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DIPP Newsletter  March 2017, Volume 17


Dear Project Stakeholders and Interested Participants, 

Happy St. Patrick's Day! We have a lot to update you on, as you'll see below. First and foremost, thanks to everyone who has filled out a risk assessment worksheet to help us document flooding, erosion, and other issues impacting the Deal Island Peninsula focus areas. We're still collecting these worksheets, and welcome input from anyone who is willing to provide it! Input will help us build the case for procuring additional assistance down the road. Be sure to mark your calendars for Saturday June 3rd, which is when we'll be meeting again to talk about the worksheet findings and identify some potential strategies to pursue. See below for the details. Thanks also to those stakeholders who have filled out the online survey we sent you by email. If you haven't gotten a chance to complete this yet, there's still time! Your input is invaluable for helping us understand how DIPP collaboration works. In addition to project updates, we've include details on several articles of interest, including two that were recently published by Jo Johnson and colleagues, and Liz Van Dolah. As always, feel free to get in touch if you have any questions. 



The DIPP Team

Update on the ICRA Focus Area Activities 

During late January and early February, DIPP convened focus area teams to discuss Dames Quarter, Oriole, the Deal Island shoreline area, and the harbors. These meetings were used to gather additional information on the focus areas and to expand local participation in the ICRA process. To better understand risks facing each focus area, we created risk assessment worksheets to collect household level data on flooding, erosion, and other concerns. This data will be aggregated to create a community-wide picture of risk for each focus area. We are still receiving and compiling information from the risk assessment worksheets over the next month. If you would like to help us build a more complete picture of local risks by filling out a risk assessment worksheet for your property, please email Jo Johnson at


Next Steps:

We will be sharing the focus area risk profiles with you in our May newsletter, as well as at our next meeting, which is scheduled for Saturday, June 3rd- please save the date! On June 3rd, we will discuss these findings and work with the focus area teams for Dames Quarter, Oriole, and the Deal Island shoreline to identify activities or strategies to pursue to reduce risks. These activities may be focused at the household level (e.g., finding assistance to elevate HVAC units) and/or they may be more community-oriented activities such as coordinating ditch clean-outs around the Deal Island Peninsula. If you are interested in attending, please look for additional details in the April and May newsletters. All are welcomed and encouraged to attend!

Looking Ahead:

Over the summer we will help the focus area teams turn the selected activities into proposed strategies to share with the broader Deal Island Peninsula Project network in late summer or early fall. 

DIPP Stakeholders: We Need Your Survey Input! 

Project Stakeholders:   You may have noticed another request for your input on an online survey in your inbox. This is the second of three surveys that are being sent to the DIPP stakeholder network. The information being collected will help us better understand how your relationship to the DIPP network shifts over the course of project activities, and whether your views, understandings, and opinions about resilience and vulnerability shift as well. Many of you may remember receiving this survey in January 2016, and we'd greatly appreciate your input on this second survey! Even if you did not complete the survey in January, we'd still very much appreciate your input. Your feedback will help us demonstrate how collaboration works, and hopefully assist other communities in enhancing their own collaborative planning efforts.


Please follow the link you received from Katherine (Jo) Johnson to access survey. If you need another link or an alternative form, contact Jo ( 240-351-3478). We kindly ask that you complete the survey by March 31st.

Meet a Stakeholder: Kym Kudla


I have been a Planner with Somerset County Planning & Zoning Department since July of 2014. I earned my Bachelor’s degree in Environmental Analysis & Planning from Frostburg State University and my Master’s degree in Environmental Management from University of Maryland. I also became a Certified Floodplain Manager (CFM) in September of 2016. As a Somerset County resident and a frequent visitor to the Deal Island Peninsula, I look forward to working together to protect the area so current and future residents and visitors can enjoy the beauty and heritage rooted in the Deal Island Community.

