Our inspiration for this project is to support the efforts to deal with the growing threat of saltwater intrusion to food production and water quality. Sea-level in Maryland is expected to rise 1-2 feet by 2050. According to a team of researchers from the University of Maryland, George Washington University and University of Delaware, 1400 acres of farmland in Somerset County was converted to tidal marsh from 2009-2017, which means that 2% of the farmland was lost in 8 years. As coastal flooding encroaches on farmland, there is an increasing need for solutions that promote resilience to coastal plain communities.
What it does
This database will function as a Clearing House for Saltwater Intrusion. It will provide farmers and other stakeholders with information of what is known regarding land management recommendations in case your land is affected by saltwater intrusion, policy development in the State of Maryland, data sources (i.e. Chesapeake Bay Datahub, sea level rise predictions by Maryland Sea Grant), adaptation strategies to improve soil health and lessen the effects of saltwater intrusion in the short term, and research articles about this topic.
Challenges we ran into
The main challenge we faced was that we were not familiar with the Saltwater Intrusion topic before this Makeathon. We had to do a lot of research to find out what resources and tools are already out there. Even though the lack of familiarity with the topic was a challenge, it also gave us an opportunity for us to learn and ask questions to experts in the field. We had a Q&A session which gave us a great opportunity to assess if our project idea would be a valuable tool to farmers.
Accomplishments that we're proud of
We are proud of being able to contribute to the efforts to mitigate the social and environmental effects of Saltwater intrusion. We hope the idea for this database will become a valuable tool for farmers seeking for guidance and resources in order to adapt to saltwater intrusion.
What we learned
We learned that there is a lot of information out there regarding saltwater intrusion, but farmers may not be familiar with it and may not to know available options and useful resources that could help them deal with this threat to the coastal plain communities.
What's next for A Decision-making tool for Saltwater Intrusion in Maryland
A fully developed database that will be a one stop shop for both research and potential alternatives for farmers looking to adapt or accommodate to saltwater intrusion.