Maryland's Chesapeake & Coastal Service News - September/October2012

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Volume 4, Issue 8 

September/October 2012


IN THE ZONE is a service from the 

Maryland Department of Natural Resources'

Chesapeake & Coastal Service (CCS)

that delivers timely information, tools, and resources to those who live, work, and play in Maryland's coastal zone.

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Pre-proposal assistance is available to applicants


There's one month left to prepare and submit your proposals for Governor O'Malley's Stream Restoration Challenge. All proposals are due on October 31, 2012.


Click the image above to download the Request for Proposals.

The Stream Restoration Challenge is a competitive grant program open to local governments and non-government organizations to establish 1,000 acres of stream-side forests by 2015. For this challenge, the State and its partners will make available $6M to plant forested stream buffers with the goals of improving Bay water quality and creating opportunities for middle and high school students to engage in service-learning and environmental literacy activities.


Local governments, school systems, watershed organizations, land trusts, and community groups are getting excited about the potential impact of these projects. Engaging the community, namely middle and high school students, in restorative practices will build their capacity, appreciation, and stewardship of our natural environment and local waterways - all leading to healthier Chesapeake and Coastal Bays.


As the deadline approaches, the State has made new resources available to potential applicants. On the website, we have links to Marylanders Plant Trees, where applicants can find technical assistance, local nursery information, and tree coupons. We have also posted Evaluation Guidelines, Application Components, and a Sample Budget. Additionally, we have made the webinar presentation and Q&A session available on the site. If you are preparing a proposal and need some assistance, contact Gabe Cohee at to schedule an in-person meeting or conference call to discuss your plan.


Don't miss the great educational materials that the Bay Backpack has put together for the Challenge as well. 


Check out "We Did That," DNR's first video on the Trust Fund


We Did That [Chesapeake and Atlantic Coastal Bays Trust Fund]
Video: We Did That [Chesapeake and Atlantic
Coastal Bays Trust Fund]

This year marks the fifth year that the Chesapeake & Atlantic Coastal Bays Trust Fund (Trust Fund) has been providing support towards State and Local initiatives for the reduction of nonpoint source pollution. In State Fiscal Year 2013, the addition of $38M in General Obligation Bonds brings the Trust Fund up to $63M, the same amount as the past four years combined! The addition of the capital funds has allowed the State to triple the amount of funding for local stormwater projects and is estimated to support 467 jobs.


In order to better communicate and celebrate all the great work that is going around the State, CCS will be creating a series of videos as well as revamping the Trust Fund webpage to allow the public to learn more about the efforts going on in their area.

Project Restores Landscapes and Habitat in Bishopville
Lizard Hill Wetland Project
Video: Lizard Hill Wetland Project

Finding opportunities to build large-scale wetland restoration projects that provide exceptional water quality benefits and critical habitat for rare, threatened and endangered species is a difficult but essential task. This is why the State Highway Administration decided to approve the funding of DNR's idea back in the mid 1990's for an atlantic white cedar bog wetland restoration project at an old sand borrow pit just west of Ocean City. 


Bogs are exceptional at improving water quality, and provide needed habitat for rare and endangered species, which in turn provide food and cover for other species that otherwise, would not be able to survive.  Since the first site visit by DNR in 1995, with planning and design spanning many years - the now complete 20-acre acidophilic wetland ecosystem, "Lizard Hill Bog," is an excellent example of an innovative wetland restoration.


So far, 6,000 Atlantic White Cedars and a unique variety of pH tolerant plants that thrive in bog ecosystems have been planted. This is significant because the original Atlantic White Cedar vegetative communities were extirpated from the Maryland Coastal Bays around the turn of the last century. In fact, Bishopville was once part of the Great Cypress Swamp complex that covered the eastern edges of Maryland and Delaware. That important ecosystem became fragmented over the past hundred years, although small pieces still exist in areas of the Pocomoke, Nanticoke and Coastal Bay watersheds.


Photo courtesy of Claudia Donegan.

Efforts from volunteers, State staff and Maryland Coastal Bays employees are ongoing today at Lizard Hill. Over the past month alone, they placed 24 cubic yards of live sphagnum moss - an essential ingredient for creating a bog wetland system. This fall work will continue, including invasive vegetation management and planting a variety of hardwoods, which will balance the edge habitat on the restoration site. 


