Critical Area Coastal Resilience Planning Guide for Maryland

Developed for the Critical Area Commission for the Chesapeake and Atlantic Coastal Bays, this Planning Guide is designed for local planners, especially those in small communities and towns throughout Maryland, as they develop resiliency plans. The guide is made up of two sections, the first focused on process, and the second presents potential resilience strategies. The town of Oxford, Maryland is used as a case study throughout the first section, which outlines three assessments recommended for communities interested in working to build coastal resilience.

Recommended community coastal resilience assessments:

  • Anecdotal assessment - Examples of questions to consider during early stages of planning are included in this section to help asses areas of high risk and consider their community’s priorities.
  • Geographic assessment - Using screenshots and detailed descriptions, this section walks users through the steps of how to visualize different threats geographically,  including sea level rise and storm surges, as well as highlighting asset layers for natural features like wetlands. The guide recommends that planners use Maryland’s Coastal Atlas during this phase.
  • Programmatic assessment - This section guides users through an evaluation of existing programs, including a review of policies, ordinances, regulations, and other programs to determine where such policies could be improved to foster resilience.

The “Strategies & Implementation Considerations” section includes information and examples of ways to mitigate stormwater through bioswales, rain gardens, pervious pavers, rain barrels, tree planting and other physical and policy interventions.

Planning for sea level rise and increasingly severe storms requires consideration of physical and social realities as well as an understanding of existing laws and regulations. This planning guide, and the tools and questions it suggests, ensures that local planners across Maryland have support in taking on complicated and multifaceted planning projects in their communities.


Publication Date: 2017

Related Organizations:

  • Maryland Department of Natural Resources


Resource Category:

Resource Types:

  • Planning guides

States Affected:


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