View of Ocean City and salt marshes
Front Lines of Climate Change View of Ocean City across the salt marshes in Isle of Wight, Maryland. © Matt Kane / TNC

Stories in Maryland/DC

Building a More Resilient Maryland

Advocating for policies that can lead Maryland forward.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Maryland General Assembly adjourned the regular legislative session about three weeks early this year for the first time in its history. We would like to thank our supporters for advocating for key resilience bills this year.

We are happy to report that two significant pieces of resilience legislation were passed before session adjourned.

  • HB78/ SB172 Bay Restoration Fund—Authorized Uses, which expands funding opportunities from the Bay Restoration Fund to be used for climate resiliency, flood control, and local stormwater management measures.
  • HB539/ SB457 Local Governments—Resilience Authorities—Authorization will enable counties and municipalities to create "Resilience Authorities" which enable local governments to implement large infrastructure projects related to sea level rise, nuisance flooding, and erosion. This bill also gives these local governments greater flexibility in developing funding for these projects.

We would like to sincerely thank the sponsors and co-sponsors of these bills for their leadership on building a more resilient Maryland.

Sunset over wetlands
Wetlands Sunset Isle of Wight, Maryland. © Matt Kane / TNC

Moving forward, the Maryland General Assembly will likely reconvene for a special session in the coming months; however, the focus of this session will be on managing the response and economic implications of COVID-19.

Looking ahead to the 2021 legislative session, we will again advocate for creating a Chief Resilience Officer in our state and expanding funding opportunities for individual landowners and small businesses to improve their properties’ resilience through environmental remediation and resiliency projects such as living shorelines and raingardens.

We are proud of the work we have done, with the help of our supporters, to increase awareness of and build support for these solutions. We are looking forward to productive discussions leading up to next year’s session that will inspire action to better prepare Maryland for the impacts of climate change.

HB539/SB457 Local Governments—Resilience Authorities—Authorization

Wetlands with city in the background
Building Resilience Projects like this living shoreline could be funded through the authorities to protect homes, businesses and communities. © Matt Kane / TNC

This bill enables counties and large municipalities to create, either separately or jointly, Resilience Authorities. These will enable local governments to issue bonds for funding large infrastructure projects related to sea level rise, nuisance flooding and erosion. Unlocking new resources for local governments will allow them to better plan and carry out projects to build resilience, which currently are difficult to fund and complete.

If you are represented by any of the following sponsors in the Senate, please contact their offices and thank them for their leadership and support!

Primary Sponsors

Co-Sponsors

If you are represented by any of the following sponsors in the House of Delegates, please contact their offices and thank them for their leadership and support!

Primary Sponsors

HB78/SB172 Bay Restoration Fund—Authorized Uses

Aerial view of wetland restoration project
Clean and Resilient Waterways Floodplain restoration, like that on the Pocomoke River, improve water quality and build flood storage capacity. © Severn Smith / TNC. Aerial support provided by LightHawk.

This bill expands and repurposes funds from the Bay Restoration Fund to allow this funding to be used for climate resiliency, flood control and local stormwater management measures. The Bay Restoration Fund has been a key program for improving water quality through wastewater treatment upgrades. This newly authorized use will allow for maintenance and upgrades to improve these critical pieces of infrastructure’s resilience to keep up with climate change impacts.

If you are represented by the following sponsor in the Senate, please contact their office and thank them for their leadership and support!

If you are represented by the following sponsor in the House of Delegates, please contact their office and thank them for their leadership and support!