(Sept. 7, 2018) The Maryland Department of Natural Resources and the Maryland Coastal Bays Program are addressing erosion and sea level rise with a plan to help build “coastal resiliency” and wildlife habitats on Tizzard Island in Chincoteague Bay.
Coastal resiliency is the term used to describe the existence of natural buffers and barriers that help prevent flooding and reduce erosion and to allow coastal areas to bounce back after severe weather.
“The Coastal Resiliency Grant Program is funding to help communities, counties, and towns address some of the … coastal issues,” said Kevin Smith, director of Restoration and Resiliency Program at the Maryland Department of Natural Resources.
“It specifically is geared towards building natural defenses to make more resilient communities.”
Coastal communities are especially vulnerable to storm damage, which could become more severe with climate change, Smith said
“Some of our best defenses against these types of disasters are natural features and natural defenses like shorelines, dunes, marshes, and flood plains,” Smith said. “Trying to enhance and make for a robust natural system helps … [mitigate] … some of the damage and the issues associated with coastal flooding.”
Tizzard Island, which is behind Assateague between Taylor Landing and Truitt’s Landing on the mainland side, is one of many projects being funded by the Coastal Resiliency Grant Program.
The island consists of approximately 200 acres of a mix of marshland, upland tumps, and tidal and non-tidal wetlands, in addition to a historical home site dating to the 1930s.
“This grant is the first step in the design and permitting phase and will be followed by grant phases for the construction portion(s),” said Director of Worcester County Department of Environmental Programs Robert Mitchell. “This is one of our ecologically sensitive islands in the coastal bays that are unfortunately disappearing of late.”