Maryland Community Resiliency Grants / CoastSmart Communities Grants

Maryland uses its Coastal Zone Management grant funding from NOAA to help local governments plan for an implement projects to adapt to the impacts of climate change.  Historically, Maryland Department of Natural Resources allocated funds only to coastal communities because the grants were funded through NOAA's Office of Ocean and Coastal Resource Management.  However, in the 2016 and 2017 grant years, DNR combined NOAA funds with funding from the Environmental Protection Agency to also make grants to green infrastructure projects to address stormwater flooding outside of the coastal zone.

Under this state grant program, funds can be used to help communities assess their climate change risks; update local plans (hazard mitigation plans, coastal management plans, land-use plans); update land-use regulations (such as floodplain or zoning ordinances); apply to FEMA's Community Rating System (CRS); and design and implement green infrastructure or other risk-reduction projects.

Examples of projects that have been funded through this program include:

  • Funding Talbot County's adoption of a new floodplain regulations, new floodplain maps, and application to the Community Rating System (CRS).
  • Funding Queen Anne's County's adoption a new floodplain ordinance and development of a strategy for addressing repetitive loss properties in the county.
  • Supporting Baltimore City's integration of climate change into its All-Hazard Mitigation Plan and Climate Adaptation Plan
  • Helping Calvert County develop a special area flood management plan, adopt zoning ordinance amendments, adopt a shoreline development and protection plan, and apply to the CRS.

Maryland's Community Resiliency Grants program provides and interesting model for how states encourage local adaptation efforts using federal funding as a "carrot."  It also provides an interesting model for how state agencies can combine different sources of federal funding to support adaptation efforts that address multiple different risks (e.g., stormwater flooding and coastal flooding).  The program also demonstrates how state funding programs can be used to help local governments implement legal and policy changes through land-use regulations that will enhance the community's flood resilience.  Many previously funded projects have helped communities join the CRS, which is a sub-program of the National Flood Insurance Program that rewards communities that adopt higher standards for managing flood risk with lowered insurance premiums. 



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