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May 8, 2013

State of Maryland and Department of Defense Partner to Protect Coastal Resources

by Martha
State and Federal leaders sign the MOU

State and Federal leaders sign the MOU

The State of Maryland and the Department of Defense (DoD) today entered into a first-of-its-kind agreement to work together to protect and enhance Maryland’s coastal resources, in a signing at the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis. The Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) outlines how DoD facilities and projects will meet the federal law requirements of the Coastal Zone Management Act to ensure that their actions affecting these resources are consistent with State policies

“I want to thank our federal partners for joining us in our goal of strengthening and revitalizing our State’s watershed through the efficient and sensitive management of our coasts,” said Governor Martin O’Malley. “This partnership helps us strike a better balance between people and nature, ensuring the Chesapeake Bay’s ecosystem ─ including birds, fish, wildlife, waterways and shorelines ─ maintains the resources it needs to thrive.”

This landmark agreement clarifies and simplifies how federal consistency ─ a provision of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Coastal Zone Management Act ─ applies to DoD facilities and projects in Maryland. The Act was established in 1972 to help states manage and protect coastal resources, allowing all elements ─ such as outdoor recreation like swimming and fishing, living and natural resources, and combat-readiness training and engineering projects ─ to successfully coexist.

This partnership builds on an already solid working relationship between the State and the Federal government. Governor O’Malley has met several times with representatives from the Navy and EPA in efforts to better engage the State’s military in Chesapeake Bay Restoration, enhance collaboration, track military efforts through BayStat, and make technical assistance from the State available to Maryland’s military bases.

“The Department of the Navy has a strong partnership with Maryland. This Memorandum of Understanding continues that important legacy,” said Donald Schregardus, Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Navy (Environment).

The MOU will likely serve as a national model for other coastal states that seek better coordination with DoD.

“This agreement between three Department of Defense agencies and Maryland about how to meet the requirements of the Coastal Zone Management Act is a first for any state,” said Russell Callender, Ph.D., acting deputy assistant administrator for NOAA’s National Ocean Service. “NOAA hopes to use this as a model for other coastal states to consider. We appreciate that everyone involved wants to improve collaboration and coordination and meet national security, military readiness and resource protection objectives.”

More information on Maryland’s Coastal Policies is available at dnr.state.md.us/ccp/coastal_policy.asp.

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