Putting these rare ecosystems back where they once thrived is a main objective of CCS's Habitat Restoration and Conservation Division.  If you would like to know more about the project or come lend a hand during our fall reforestation of this unique habitat, please contact Claudia Donegan at


Navigating the Waters of Youth Environmental Leadership


teen paddle
Photo courtesy of CBNERR-MD.

Environmental work without stewardship is a losing battle. Lacking the passion for and personal connection to nature, it is next to impossible to increase support for environmental issues. An effective avenue to develop an environmental advocate is through issues investigation combined with a venue where they can become actively involved in the solutions.


Youth advocates are valuable independently, but by pairing their experiences with leadership training, the individuals grow on two levels: they become more connected to their environment while gaining important leadership skills which have innumerable "real world" applications.


For each of the past three summers, the Chesapeake Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve (CBNERR-MD), in partnership with Jug Bay Wetlands Sanctuary and the Maryland National Capital Parks and Planning Patuxent River Park, has hosted a five-day intensive leadership program during which teens are exposed to four key elements: fostering personal connection and environmental ethic development, building science understanding, connection to heroes and mentors, and the implementation and growth of leadership skills.


Explore the Patuxent: Teen Leadership Paddle is held one week in July and again for one week in August. Teens from Maryland and Northern Virginia high schools spend a week learning leadership skills and estuarine science while enjoying paddling and camping along the Patuxent River. The "Teen Paddle"

provides opportunities for the future leaders to improve their coastal literacy by listening to speakers, sampling fish and water quality, assisting in stewardship projects, and participating in leadership training

exercises during their five-day paddle. The teen leaders become immersed in Patuxent River issues and explore their role in solving them. The week culminates with group presentations to community leaders.


Building on a nurtured enthusiasm for the Chesapeake Bay and supporting their continued growth as leaders, the "Teen Paddle" builds skills that young adults can draw upon to champion environmental issues through leadership roles in their households, schools, and communities.


 For more information on the "Teen Paddle", e-mail Trystan Sill at  

"The teens were exposed to such a wonderful variety of issues and adventures that were educational, muscle building, and fun."  - Parent of a 2012 Paddler


"I was so glad that I went, and can't wait till next year!" - Noah Zingler 2011 paddler



Environmental Literacy Is Alive And Well at Harford Christian School


CCS staffer Stacy Epperson with Harford Christian School team winners. Photo by Colin McAllister.

This past June 19 and 20, 18 winning county teams comprised of 90 students converged at St. James School in St. James, Maryland to compete in the 22nd annual Maryland State Envirothon Competition.


Maryland Envirothon, an environmental education competition for high school student teams, is hosted and supported by local Soil Conservation Districts. CCS staff and others train the students and write and administer the test. The students are tested in four topics areas (soils, wildlife, forestry, aquatic ecology) and a rotating fifth topic. This years' fifth topic was Nonpoint Source Pollution/Low Impact Development.


Harford Christian School produced the winning team and as state champions, moved onto the Canon Envirothon event held in Selinsgrove, Pennsylvania four weeks later. 54 teams from Canada and the United States competed at the North American event. After a week of intensive study culminating in written and oral testing on the last day, Harford Christian School finished in 7th place! During the past five years, Maryland teams have consistently placed in the top 10 percent at the nationals. CCS congratulates Harford Christian School on an outstanding showing!



Participants learn more about the voluntary program to prepare and protect Maryland communities from flood risks

Click on the thumbnail above to download the CRS brochure.


On September 20, 24 local government and state staff, representing 14 different jurisdictions attended the Maryland Community Rating System (CRS) training. The training was held in partnership with CCS, Maryland Department of the Environment (MDE) and Federal Emergency Management Adminstration (FEMA) Region III.


CRS is a voluntary program within the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) and by participating in CRS a community can reduce their vulnerability to flooding. CRS goes beyond the minimum requirements of the NFIP and a benefit to the community is lower flood insurance premiums. There are nine participating communities in Maryland and 2 about to be accredited.  Additionally, through Maryland's CoastSmart Communities grant program, three more communities will be preparing CRS applications as part of their projects.


