A Plan For Coastal Planning
Senate Committee to Conduct Hearing Today on Coastal Planning and Sandy Rebuild
The Senate Budget and Appropriations Committee meets today in Toms River at 10 am to conduct a hearing - ”to hear testimony from invited witnesses on issues surrounding coastal planning and rebuilding in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy. ” You can listen live here .
We studied regional planning in Grad school, spent 13 years as an environmental planner at DEP, helped draft the Highlands Act, written many times about coastal planning issues, and in addition to strong criticism of the Christie administration, have made positive recommendations, see:
We attended all of the Committee’s hearings, and signed up to testify at the hearing in Atlantic Highlands that was designed to take testimony from the public, but were blocked from speaking by the Chairman Sarlo, so of course we were not invited to testify today.
On Saturday, we suggested Massachusetts coastal program as a model.
So today, to supplement prior posts, below are the State of Maryland’s Coastal planning and climate change adaptation program key recommendations.
The Senate Environment Committee has looked to Maryland as a model for stormwater management and to the Chesapeake Bay Clean Water Act TMDL program as a model for Barnegat Bay, so I thought they might want to consider Maryland’s climate change program too, especially given the fact that NJ is the only state in the Northeast with no climate change adaptation plan.
We’ll attend the hearing and report what went down later today or tomorrow.
Here are Maryland’s key recommendations:
- Take action now to protect human habitat and infrastructure from future risks. Require the integration of coastal erosion, coastal storm, and sea-level rise adaptation and response planning strategies into existing state and local policies and programs. Develop and implement state and local adaptation policies (i.e., protect, retreat, abandon) for vulnerable public and private sector infrastructure. Strengthen building codes and construction techniques for new infrastructure and buildings in vulnerable coastal areas.
- Minimize risks and shift to sustainable economies and investments. Develop and implement long-range plans to minimize the economic impacts of sea-level rise to natural resource-based industries. Establish an independent Blue Ribbon Advisory Committee to advise the state of the risks that climate change poses to the availability and affordability of insurance. Develop a Maryland Sea-Level Rise Disclosure and Advisory Statement to inform prospective coastal property purchasers of the potential impacts that climate change and sea-level rise may pose to a particular piece of property. Recruit, foster, and promote market opportunities related to climate change adaptation and response.
- Guarantee the safety and well-being of Maryland’s citizens in times of foreseen and unforeseen risk . Strengthen coordination and management across agencies responsible for human health and safety. Conduct health impact assessments to evaluate the public health consequences of climate change and projects and/or policies related to sea-level rise. Develop a coordinated plan to assure adequacy of vector-borne surveillance and control programs.
- Retain and expand forests, wetlands, and beaches to protect us from coastal flooding. Identify high priority protection areas and strategically and cost-effectively direct protection and restoration actions. Develop and implement a package of appropriate regulations, financial incentives, and educational, outreach, and enforcement approaches to retain and expand forests and wetlands in areas suitable for long-term survival. Promote andsupport sustainable shoreline and buffer area management practices.
- Give state and local governments the right tools to anticipate and plan for sea-level rise and climate change. Strengthen federal, state, local, and regional observation systems to improve the detection of biological, physical, and chemical responses to climate change and sea-level rise. Update and maintain state-wide sea-level rise mapping, modeling, and monitoring products. Utilize new and existing educational, outreach, training and capacity building programs to disseminate information and resources related to climate change and sea-level rise.
- State and local governments must commit resources and time to assure progress. Develop state-wide sea-level rise planning guidance to advise adaptation and response planning at the local level. Develop and implement a system of performance measures to track Maryland’s success at reducing its vulnerability to climate change and sea-level rise. Pursue the development of adaptation strategies to reduce climate change vulnerability among affected sectors, including agriculture, forestry, water resources, aquatic and terrestrial ecosystems, and human health.