Coastal Farming Challenges: Flooding, Salt, and Land Loss

image of flooded field rows
Photo courtesy of Kate Tully

In this study, Maryland Sea Grant and partners sought 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 will be used to help inform what research, training, or resources would be most helpful to the agricultural community in the future. Participants had the opportunity to speak directly to decision-makers about their concerns and try to build solutions.


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

Background and Findings

House sitting in about 2 feet of flood water.
Photo courtesy of Dani Weissman

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 aimed 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. We learned about sea level rise impacts seen on study participants' lands, their challenges to current management strategies to resist or adapt to environmental changes, and their top ranked suggestions to address policy and research gaps.  Full findings are available in our article “Resisting-accepting-directing sea level rise on the Chesapeake Bay: Agricultural producers’ motivations and actions” in the Journal of Environmental Management or view our summarized findings here

Workshop 1: Getting on the same page—where do you see land changes?



Causes and effects of saltwater intrusion on Maryland’s Lower Eastern Shore


Workshop 2: Your view—what works and what doesn’t?



Friend or foe? Phragmites and other wetland plants in the coastal slosh zone

See slides here:  CBSSC workshop Phrag friend or foe.pdf


Drainage Practices on Coastal Agricultural Lands


Assessing and Remediating for Salty Soils


Conservation Easement Opportunities through Natural Resources Conservation Service

Workshop 3: Connecting the dots—your needs and available information.




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

logo of Chesapeake Bay Sentinel Site Cooperative

The Chesapeake Bay Sentinel Site Collaborative is a group of scientists, coastal managers, decision makers, and community liaisons across Maryland and Virginia focused on applying sea level rise science to stakeholder decision making.

For more information, please contact:

Julissa Murrieta
Environmental Science Outreach Intern
Taryn Sudol
Coordinator for the Chesapeake Bay Sentinel Site Cooperative
Phone: (301) 405-6378

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