Coastal Farming Challenges: Flooding, Salt, and Land Loss

In this study, Maryland Sea Grant and partners seek to understand the challenges coastal farmers and woodlot owners in Maryland and Virginia face because of increased flooding and salty soils. The results of this study would help inform what research, training, or resources would be most helpful to the agricultural community in the future. Participants will have the opportunity to speak directly to decision-makers about their concerns and try to build solutions.

Interested in participating? Let us know!

Flooding water in field rows of plants.
Photo courtesy of Kate Tully

Background:

Farmers and woodlot owners in Maryland and Virginia are facing increased challenges as coastal flooding and salty soils are negatively impacting their land. Adapting to these challenges may require different strategies to manage land under saltier or wetter conditions.  This project aims to better understand the factors that are most important to farmers and woodlot owners as they make decisions concerning ongoing management of their farm and/or woodlots in the face of increased flooding and saltier water. The insights gained from this project will show agricultural partners and researchers what assistance is most relevant to farmers’ needs and will not be used to create additional regulations.

Swaths of dead zones seen in a field from an arial viewpoint.
Photo courtesy of Jarrod Miller

Eligible Participants:

Farmers (both land owners and leasers) and woodlot owners (e.g. ‘participants’) that have seen increased flooding and/or experienced salty soils on their farm and/or woodlot that are located in the coastal Chesapeake Bay region.

Timeline

  • Phone interviews: August/September (~ 30 minutes)
  • Baseline questionnaire: September/October (~ 20 minutes)
  • Workshop 1, Getting on the same page—where do you see land changes?: December (~ 90 minutes)
  • Workshop 2, Your view—what works and what doesn’t?: January (~90 minutes)
  • Workshop 3, Connecting the dots—your needs and available information: February (~90 minutes)
  • Follow-up questionnaire: February (~ 20 minutes)
House sitting in about 2 feet of flood water.
Photo courtesy of Dani Weissman

Intended Benefits:

Participants will:

  • Receive compensation for their time (up to $250)
  • Have their concerns heard and build solutions with others
  • Be able to speak with and learn from other farmers and woodlot owners facing similar issues in the region
  • Be able to interact with scientists and agricultural specialists and ask questions  about topics they wish to learn more about, including, but not limited to: soil salinity testing, alternative crops, available markets, economic opportunities, easement programs, and/or legal issues
  • Be able to discuss with agriculture partners (such as the USDA National Resource Conservation Service, soil conservation districts, Maryland Department of Agriculture, university researchers, agricultural extension agents, etc.) how their concerns are being met with available programs and resources or how they could be improved in the future
  • Contribute to a list of needs and recommendations that will be shared with agricultural partners and the larger community

For further questions, contact: 

Taryn Sudol
Coordinator for the Chesapeake Bay
Sentinel Site Cooperative
Maryland Sea Grant College Program
sudol@mdsg.umd.edu
301-405-6378

This free workshop is made possible through the National Science Foundation’s Coastlines and People grant #ICER-1940218 

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