Maryland Sea Grant to Hold Climate Adaptation Law and Policy Symposium

July 8, 2024
Shoreline near St. Michaels, Maryland

Maryland Sea Grant has been awarded $25,000 by the National Sea Grant Law Center to hold a legal symposium exploring barriers to climate change adaptation in the Chesapeake Bay region. Maryland Sea Grant is partnering with the National Sea Grant Law Center, the Environmental Law Institute, and Georgetown Climate Center to present this symposium in 2025.

The symposium will explore law and policy considerations for a variety of regional coastal climate adaptation strategies. The region surrounding the Chesapeake Bay is one of the most vulnerable areas in the US to sea level rise and flooding, both of which are exacerbated by climate change. As sea level rise continues to accelerate and extreme weather events increase, coastal adaptation will be essential. Science and policy are closely linked in this shifting landscape. Property rights, insurance policy, and governmental duties will be affected as coastal communities engage with adaptation strategies. 

This event will bring together state and local agencies, policymakers, lawyers, scientists, coastal communities, and interested members of the public to explore the existing legal landscape of coastal climate adaptation. Goals include education and collaboration: participants will consider and generate solutions that are socially equitable, legally defensible, and practical from a policy perspective. 

The symposium will also provide an opportunity for regional law students and early-career lawyers, under the mentorship of experienced attorneys, to publish legal scholarship related to climate adaptation in the Sea Grant Law & Policy Journal. Additionally, the authors will have an opportunity to present their articles to coastal law experts at the event.

Aerial photo of development around a river
Bowley’s Quarters, Maryland (aerial support by Southwings)

The event’s planning committee consists of experts in environmental law, coastal law, environmental justice, and wetlands science and management from Maryland, Delaware, Virginia, and Washington, DC. In the coming months, this multidisciplinary team of experts will identify key issues to highlight at the symposium and solicit articles. 

The symposium will be held in spring 2025 on the campus of Georgetown University Law Center in Washington, DC. Sign up for Maryland Sea Grant’s email newsletter to stay up to date on news regarding the symposium.

Photo, top left: Shoreline near St. Michaels. Photo: Logan Bilbrough, Maryland Sea Grant Extension

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