Baltimore Harbor

Baltimore’s Inner Harbor is a hub of tourist activity, with an aquarium, museums, historic ships, restaurants, and hotels all clustered near the waterfront.

McNeilly: “We are, here in Baltimore, like in many cities, very dependent on the economic activity around our shoreline.”

Lisa McNeilly is director of sustainability for the city. She says the Inner Harbor faces major threats from sea-level rise and flooding.

So Baltimore is taking action to protect its shoreline, and the homes and businesses along its waterways.

For starters, the city is requiring new properties to exceed the federal standard for building in flood-prone areas.

McNeilly: “In most cases, we require that development in these special flood hazard areas be elevated an additional two feet above that base flood elevation.”

To help defend against storm surge and heavy waves, the city plans to elevate waterfront barriers in the areas most at risk, and to add shoreline plants to help absorb floodwater.

But the only way to protect Baltimore’s shoreline in the long term is to limit global warming. So McNeilly says the city also plans to make the pollution cuts called for in the Paris Climate Agreement.

Reporting credit: Mark Knapp/ChavoBart Digital Media.

Bruce Lieberman

Bruce Lieberman, a long-time journalist, has covered climate change science, policy, and politics for nearly two decades. A newspaper reporter for 20 years, Bruce worked for The San Diego Union-Tribune...