Key Issue Areas

The Deal Island Peninsula area is prone to a number of key issues that are of interest to the Deal Island Peninsula Partnership. These include flooding, erosion, storm impacts, marsh migration and a number of social vulnerabilities that exacerbated their impacts. The DIPP network seeks to improve local resiliences to these impacts through collaborative learning and collaborative adaptation planning. 

Shoreline Erosion:

A current problem for natural shorelines as well as areas with riprap or bulkheads. Of particular concern are those areas where more erosion will result in a loss of protective tidal marshes and impact the inland communities not currently experiencing flood impacts.  

 

Road & Property Flooding due Sunny Day Flood Events:

Currently, some roads and parcels around the Deal Island Peninsula area are routinely flooded during high tides. School buses do not travel through flooded roads, forcing parents to find alternate transportation or else children miss days of school; mail delivery and other services are affected; and some homeowners must spend nights elsewhere due to their inability to reach their homes safely. Flooding is also a major concern during storm events, especially the spring and fall king tide events. These concerns are exacerbated by limited maintenance of non-roadside and roadside ditches, which become clogged and prevent water from properly draining during flood events. 

 

Building Damage due to Storms and Flooding:

Hurricane Sandy and other historic storms (e.g., the Storm of ‘33 and Hurricane Hazel) have proven how damaging storms can be on the Deal Island Peninsula. Increased costs of flood insurance have forced some households to forgo this necessary protection, leaving them at risk to financially-crippling damages during flood and storm events that can make it impossible for them to recover. This will become a bigger concern under future climate change projections that point to more frequent and severe storms and flooding.

 

Marsh Migration:

As the environment continues to change in the Deal Island Peninsula area, marshes are moving upland and starting to encroach on residential areas. This is already evident in several places around the area, particularly Oriole and St. Stephens. Marsh migration increases flood risks and impacts property values.  

 

Limited Access to Government Resources:

The communities on the Deal Island Peninsula are all unincorporated, with no formalized local government institutions to more effectively access county and state government resources to support local adaptation needs. These limitations are exacerbated by the fact that the Peninsula is located in the poorest county in Maryland, which further limits local government services in the area due to County government staffing and funding constraints. 

 

Socio-Economic and Demographic Changes:

Many local households are struggling economically as a result of changing socio-economic conditions of regional watermen industries, making it increasingly difficult for some to financially prepare for and respond to environmental impacts. The local population is also aging, with younger generations leaving in search of better employment opportunities and increasing numbers of retirees moving in. As these populations continue to age, the communities will have increasingly numbers of at-risk households in the future. 

 

Social Inequities and Injustices:

African American households on the Peninsula are especially at risk to environmental changes as a result of racialized hardships that have forced these communities into some of the most flood-prone areas on the Peninsula. As a result, many of these households are on the front lines of ongoing and future flooding and marsh encroachment, yet have limited means to adapt to them. Other forms of social inequities have made it difficult for other local residents to adapt, such as the inherent imbalances that exist between urban and rural areas in terms of access to funding and government support, and class-based inequities that limit certain populations' social and political mobility in adaptation governance. 

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