Millions in federal funds are to be spent in Maryland to help protect Smith Island, Crisfield and other coastal communities from devastating flooding like that caused by last year's Superstorm Sandy.
Interior Secretary Sally Jewell announced Thursday her department would dole out $162 million for 45 restoration and research projects to help Atlantic coast communities fend off storm surges and rising sea level. The restoration projects focus on shielding marsh and wetlands at wildlife refuges, but studies are to be funded that would improve flooding and storm resilience of coastal communiites as well.
In Maryland, $9 million would go to building a "living" shoreline to protect marshy Martin National Wildlife Refuge on the northern end of Smith Island, Maryland's only remaining occupied Chesapeake Bay island. Nearly $1.6 million would be spent for shoreline and marsh protection at Eastern Neck National Wildlife in Kent County.
Another $1.2 million is earmarked for removal of dams in Centreville on the Eastern Shore and in Catonsville. Smaller grants will go to restoring wetlands at Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge and on Pocomoke Sound near storm-battered Crisfield.
A full list of the projects can be found here.