News from the DNR Office of Communications

DNR Takes Lead In Mitigating The Effects Of Climate Change With New Policy

Annapolis, Md. (November 1, 2010) — The Maryland Department of Natural Resources’ (DNR) is taking the lead among State agencies in researching, encouraging and overseeing activities to impede Maryland’s vulnerability to climate change with a new policy, Building Resilience to Climate Change.

“DNR will steer its own actions and lead by example with regards to climate change,” said Secretary Griffin. “Maryland must take action now to prepare for the consequences of climate change. We will plant more trees to help capture excessive carbon pollution, restore more wetlands and living shorelines to help shield us from flooding and coastal storms, and plan ahead to reduce the vulnerability of Maryland's people, homes, investments and wildlife. We encourage our other State agencies and local government leaders to plan for, and lessen, the consequences of climate change.”

The Office for a Sustainable Future will maintain an accounting of DNR’s overall resource consumption, including waste discharge and greenhouse gas emissions produced through electricity, fuel consumption and vehicle emissions. Performance goals and benchmarks established through the Maryland Environmental Footprint Initiative will guide development and implementation practices.

Under the leadership of Governor Martin O'Malley, DNR is coordinating development and implementation of the Comprehensive Strategy for Reducing Maryland's Vulnerability to Climate Change. DNR encourages State agencies and Marylanders to make sound investments in land and facilitates and to manage these facilities and natural resources with an understanding of the effects of climate change.

Phase I of the policy began in August 2008. This phase is a key component of the Maryland Climate Action Plan, detailing the actions necessary to protect Maryland's future economic well-being, environmental heritage and public safety in the face of climate change and sea level rise.

DNR is currently engaged in Phase II with the University of Maryland, Center for Environmental Science and the Integrated Application Network to facilitate six sector-based adaptation work groups: Agriculture, Water Resources, Bay & Aquatic Ecosystems, Forest & Terrestrial Ecosystems, Human Health, and Growth & Land-Use. Each workgroup is scheduled to complete sector-based adaptation strategies by December 2010.

Climate change puts Maryland's people, wildlife, land and public investments at risk because of sea level rise, increased storm intensity, extreme drought and heat waves, and intensified wind and rainfall events.

With its geography and geology, the Chesapeake Bay region is ranked the third most vulnerable to sea level rise, behind Louisiana and Southern Florida. Historic tide records show that sea level increased approximately one foot in the Chesapeake Bay over the last 100 years. As a consequence of climate change, sea level is likely to rise at least twice as fast as it did during the 20th century, resulting in a potential one-foot rise by 2050 and two to three feet of rise by 2100.

For more information, visit http://dnr.maryland.gov/dnrnews/infocus/climatechange.asp.


   November 1, 2010

Contact: Josh Davidsburg
410-260-8002 office I 410-507-7526 cell
jdavidsburg@dnr.state.md.us

The Maryland Department of Natural Resources (DNR), which is celebrating its 40th anniversary this year, is the state agency responsible for providing natural and living resource-related services to citizens and visitors. DNR manages more than 461,000 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