Anne Arundel, Annapolis name climate resilience authority interim director

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Anne Arundel County and Annapolis have named an interim executive director for their climate resilience authority, a new agency that will invest in projects to combat climate change.

Dan Nees, a senior fellow with the Center for Global Sustainability at the University of Maryland who has more than 20 years of environmental experience, will be tasked with establishing the quasi-governmental agency. County Executive Steuart Pittman announced the appointment Tuesday at a news conference.


Nees also serves as the director of policy and finance at Throwe Environmental LLC, a group of climate resilience policy and finance experts based in Rhode Island. He and members of the organization will be responsible for setting up the structure and a strategy for the authority’s work before a permanentdirector is chosen.


“Getting this Resilience Authority operating is possibly the most important contribution that my administration is making to the future of our county,” Pittman said in a news release announcing the hire. “Bringing Dan Nees and Throwe Environmental on board to establish the foundation for this organization will ensure that we create the model for jurisdictions who will follow our lead in the coming years.”

Throwe Environmental is led by Joanne Throwe, a former deputy secretary of the Maryland Department of Natural Resources and director of the UMD Environmental Finance Center.

The authority was created in June to oversee and pay for resilience infrastructure projects in Annapolis and Anne Arundel County to protect parts of the county against rising sea levels and other environmental impacts.

The county and city launched a nationwide search for a director in August. Pittman did not announce when a permanent director would be named. Nees said he was chosen after the county went through a formal search and identified a person to fill the position, but the person pulled out at the last minute. A county spokesperson declined to comment on the job search.

“Since I was instrumental in getting the authority established in the first place and have a pretty intimate understanding of the county and the city, they asked me to temporarily fill the role,” Nees said, adding that the agreement is for him to be in the job for about nine months.

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“There is no question there are some very real issues and very real threats that need to be addressed in Anne Arundel County and Annapolis, which is no big surprise given the intimate relationship these communities have with water and the environment,” Nees said in a news release. “Developing this institution, we’ll ensure that every dollar, public or private, invested in the infrastructure in this community is as efficient and effective as possible.”

The county approved $500,000 in funding for staffing and other costs for the authority last year. Next year’s budget includes $1 million to initiate projects to protect private and public infrastructure in the county and city from the effects of climate change, Pittman said.

“We’re looking forward to getting to work, particularly at City Dock and sites in Annapolis that are threatened by sea level rise,” Pittman said.


City Dock is an especially vulnerable spot in the region to the effects of climate change and the city’s project to raise it by 6 feet is “moving forward rapidly,” Annapolis Mayor Gavin Buckley said.

“We cannot ignore sea level rise or catastrophic weather events any longer and we have to realize the cost that comes with them,” Buckley said. “All of us know what that looks like, especially in the City of Annapolis if you’ve ever been there on flooding days.”

After the city experienced record flooding last October, Buckley said this could be an opportunity for the county and city to become national leaders in investing in sustainability.

“It’s something that the rest of the country is going to be looking at how we proceed, and they are going to be copying our model and what better place to do that than in the state capital of Maryland — the City of Annapolis,” Buckley said.