Maryland's Chesapeake & Coastal Program News - SPECIAL ISSUE April 2009

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IN THE ZONE is a service from the Maryland Department of Natural Resources' Chesapeake & Coastal Program (CCP) that delivers timely information, tools and resources to those living and working in Maryland's coastal zone. 
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On April 27, 2009, the Maryland Chesapeake & Coastal Program (CCP) will host an interactive summit, "Building Coast-Smart Communities: How Will Maryland Adapt to Climate Change?" as an integral part of the implementation of Maryland's Climate Action Plan. 

This event is designed to provide an excellent opportunity to get the hands-on experience that will help participants as they move forward to address the challenges presented by climate change. Importantly, it will create a network of community leaders who can replicate the simulation process in their own community while coordinating and learning from other Maryland coastal communities. Through this simulated negotiation, participants will:
  • Witness firsthand how diverse community stakeholders can negotiate agreements to address the challenge of climate change coastal impacts.
  • Quickly learn more about the choices communities face as they adapt to new risks.
  • Learn new negotiating skills, and practice them in a safe environment.
  • Gain knowledge about other community stakeholders' viewpoints and concerns.
Maryland's CCP has a ten-year history of providing planning assistance and technical tools to help the state and local communities understand, and adapt to sea level rise and coastal hazards. Recognizing that planning for sea level rise is a complex task involving various public and private sectors, Maryland's CCP has partnered with the MIT-USGS Science Impact Collaborative (MUSIC) and the Consensus Building Institute (CBI) to help Maryland coastal communities become "Coast-Smart" - ready, adaptive and resilient to climate change.

The "Building Coast-Smart Communities" interactive summit will bring together hundreds of key coastal leaders for a half-day event to engage in the difficult real-life discussions and decisions facing coastal communities that are vulnerable to sea level rise, coastal erosion, and storm inundation. This role-play simulation will be based on a hypothetical Maryland community that reflects the reality of many of our coastal towns and cities. Participants will work through a set of actions on a "Coast-Smart Community" scorecard that ranks each action's effectiveness and cost. Another partner for this event, Maryland's Meditation and Conflict Resolution Office (MACRO), has volunteered the services of their professional negotiators to facilitate the discussion at each table.

This summit is a free event, but registration is required. For more information, please visit the event website at: Click here to view the press release. If you have questions about the event, send an email to or call Gwen Shaughnessy with the Chesapeake & Coastal Program at 410.260.8743.

"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 "Coast-Smart" now -- ready, adaptive and resilient."
Click here to view full press release)

-- Governor Martin O'Malley

"Solving tough challenges like sea level rise will mean engaging each other across the artificial boundaries that so often separate us. The Coast-Smart simulation promises to provide a stage where we can
practice that."

-- Jack Greer, Assistant Director for Public Affairs, Maryland Sea Grant

"This is a powerful interactive tool that has the potential to build the capacity of local communities to prepare for both climate risk and the opportunity of smart growth."

-- Brice Gamber, Vice Chair, Coastal Watershed Resources Advisory Committee (CWRAC), Retired Insurance Executive

"Participants will gain a deeper understanding of the complex relationships between stakeholders in a coastal planning project, better preparing them to discuss similar issues in their own communities."
-- Ann Wheeler, Librarian, Carter Library and Information Resource Center, Maryland Department of Natural Resources
The Chesapeake & Coastal Program invites you to get better acquainted with the impressive credentials and accomplishments of its partners in this interactive summit. 
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For society to manage complex ecosystems effectively, including handling both the sudden and cumulative impacts of climate change, the integration of science-based knowledge with political and socioeconomic considerations is essential. To address this critical need, the U.S. Geological Survey and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology established the MIT-USGS Science Impact Collaborative (MUSIC) to test new ways of incorporating science in environmental decision making. MUSIC advocates adaptive management, "joint fact finding", and collaboration in resource management. Science Impact Coordinators coming from this program are equipped to tackle complex environmental problems by forging collaborative solutions that work.

Four MUSIC interns are admitted each year to MIT's two-year Master's degree program. Each student participates in coursework in adaptive management and "coordination science" including conflict resolution and collaborative policy analysis. We have been fortunate to have interns Nathan Lemphers and Evan Thomas Paul as our Science Impact Coordinators working on the "Building Coast-Smart Communities" project.  For backgrounds on Nathan and Evan, visit:

In addition to MUSIC's role in developing the collaborative simulation process and toolkit for building "coast-smart" communities in Maryland, their work has included:

  • Addressing the challenge of climate change through strategic habitat conservation in the Everglades;
  • Assessing ecosystem sustainability and vulnerability to climate change in the Lower Mississippi Valley;
  • Guidance tools for planning and management of urban drainage systems under a changing climate;
  • Building adaptive capacity in nearshore ecosystems in Maine;
  • Adaptive strategies to achieve sustainable energy in the dace of changing climate through the use of offshore wind farms.

