Annapolis leaders, along with county and state officials, are planning a fact-finding visit to the Netherlands. Their objective is to observe and learn from the Dutch ways to develop resilience infrastructure, flood defenses and alternative transportation methods to adapt to the impacts of climate change.
Over the next week, the group will visit resilience infrastructure such as the Maeslant Storm Surge Barrier, the Noordwaardpolder flood and farming zones and an in-dune parking garage at Katwijk aan Zee. The group will visit Rotterdam, Delft, and Zuid-Holland/Zeeland on their trip, according to Mitchelle Stephenson, spokesperson for the city.
Much of the Netherlands is beneath sea level. For generations, the Dutch have employed protective barriers to fend off water. Likewise, in Maryland, communities such as Annapolis and those around the Chesapeake Bay are confronted with challenges created by climate change.
Annapolis Mayor Gavin Buckley and Maryland Secretary of Planning Rebecca Flora will lead the group.
“Annapolis is facing significant resilience challenges in the years ahead,” Buckley said in a statement. “We have an incredible opportunity to see and learn from the world leaders in flood protection; resilience infrastructure; alternative transportation and sustainable economic development.”
City Council members Karma O’Neill of Ward 2, Brooks Schandelmeier of Ward 5, DaJuan Gay of Ward 6 and Rob Savidge of Ward 7 — all Democrats — will be among those traveling to the Netherlands.
With a majority of the voting members of the City Council on the trip, the city is taking steps to ensure it is in compliance with Maryland’s Open Meeting Act.
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“The city has provided the agenda for the tours and will take daily notes as well as video recordings of meetings. Both the written summaries/minutes and the videos will be made available to the public,” Stephenson said in an emailed statement.
In addition to elected city officeholders, several other officials will make the trip: Sara Bender, director of the Maryland Department of Emergency Management Disaster Risk Reduction; Annapolis City Manager Mike Mallinoff; and Tanya Asman, bicycle and pedestrian planner for the Anne Arundel County Department of Transportation.
The group departs Saturday and returns Nov. 18. The trip is funded through a mixture of grant funds including $7,000 from the International City/County Management Association and $1,000 from the Baltimore Metropolitan Council; private donations; $20,000 from the Denker Foundation; and $34,000 from city funds allocated in the 2024 budget for special programs, education and training.
Each participant contributed $5,000 toward the trip, according to Stephenson.
Last year, a delegation from the Netherlands came to Annapolis to discuss resiliency efforts and learn about Annapolis flood mitigation plans and the structure and purpose of the Annapolis and Anne Arundel County Resilience Authority.
With the mayor out of town, Alderwoman Eleanor Tierney, a Ward 1 Democrat, will be acting mayor.