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Connecting People, Innovation and Opportunity May 21-23 in Cambridge

Blizzard Sunset by Karen McDonald

TheMaryland Department of Natural Resourcesand University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science will bring together more than 200 local officials, business and industry leaders, resource stakeholders and users, scientists, and federal and state agency experts for Maryland’s firstState of the Coastconference.

The event takes place May 21-23 at theHyatt Regency Chesapeake Bayin Cambridge.

“As we all know the health of our coasts, which span 3,190miles, is intractably linked to the health of our economy, environment and society,” Maryland Natural Resources Secretary Mark Belton said.

“Ourcoastal communities are challenged like never before, confronted with the new realities of climate change, nuisance flooding, saltwater intrusion, sea level rise and severe storms. Now is the time for Maryland to lead, both in words and in actions, so our businesses, communities and residents are prepared and well-positioned for a more resilient, secure and sustainable future. This inaugural conference will be a catalyst for change.”

Maryland’s State of the Coast will consist of two and a half days ofpresentations by leading expertsin concurrent sessions, keynote presentations and workshops. Topics will explore the wide variety of resource management issues and opportunities facing state and local decision makers and how to ensure resources, and the communities that rely on them are resilient now and into the future.

Discussions will focus on the state’s oyster restoration efforts in the Chesapeake Bay, stream restoration partnerships and projects, empowering climate-resilient communities through ecosystem enhancements, and working with waterfront communities, industries and others. The state will also announce the creation of the Climate Leadership Academy, which seeks to develop, prepare and train local officials on climate-related challenges, opportunities and risks.

“To successfully respond to these challenges it takes a community – government, landowners, and business – to pull together toward a common vision for the future,” University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science President Dr.Peter Goodwin said. “This common vision should be informed by the best available scientific knowledge from our agencies, universities and the private sector.”

Conference speakers will include executives and principals from The Nature Conservancy,U.S. Department of Agriculture,Oyster Recovery Partnership, Association of Climate Change Officers, among private and public sector leaders and officials. Maryland Governor Larry Hogan will welcome the conference attendees by video.

Registrationis limited but still available atmdstateofthecoast.org. Anyone with questions about the State of the Coast conference should contactChesapeake and Coastal ServiceDirectorMatthew Flemingat 410-260-8719.