The Science Impact Coordinators, with guidance from MIT faculty and agency staff, produce action memos and other products suggesting ways in which joint fact finding and collaborative processes can be used to meet agency objectives. To learn more about other projects of the MIT-USGS Collaborative, please visit:

Lawrence Susskind is Ford Professor of Urban and Environmental Planning at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He has served on the faculty for 35 years and currently directs the Graduate Program in Environmental Policy and Planning. He is also Vice-Chair for Instruction at the Program on Negotiation at Harvard Law School, which he helped found in 1982, and where he heads the MIT-Harvard Public Disputes Program, and teaches advanced negotiation courses. In 1993, Professor Susskind created the Consensus Building Institute.

Professor Susskind is one of the country's most experienced public and environmental dispute mediators and a leading figure in the dispute resolution field. He has mediated more than 50 disputes, including land use conflicts, facility siting controversies, public policy disagreements, and confrontations over water. He has served as a court-appointed special master and helped facilitate negotiations on arrangements of global environmental treaties. He offers a range of executive training programs each year and has served as guest lecturer at more than two-dozen universities around the world.

To learn more about Professor Lawrence Susskind and his work with MUSIC and CBI, please visit:
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For 15 years, the Consensus Building Institute (CBI) has helped groups and organizations around the world collaborate more effectively. CBI uses proven principles, processes, and techniques that improve group decision-making on complex public and organizational issues. CBI helps leaders, communities, organizations, and governments find better ways to work together offering in-depth knowledge of group dynamics, multiparty negotiations, and intercultural interaction. Created by leading practitioners and theory builders in the fields of negotiation and dispute resolution, CBI uses mediation, facilitation, and a range of specialized tools we have developed to promote effective negotiations, build consensus, and resolve conflicts.CBI professionals engage diverse stakeholders and assist them to identify shared goals, manage conflicts, and build productive working relationships in which participants achieve their goals and more. 

CBI is a non-profit organization based in Cambridge, Massachusetts and Washington D.C. For more information about CBI, their current projects and accomplishments, please visit:
David Plumb is a Senior Associate at the Consensus Building Institute. David designs and facilitates stakeholder engagement strategies in complex public policy and natural resource disputes. He facilitates difficult conversations and meetings for a variety of organizations and has worked in a wide range of environments in the U.S. and abroad where community, government and corporate interests have collided, including Nigeria's Niger Delta, Angola, Mexico, Guatemala and Argentina. David also designs and delivers trainings in stakeholder engagement, consensus building, negotiation and conflict resolution.
Prior to joining CBI, David was director of the Sustainable Business Practice at Search for Common Ground, a world leader in conflict resolution. The practice assisted corporations and their stakeholders to find common ground and create sustainable relationships. Currently based in Washington D.C., David is a former financial journalist and correspondent. A Fulbright Scholar, David holds a BA in Politics and Latin American Studies from Princeton University.

To learn more about David Plumb and his work at CBI, please visit:
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The Maryland Mediation and Conflict Resolution Office (MACRO) is a state office of dispute resolution created and chaired by the Honorable Robert M. Bell, Chief Judge of the Court of Appeals, Maryland's highest appellate court. Judge Bell is a nationally recognized champion of advancing appropriate conflict resolution in the courts as well as in the community. MACRO serves as a dispute resolution resource for the state, contributing to the development of a society where people routinely resolve their own disputes, amicably and creatively.

MACRO has played a major role in stimulating dramatic increases in the number and quality of Alternative dispute resolution (ADR) programs in Maryland. ADR is an umbrella term for processes that resolve conflicts peacefully and promote creative win-win solutions. ADR processes include: mediation, community conferencing, arbitration, settlement conferences, early neutral case evaluation, and consensus building. ADR is increasingly being used by courts, communities, schools, government agencies, criminal and juvenile justice programs, businesses, and other organizations across the country.

Maryland has won national acclaim for its multi-faceted approach to ADR as well as for the Maryland Judiciary's leading role in helping to prevent disputes from reaching a stage at which court intervention is necessary. To learn more about MACRO's current work and accomplishments, visit: 
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Please feel free to contact us with any comments, questions or ideas for future
IN THE ZONE e-mails.

Your Chesapeake & Coastal Program Team

Maryland Department of Natural Resources

A publication of the Maryland Coastal Zone Management Program pursuant to National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Award No.NA08NOS4190469. 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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