Deal Island Peninsula Project

The Deal Island Peninsula, in Maryland, is vulnerable to flooding, erosion, storm surge, and changing sea levels. Beginning in 2012, federal, state, and university funding has supported a collaborative effort to strengthen the ability of local communities to adapt to these changing conditions. Many residents in Deal Island identify strongly with the "watermen" lifestyle, relying on harvesting crab, oyster, and fish for their livelihood and supporting cultural traditions. This project aims to bring together community members, researchers, and environmental managers to learn from one another and support strategic adaptation plans.

From 2012-2015, the NOAA National Estuarine Research Reserve's Science Collaborative Program supported collaborative research projects, workshops, and community conversations. The goals of these efforts included collecting information on heritage, flooding, and marsh restoration. For example, the focus on heritage supported a mapping analysis of a local cemetery and a study of the history of African American and Native American people within Deal Island. 

Following this, Maryland Sea Grant provided funding for 2016-2018 to support an Integrated Coastal Resiliency Assessment. As part of this the Maryland Department of Natural Resources and the Eastern Shore Regional GIS Cooperative mapped flood risks in Deal Island. These maps allow users to see potential flood impacts to roadways, structures, and property, according to projected sea level rise in 2015, 2030, and 2050. The GIS maps are accompanied by a Flood Scenario Guide that walks users through using the tool.

In February 2017, Governor Hogan designated $540,000 for FY2018 to support six demonstration shoreline improvement projects around Maryland. Deal Island was identified as one of these sites. 

In 2017, researchers involved in this project published a book chapter on resilience to climate change in the context of a rural/coastal community that is featured in Responses to Disasters and Climate Change: Understanding Vulnerability and Fostering Resilience edited by Michele Companion and Miriam Chaiken.


Publication Date: 2012

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