top of page

The Deal Island Marsh & Community Project

Heritage CRP

Heritage was selected as a key CRP focus area because of the ways that heritage helps to sustain shared identities, values, knowledge, and sense of place by linking the past to the present and future. By promoting heritage understandings, the CRP sought to develop a cultural asset for building

resilience to ongoing and future changes on the Deal Island Peninsula. Much of the CRP's efforts closely aligned with the activities of the local NGO Skipjack Heritage, Inc. in order to expand ongoing local maritime heritage research to include socio-cultural traditions, practices and places as part of at-risk heritage in the area. To this end, the CRP helped collect and document the history of families that have for generations been engaged in "working the water." This included efforts to engage local youth in interviewing family and friends about the heritage of the Deal Island Peninsula area. The CRP also collected photographs and information on historically important built and natural infrastructure. Findings were shared with the broader Deal Island Peninsula communities through a community conversation, where members of the CRP led a discussion on how preserving and engaging in heritage helps promote socio-ecological resilience. Findings were also presented at three annual Labor Day Skipjack Race Festivals.


The CRP was also very active at project workshops, particularly in identifying and prioritizing socio-ecological services and key vulnerabilities and resiliences. Through this CRP, DIPP provided equipment and technical assistance to Skipjack Heritage, Inc. to support their efforts to document and organize photos and printed materials related to heritage.

Flooding & Shoreline Erosion CRP

The focus of the Flooding and Erosion CRP reflected stakeholder interests and concerns about periodic and infrequent severe flooding linked to storm events and erosion vulnerabilities. It's objective was to enhance knowledge and relationships between stakeholders in order to address these risks

and enhance resilience to ongoing and future flooding and erosion. The CRP consisted of state outreach and management professionals, researchers, Sea Grant Extension and members of local non-governmental organizations. It was unfortunately unable to consistently recruit members of the Deal Island area communities, although local residents engaged in the CRP's work through their participation in workshops and community conversations.

The CRP organized two community conversations. The first community conversation provided an opportunity for local community members to engage with a planner from the Maryland Department of Environment who is responsible for administering the National Flood Insurance Program. This event provide residents with the opportunity to learn about changes in FEMA flood maps used to assess risks for Somerset County. This CRP organized a second community conversation where the Emergency Management personnel from Somerset County provided community residents with emergency evacuation and shelter capabilities and preventative practices that the community could undertake in preparation for the next event. Members of this CRP were also instrumental in the project's submission of a NFWF proposal to address the impacts of Hurricane Sandy. The work of this CRP significantly contributed to the development of the Integrated Coastal Resiliency Assessment in 2016-18.

Marsh Restoration​ CRP

The Marsh Restoration CRP integrated the rich knowledge, expertise, and experiences of stakeholders involved in the project in order to better understand the cultural, economic, and ecological values and services that the area's marshes provide, as well as to improve marsh research, restoration, and management. The


CRP included community members, state agency personnel who work in the area's marshes, academic researchers engaged in ditch-drained marsh restoration, and non-governmental organization representatives. In addition to meetings during project workshops, the CRP conducted a field tour of a local impoundment and proposed living shoreline site on the Deal Island Tangier Sound shoreline, where stakeholders were able to share their knowledge and beliefs about the marshes. The CRP also conducted two interviews with local stakeholders to improve understandings of historical changes to the area's marsh landscapes. Research on marsh history will be expanded in future work. The CRP also led a community conversations on “The Ecology and Future of the Deal Island Area Marshes” to share knowledge and insights on marsh resilience with the broader stakeholder network. Through the Marsh Restoration CRP collaborations, team members developed long-term goals to guide future project work as it relates to marsh restoration, including:

  • Enhance understandings of the causes of marsh loss

  • Enhance understandings of declining marsh functions as a result of degradation and loss over time

  • Prioritize restoration activities based on community and stakeholder needs

  • Identify available marsh restoration techniques and funding resources 

  • Conduct marsh restoration component of the Coastal Resiliency Assessment (described below)

  • Better understand how marsh restoration may help property values, insurance, etc.

Collaborative Research Projects (CRP)
bottom of page