ANNAPOLIS, MD – Maryland governor Martin O’Malley is expected to issue an executive order that will impact the state’s acquisition of land and its infrastructure.
DNR is “shifting away” from conserving land that is less than 2 feet above sea level, because of predictions that such land likely will be under water in 50 years, Griffin told the committee.
“There have been small land holdings that we have not pursued [that otherwise] might have been purchased to complete a larger complex of land,” Griffin said in an interview Thursday, explaining what the policy has meant in practice.
DNR Secretary John Griffin used Dorchester County’s Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge as an example of land lost:
During the past eight decades, the refuge has lost about 5,000 acres, roughly a third of its original area.
The biggest factors affecting the refuge now are relative sea-level rise, land subsidence, or sinking, and wind and wave action. The latter have become stronger as the loss of marsh land creates larger sections of open water where wave and wind energy build, wildlife refuge manager Suzanne Beard said Thursday.
Of course, the overwhelming share of that loss was due to sinking and erosion, not sea level rise caused by climate change. The expected cost of Maryland’s taxpayers of implementing these new rules is unknown.