Photo by Timothy Pohlhaus/Flickr

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency on Tuesday awarded Maryland $144,202 towards the state’s wetlands program.

Maryland’s coastal wetlands face a serious threat from climate change, and are already experiencing negative effects from sea level rise, storms, and inundation. 

Wetlands – areas such as marshes, swamps, and bogs – serve important functions, like keeping flooding levels lower and breaking storm waves. 

“Wetlands are a primary component of Maryland’s environment, which contribute greatly to the state’s ability to protect water quality and natural resources,” EPA Mid-Atlantic Acting Regional Administrator Diana Esher said in a statement.

“This award focuses on improving shoreline stabilization to help protect Maryland’s 3,000 miles of coastlines that are vulnerable to climate change,” she said. 

The Maryland Department of Environment intends to use the funding to implement a “living shoreline” approach.

Living shorelines are natural infrastructure made up of materials such as plants, rock, or sand. They provide shore stabilization, erosion control, improved water quality, and enhanced habitats for fish and wildlife populations.

Unlike hard structures like concrete seawalls, living shorelines grow over time.

Living shorelines also cost less than hard shorelines, for both installation and maintenance. 

The funding for a living shoreline was provided through the EPA’s Wetland Program Development Grant program.