aims to give researchers a look at what future sea level rise may may look like in Maryland


Photo by Chris Becraft.

As part of the King Tides Photo Initiative, the CoastSmart Communities Program is asking for citizens' help in documenting the tides by taking pictures of high water and flooding around their neighborhoods. These high tides give researchers a look at what future sea level rise may potentially look like.


Maryland experienced higher than average tides January 9th-13th and many tidally influenced neighborhoods noticed flooding. Pictures from this event, from the actual King Tide in December 2012, and pictures post-Hurricane Sandy, are up at:


The photographs will be used in educational and outreach materials to build awareness around how coastal flooding affects Maryland's shoreline and infrastructure, as part of Maryland's King Tide Photo Initiative. CoastSmart will then use this information to help communities prepare for coastal hazards and increases in future flood events .


King Tides extremely high tides that occur twice a year when the sun, moon, and Earth align, like those experienced in December serve as a tremendous resource, by providing a potential glimpse into the future as seas continue to rise and today's flood becomes tomorrow's high tide. The next King Tide will occur May 24th-27th.


An Environmental Protection Agency fact sheet on King Tides is available here.


Participants may find out more about the Maryland King Tides Initiative, including times of tides, at


For more information citizens may contact Kate Skaggs with DNR's Chesapeake & Coastal Service at 410-260-8743 or

Kelly Collins joins Maryland's CZM program to head up efforts related to coastal hazard habitat planning and working waterfronts 


The Chesapeake & Coastal Service is pleased to welcome Kelly Collins to our team as CCS's Coastal Resources Planner. The duties of Kelly's position will support Departmental efforts to reduce the vulnerability of coastal resources and communities to the potential impacts of coastal hazards; ensure the informed use of coastal resources; enhance public access to coastal beaches and waters; and preserve water-dependent uses. Kelly has been with the Department of Natural Resources for the past six years, working as a Natural Resource Planner in Land Acquisition & Planning. She led the interdisciplinary Stewardship Teams in the review and recommendation of land acquisitions, and managed the Land and Water Conservation Fund Program.  


Prior to DNR, Kelly spent two years in the Federated States of Micronesia as a Peace Corps volunteer, where she worked with the local community on natural resource management and development of Kosrae island's first Marine Park and Conservation Area.  She'd like to plug Micronesia as a beautiful eco-tourism vacation spot for anyone who likes to surf and scuba-dive. Kelly has experience in grant management, previously working with the US Fulbright Program. She earned a B.S. in Environmental Science and Policy from the University of Maryland and is finishing an M.S. in Energy Policy & Climate Change from Johns Hopkins University. 


Kelly currently lives in Washington DC, where she enjoys road-biking through Rock Creek Park, window-box gardening, rooting for the Redskins, and getting out on the water every chance she can get. 


Kelly can still be reached via email at

Feel free to contact us with any comments, questions or ideas for future
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A publication of the Maryland Coastal Zone Management Program pursuant to National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Award No. NA12NOS4190169. This publication is funded (in part) by a grant/cooperative agreement from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). The views expressed herein are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of NOAA or any of its sub-agencies. 

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