Maryland HB 1350/ SB 1006 - Sea Level Rise Inundation and Coastal Flooding - Construction, Adaptation, and Mitigation

Effective July 1, 2018, Maryland will expand and strengthen its "Coast Smart" siting and design criteria to better manage sea level rise and improve coastal adaptation efforts. The legislation also requires the state to establish a plan to adapt to saltwater intrusion, and to build criteria for hazard mitigation funding for sea level rise and coastal flooding. Additionally, by July 1, 2019, local jurisdictions that experience nuisance flooding must submit a plan to address this climate impact. 

The Maryland Climate Change Commission has projected sea level rise in Maryland between 2.2 and 4.1 feet with global emissions unabated, and 1.4 - 2.8 feet even if emissions are reduced. In 2014, HB 615 established Maryland’s Coast Smart Council, which is required to adopt Coast Smart siting and design criteria for state capital projects to address the impact of sea level rise and coastal flooding. 

This new legislation requires the following:

Coast Smart Siting and Design Criteria

Under current law, the criteria apply to State capital projects, and under the new bill, the criteria apply to both State and local projects (not specifically limited to capital projects) – for which at least 50% of the project costs are funded with State funds. The criteria do not apply to a public work contract of less than $500,000.

Also, as specified in the Fiscal and Policy Note for House Bill 1350: “Instead of including a requirement that the lowest floor elevation of each structure located within a special flood hazard area be built at an elevation of at least two feet above the base flood elevation, the criteria must include a requirement that a structure be designed and constructed or reconstructed in a manner to withstand the storm surge from a storm that registers as a category 2 on the Saffir-Simpson hurricane wind scale, including a requirement for structures to be constructed or reconstructed at a minimum elevation above the projected storm surge.”

Plan to Adapt to Saltwater Intrusion

By December 15, 2019, the Maryland Department of Planning, in consultation with the Department of Natural Resources (DNR), the Department of the Environment (MDE), and the Department of Agriculture, must establish a plan to adapt to saltwater intrusion, which must be updated at least once every five years.

Criteria for Use of State Funds for Hazard Mitigation

The Board of Public Works, in conjunction with DNR, MDE, and the Maryland Emergency Management Agency, must establish criteria to evaluate whether State funds may be used to mitigate hazards associated with sea level rise inundation and coastal flooding.

Local Plans to Address Nuisance Flooding

By July 1, 2019, a local jurisdiction that experiences nuisance flooding must develop a plan to address nuisance flooding - which must be updated at least once every five years.


Publication Date: April 5, 2018

Related Organizations:

  • Maryland Department of Natural Resources
  • Maryland Department of the Environment
  • Maryland Department of Planning
  • State of Maryland
  • Maryland Department of Agriculture
  • Maryland Emergency Management Agency


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Resource Types:

  • Laws

States Affected:


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