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Eastern Shore Land Conservancy is committed to preserving and sustaining the vibrant communities of the Eastern Shore and the lands and waters that connect them.

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RESILIENT PEOPLE

What is Resilience?

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.


Photo courtesy of Will Parson / Chesapeake Bay Program

Building America's Most Resilient Region

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:

  • Our towns and rural communities are thriving economic centers for the region, prepared for and able to rebound quickly from both chronic climate stressors and acute natural disasters;
  • Our rural areas are woven with habitat corridors and hubs that allow nature to adapt over time; and
  • Our wetlands, farms, and forests maximize ecosystem services like flood buffering and carbon storage, providing economic and protective benefits locally and environmental benefits globally.

Empowering Communities for Action

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:

  • Annual ESLC Climate Conference (2017–present)
  • County and municipal councils and planning commissions across the region
  • Guest lectures, including:
    • Chesapeake College
    • The Gunston School
    • Washington College
  • State and regional workgroups, including:
    • Eastern Shore Association of Municipalities
    • Maryland Adaptation and Response Workgroup
    • Maryland Municipal League

Want ESLC’s coastal resilience program staff to speak to your group or organization? Contact Jim Bass at jbass@eslc.org.


Environmental Education

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.

Education Programs Director and former U.S. Congressman Wayne T. Gilchrest canoeing with SEEC guest.

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.


Resources

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.

Extreme Precipitation Report
Our 2020 extreme precipitation report provides a detailed look at how the projected impacts of increased rainfall will create significant flood risks for local citizens and communities across the Eastern Shore. This report identifies policy recommendations to adapt to these impacts across multiple sectors including stormwater, agriculture, transportation, public safety, and environment/water quality.
Sea Level Rise Report
Our 2018 sea level rise report provides detailed, locally-relevant information for residents and community leaders about the projected impacts that sea level rise will have on the Eastern Shore and identifies strategies for adapting to these impacts.
Kent County Climate Adaptation Report
This 2016 report assesses Kent County, Maryland’s vulnerability to a host of climate-related hazards including sea level rise, drought, extreme heat, changing precipitation patterns, and more.
ESCAP White Paper
The Eastern Shore Climate Adaptation Partnership (ESCAP) is a network of local and state government staff, academic institutions, and non-for-profit partners planning for the impacts of climate change upon our region. This paper examines the benefits and efficiencies of collaboration across jurisdiction and discipline for the shared benefit of the Eastern Shore.

Be Informed!

Sign up for Resilience Matters and stay informed about coastal hazards and building resilience. While you’re at it, sign up for our other wonderful e-publications and stay on top of the issues affecting the Eastern Shore.


Make a Contribution Today

You can make a financial contribution large or small through our website. The process is easy, straightforward, and secure. Your donation supports the mission of the Eastern Shore Land Conservancy and makes a difference by improving the long-term quality of life in the Eastern Shore community.