Investigating the Intersection of Flood Risk and Environmental Justice in Maryland


Considering the implications of environmental justice, we sought to identify areas of Maryland with high socio-economic vulnerability, flood risk, and environmental risk to assess whether emergency preparedness policies in these areas were effective. We characterized this disparity based on a review of hazard mitigation policies in areas of Maryland that were susceptible to flood risk and toxic release. Our first phase of research determined which counties met our criteria of containing low-income, minority populations and being subject to flood risk. With the use of GIS technology to visualize pollution risk factors, we chose various counties in Maryland to use as our focus of comparison. The second phase analyzed emergency management plans for flooding and hazard mitigation policies of the selected counties. In our third and final phase, we interviewed officials or related personnel in the emergency preparedness policies and practices to gain a better understanding of the reality of their implementation. We found that Baltimore City, Dorchester County, Anne Arundel County, and Prince George’s County had high-risk factors for flooding and socioeconomic vulnerability and had less comprehensive emergency plans. Additionally, we found that the explicit mention of environmental justice was not a priority of most plans, creating space for future improvements and research.


Gemstone Team E-JUSTICE