Update on the Chesapeake Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve (CBNERR) at Monie Bay Activities


In February, DIPP stakeholders Chris Snow and Becky Swerida, MD-DNR, attended a teacher-training day at the Somerset County intermediate school. The training provided an opportunity for them to help area science teachers learn more about what their water quality testing "probeware" can do in the classroom as well as in the field.

The Reserve has also partnered with Somerset County Public Schools, UMES, and NASA Wallops Flight Center to apply for a grant called Shoring Up Resiliency through Education (SURE). If awarded, the grant will help support the Somerset County Public Schools in using Systemic Meaningful Watershed Education Experiences in three grades. The project aims to investigate and build an understanding of how the environment, science, and cultural heritage work together to strengthen communities through the County's youth and their families. We will know whether the project was awarded funding in April. If funded, the project will begin July 1st.


Upcoming Activities and Volunteer Opportunities: 

During the week of April 3rd, CBNERR education staff will be joining Somerset Intermediate School 6th grade science students for a day of estuary appreciation. Students will enjoy Janes Island State Park as they rotate through educational stations on water chemistry, bird watching, oyster & fish investigations, and wetland plant art.

Starting in April, the CBNERR Research and Stewardship fieldwork crew will be out and about in the Monie Bay area marshes collecting data for the 2017 field season. This will include collecting water quality data by boat about once a month from mid-April through October. Recording information like water temperature, dissolved oxygen levels and measuring nitrogen and phosphorous concentrations will help us track the health of Bay. We will also be hiking around the Monie Bay marshes to measure Surface Elevation Tables (SETs) in April and October. SET's are a way of measuring how much material has built up on the surface of the marsh over the past season to see if they are slowly getting higher or lower over time in the long run. If you see us out there, give us a wave or pull over and say hi!

Beginning in May we will also be surveying marsh birds at the Reserve. These birds have a limited range and very specific habitat requirements. Changes in their numbers could indicate a change in habitat quality. If you are interested in learning more about this project or potentially joining us, contact Chris Snow. This volunteer opportunity is perfect for early risers, as the survey starts one-half hour before sunrise. 

“New Grant Established to Help Communities Adapt to Sea Level Rise” (2/15/17)

Maryland DNR has established a new grant program to support the development of coastal resilience in communities impacted by climate change. Governor Hogan has designated $540,000 for FY2018 to support the design of six demonstration shoreline improvement projects around Maryland, and the Deal Island shoreline has been identified as one of these sites! More details available online.




Published Book Chapter: "Vulnerability and Resilience to Climate Change in a Rural Coastal Community"

DIPP team members Jo Johnson, Michael Paolisso, and Brian Needelman recently published a book chapter on social and ecological understandings of vulnerability and resilience in the Deal Island Peninsula area. The book chapter is part of an edited volume titled: Responses to Disasters and Climate Change: Understanding Vulnerability and Fostering Resilience, by Michele Companion and Miriam Chaiken. Their chapter is based on Jo's dissertation research findings, which you can read more about in her summary report.



"Understanding Methodist Heritage Can Inform Planning Climate Futures" (2/23/17)

Read Liz Van Dolah's recent Maryland Sea Grant blog post (under “Fellowship Experiences: A Student Blog”), where she shares her reflections on the importance of Methodist heritage in developing resilience to changing environments on the Deal Island Peninsula. Available online.

Upcoming Event of Interest:  Unsinkable Eastern Shore II: Rural America Responds to Climate Change


Join the Eastern Shore Land Conservancy for a morning of conversation exploring how the Eastern Shore’s communities, businesses, and institutions are already preparing for climate change and where innovation can make the region a statewide and national leader.

  • Date: Saturday, April 1, 9AM-1PM (Doors open at 8:30AM)

  • Location: Eastern Shore Conservation Center (114 S. Washington Street, Easton, Maryland)

  • Registration: ($20 includes breakfast and a copy of John Englander’s book)

  • Keynote Speakers: John Englander, author of “High Tide on Main Street” and Mark Jacobson, founder of The Solutions Project

  • Moderators: Rona Kobell of the Bay Journal

  • More information: Brian Ambrette,

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