Maryland's Living Shoreline Protection Act of 2008 (HB 973)

In its January 2008 interim report, the Maryland Commission on Climate Change recommended that the state begin to actively address the impacts on the natural environment of shore erosion induced by sea level rise. The Commission's report recommends a unified approach to shoreline management. Specifically, the Commission suggests that the state resolve management conflicts presented by the current statute and regulatory practice of permitting shore protection alternatives based on the order of preference.

The Commission further recommended that Maryland establish a rebuttable presumption that every site is capable of supporting a soft shoreline stabilization technique and that it is the responsibility of the applicant to prove that a different technique is necessary to protect the property from erosion.

The Living Shoreline Protection Act requires the use of nonstructural shoreline stabilization methods in tidal wetlands. Exceptions include the areas designated by Maryland Department of the Environment (MDE) mapping as appropriate for structural shoreline stabilization measures, and in areas where a property owner can demonstrate to MDE that such measures are not feasible, including areas of excessive erosion, areas subject to heavy tides, and areas too narrow for effective use of nonstructural shoreline stabilization measures. MDE must adopt regulations in consultation with the Department of Natural Resources. The regulations must include a waiver process that exempts a person from the bill’s requirements on a demonstration to MDE’s satisfaction that nonstructural measures are not feasible for the person’s property.

Publication Date: April 22, 2008

Related Organizations:

  • Maryland Department of the Environment

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  • Laws

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