Focus Areas


Select a topic below to learn more about our focus areas.

Agriculture Finance Unit

The Agriculture Finance Unit of the Environmental Finance Center provides innovative and effective finance expertise to rural communities and farm operations to improve their understanding, development and implementation of strategies to resolve problems and issues of environmental protection and restoration.  For the Chesapeake Bay watershed, there is particular focus on nutrient and sediment management, water quality, Watershed Implementation Plans, natural resource conservation, and sustainability.  In 2012 the main endeavor is a set of demonstration projects for thermochemical processing of poultry litter to produce heat and electricity.

Stormwater Finance and Outreach Unit

Effectively managing stormwater is one of the greatest challenges faced by communities throughout the Chesapeake Bay region.  Like all infrastructure, stormwater management systems, including low impact development practices, require long-term care and maintenance.  As communities struggle to best allocate limited resources, stormwater management systems are frequently overlooked until an emergency occurs, costing millions in damages and repairs, or until a mandate forces a community to take action. The Stormwater Financing and Outreach Unit was created to address a community’s stormwater financing questions and help craft a strategy that best meets local needs.

Air Quality

Along with harming human health, air pollution can cause a variety of environmental effects such as: acid rain, eutrophication, haze, effects on wildlife, ozone depletion, crop and forest damage, and global climate change.


Sustainable Maryland Certified (SMC) is a new initiative of the Environmental Finance Center at the University of Maryland (EFC) designed to support Maryland's 157 municipalities as they look for cost-effective and strategic ways to protect their natural assets and revitalize their communities. Using best practices in resource areas like water, energy, planning, health, food, and economy, a municipality can earn points toward sustainability certification. 

Green Infrastructure

Green Infrastructure is our Nation's natural life support system - a strategically planned and managed interconnected network of green spaces such as wetlands, forests, parks, and farms.  Green Infrastructure is "open space with a purpose" that, like other infrastructure, should be an integral part of government budgets and management programs. It supports native species, maintains natural ecological processes, sustains air and water resources and contributes to the health and quality of life for America's communities and people.

Climate Change Mitigation and Adaptation

The best available scientific evidence indicates global climate change is currently altering our coastal, aquatic, and forest ecosystems. This environmental change is spilling over into the human domain as more intense storms stress our municipal stormwater infrastructure, prolonged heat events limit crop production, and insurance companies reassess rates on coastal property. The surest way to meet this global challenge is to control what we can by taking local action.  The Environmental Finance Center at the University of Maryland helps municipalities, institutions of higher education, and other Mid-Atlantic organizations plan for the challenges of climate change head-on through mitigation and adaptation assistance.