As the country’s third most vulnerable region to flooding, erosion, and sea level rise, the Eastern Shore can become a national model for coastal resilience in rural communities. A resilient Eastern Shore will be prepared for immediate and long-term coastal hazards and will be able to survive, adapt, and prosper in the face of uncertainty and vulnerability.
In spite of the stresses of climate change, Maryland’s Eastern Shore has an exciting opportunity to capitalize on its rural nature, agricultural roots, and unique sense of place to become America’s most resilient rural region. ESLC supports communities on the Eastern Shore in planning for the impacts of climate change – including rising sea levels, warming temperatures, and intensifying rainfall patterns – in a variety of ways.
ESLC facilitates the Eastern Shore Climate Adaptation Partnership (ESCAP), a multi-jurisdictional network of staff from local government, state agencies, academic institutions, and nonprofit organizations. The ESCAP promotes learning and collaboration among Eastern Shore communities to prepare for the impacts of climate change. It is a venue for partners to provide support, education, technical assistance, and resources to help communities build resilience. Our coastal resilience staff have worked through ESCAP to provide resources addressing sea level rise and extreme precipitation events. We also regularly partner with ESCAP communities in incorporating climate vulnerability information and adaptation strategies into local planning initiatives such as hazard mitigation plans, comprehensive plans, and flood-related local ordinances.
ESLC also partners with the State of Maryland to address the climate-related needs of rural communities across the state. Our coastal resilience staff serve on the Maryland Commission on Climate Change and the Adaptation & Resiliency Work Group in order to advocate for regional concerns, and we have informed State initiatives such as the provision of guidance for nuisance flood planning.
ESLC’s vision for a resilient Eastern Shore is one in which:
Eastern Shore Land Conservancy provides education and outreach—including lectures about coastal resilience topics—to Eastern Shore communities. Our deep roots in the Eastern Shore allow us to use a nuanced understanding of the region to make presentations that are personalized and relevant to specific industries, economic sectors, and interests. Attendees of past lectures have expressed appreciation for gaining an understanding of a global issue in a detailed local context.
Here are some of the groups that our coastal resilience program staff have provided presentations to, in an effort to educate and better prepare our coastal communities:
Want ESLC’s coastal resilience program staff to speak to your group or organization? Contact Jim Bass at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Sassafras Environmental Education Center (or SEEC) aims to teach how human beings can live compatibly with nature’s design. Led by Director (and former Congressman) Wayne T. Gilchrest and Education Program Manager Jennifer Hizer, SEEC staff and volunteers demonstrate how outdoor education integrated into the regional school system can enhance learning across various disciplines. The Center provides both children and adults with exposure to and instruction of the geology, ecology, physics, human history, economics, and politics that have shaped and continue to shape the Chesapeake Bay watershed.
SEEC partners with local schools to serve as a ground for public school educators to implement Maryland’s environmental literacy standards. Activities in the field provide students with the knowledge and skill to live sustainably within Earth’s finite ecosystem.
Want to Visit with your Class or Group? The Sassafras Environmental Education Center is located at 13671 Turners Creek Road, Unit 2, Kennedyville, MD 21645. Call Wayne or Jennifer at 410.348.5214 for more info or to book your group’s visit.
The following coastal resilience resources are available as PDF files. All links will open in a new browser tab and can be saved to your computer through your browser’s controls.
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