Through this training communities were given more detailed information on the CRS program and interact with and learn from the experiences of communities already participating in the program. If you would like more information on CRS contact Kevin Wagner with MDE at

Developing Resources for Regional Ocean Planning 


The State of Maryland, in collaboration with states that form the Mid-Atlantic Regional Council for the Ocean (MARCO), is announcing the launch of an upgraded ocean data portal, at, to support multi-use, ocean planning in the Mid-Atlantic. The MARCO Portal contains the best-available, regionally-relevant data and presents it in a user-friendly platform to engage all stakeholders in ocean planning from the five state Mid-Atlantic region.


Both the data and the mapping tool, Marine Planner, are organized around industry sectors and focus-area themes highly relevant to planning in the Mid-Atlantic, including: Fishing, Renewable Energy, Maritime, Marine Life, Security, Recreation, and Administrative boundaries.


Over the coming months, the MARCO Portal project team will be conducting outreach to collect critical data and allow key stakeholders in regional planning to develop the Portal further. In the meantime, we hope that you will take some time to test drive the new Portal and give us your feedback.


Partnership with UM Center for Environmental Science helps DNR continue to deliver technical and financial assistance to coastal communities


CCS is pleased to welcome Kate Skaggs to our team as DNR's CoastSmart Communities Planner. The duties of Kate's position - made possible through a partnership with the University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science (UMCES) - will be leading CCS's efforts to provide technical assistance to local communities throughout the coastal zone to incorporate coastal hazards and sea level rise adaptation into local planning and management efforts.


Kate Skaggs, somewhere NOT in Maryland's
coastal zone.

Kate received a BS in Environmental Science from Lynchburg College in 2006 and an MS in Environmental Studies, with a Certificate in Urban and Regional Planning, from the College of Charleston, SC in 2010. Her Masters thesis focused on the privatization of natural resources in the South Carolina Lowcountry. She looked at how the governing bodies interacted and involved the local community, what this interaction may mean for the future of the local, minority communities, and how a rising "Nature-class" may be shaping and gentrifying the Lowcountry.


After graduating, Kate accepted a two-year NOAA Coastal Management fellowship in Olympia, WA with the Washington State Department of Ecology Shorelands section. The final deliverable for the fellowship was a guidebook for local governments in WA to help plan for sea level rise adaptation. This document primarily focuses on a broad adaption process including five phases: scoping, mapping, a vulnerability assessment, risk assessment, and a final action plan. The goal of this process is to help local governments who are currently in a wide variety of adaptation stages, with varying degrees of available resources and physical and political geographies, address sea level rise within their jurisdiction. Kate's fellowship concluded in mid-August 2012.


Communities interested in learning more about CoastSmart Communities and steps they can take to address vulnerability to climate change impacts and resources available to help tackle climate change related risks at the local level should e-mail Kate at or call 410-260-8743.


New $2.5 million Fund now accepting applications


Hyattsville, Route 1 infrastructure improvements.
Photo courtesy of DHCD.
The new Strategic Demolition and Smart Growth Impact Fund (SGIF) is seeking to catalyze activities that accelerate economic development, job production and smart growth in existing Maryland communities. The SGIF aims to improve the economic viability of "grey field development" which often faces more barriers than sprawling "green field development." Since funds are limited, awards will focus on those smart growth projects that can have a high economic and revitalization impact in their existing communities. In FY13, up to $2.5 million will be made available in the form of grants or loans. If you have a high impact smart growth project that can benefit now from a catalytic investment, now is the time to apply to the new DHCD Strategic Demolition and Smart Growth Impact Fund (SGIF). Applications are due on Friday, October 12.


Contact Mary Kendall at or 410-209-5810 if you have any questions.
Feel free to contact us with any comments, questions or ideas for future
IN THE ZONE e-mails.
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A publication of the Maryland Coastal Zone Management Program pursuant to National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Award No. NA11NOS4190151. This publication is funded (in part) by a grant/cooperative agreement from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). The views expressed herein are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of NOAA or any of its sub-agencies. 

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