In 2017, the Maryland Coastal Bays Program (MCBP) undertook the first five steps of the EPA’s “Being Prepared for Climate Change: A Workbook for Developing Risk-Based Adaptation Plans.” This Climate Change Vulnerability Assessment was conducted to learn about and prepare for the ways climate change stressors might affect MCBP’s ability to reach the 14 goals of the 2015-2025 Comprehensive Conservation & Management Plan (CCMP). The outcome of this assessment is the identification and prioritization of 168 risks that could limit MCBP’s ability to reach those goals. Chief among the priorities to address are the impacts climate change will have on the Water Quality goals and Fish and Wildlife goals of the CCMP.
The next step in the process is to develop an Action Plan around this information, which includes: exploring opportunities and constraints that influence what the MCBP chooses to tackle; developing partnerships to help address the chosen risks; deciding on a path of mitigation, transfer, acceptance, or avoidance of each of the 168 identified risks; developing a list of possible adaptation actions to assess further; selecting adaptation actions for implementation; and developing a plan that shows risk reduction over time as a result of implementing adaptation actions. Development of the Action Plan is ongoing and is expected to be completed in the fall of 2020.