Gov. Martin O’Malley (D) issued an executive order Friday calling for future state buildings and roads to be better-prepared for climate change and more resistant to flood damage.
The order directs state agencies to take the risk of coastal flooding and sea level rise into account when planning capital projects such as new or reconstructed building and infrastructure projects.
The Department of General Services, for example, will need to alter is engineering guidelines to make sure new structures are elevated two or more feet above the “100-year base flood level,” a level of flooding expected to be reached once every 100 years.
“As storms such as Hurricane Sandy have shown, it is vital that we commit our resources and expertise to create a ready and resilient Maryland, by taking the necessary steps to adapt to the rising sea and unpredictable weather,” O’Malley said in a statement Friday. “In studying and planning for storms and climate change, we can ensure that our land, infrastructure, and most importantly our citizens are safe and prepared.”
The order also tasks the Maryland Commission on Climate Change with updated sea level rise projections for the state, to be issued by the end of June.
“The state should be using the most up-to-date sea level rise projections in order to ensure that state infrastructure is sited and designed in a manner that will avoid or minimize future loss or damages,” Donald Boesch, president of the University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science and chair of the commission’s Scientific and Technical Working Group, in a statement Friday.