Oxford Town Office with rain barrel out front (left) and pole with markings for water level
so cars know how high the water is at the end of Pleasant Street in Oxford (right)

Project Summary

In 2012, the Environmental Finance Center was selected by the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation to provide technical assistance on Oxford’s stormwater management. Over the course of the one-year project, EFC and project partners provided educational outreach and analytical assistance to address recurring stormwater and tidal driven flooding.

The Town of Oxford is located in Talbot County on the Eastern Shore of Maryland.  It is situated on the Tred Avon River and intersected by Town Creek, and lies within the Lower Choptank watershed segment draining directly into the Chesapeake Bay. Oxford has approximately 650 full-time residents that more than doubles in size during the summer months. Oxford is small in size covering only 513 total acres.  The highest elevation in town is at 11 feet above mean high water with many parts of town falling between 4-10 feet above sea level.  The majority of Oxford is located in a floodplain, therefore, is low-lying land frequently exposed to flooding caused by tidal and rain events resulting in recurrent flooding in many areas of town. Stormwater and tidal concerns are closely linked issues that cannot be easily separated when exploring potential solutions to manage stormwater in the town of Oxford.

The study finds that stormwater infrastructure and shoreline management are inseparable and must be part of a unified solution – stormwater infrastructure to store and convey rainfall or tidewaters, and shoreline management to address the reality of sea level rise. While some preliminary engineering solutions were evaluated, the chief recommendation from the study is for Oxford to adopt a local stormwater and shoreline protection fee that will raise the revenue necessary to invest in water management infrastructure such as constructed wetlands and stormwater pumps. Chesapeake Bay health and flood-related pollution runoff are also addressed in the study.       


The Town of Oxford, Chesapeake Bay Foundation, GMB, LLC, Preservation Green, LLC, Eastern Shore Land Conservancy, University of Maryland Agricultural Extension


National Fish and Wildlife Foundation

 Related Documents

♦ Oxford Summer Stormwater Series Flyer

♦ Presentation of Findings and Recommendations to Oxford

♦ Final Report – Stormwater and Flood Management Financing Study

Stormwater Financing Case Study: Oxford, MD


In January, 2014, 3rd year Masters of Landscape Architecture students Robyn Edwards, Amy Marin, Elisabeth Walker, Nancy Britt, Adriana Mendoza, Travis Wierengo and Dr. Victoria Chanse were awarded first place for the Maryland Sustainable Growth Commission’s Challenge for their submission, “Design and Planning in the Face of Sea Level Change and Stormwater Issues on Maryland’s Eastern Shore: Approaches to Social and Economic Resiliency & Environmental Stewardship in Oxford, Maryland.” The students looked at the combined effects of sea level rise, storm surge and stormwater in their design responses over varying timeframes and sites within Oxford, Maryland. This project was also part of a collaboration with the Environmental Finance Center as part of it’s work with the Town of Oxford.

♦ Oxford: Select Landscape Design Project


♦ Oxford, Maryland Addresses Climate Change at Local LevelInternational Policy Digest, August 2, 2014

♦ Oxford Sets Tone for Addressing Flood RisksThe Star Democrat, June 13, 2014

Oxford starts stormwater management fund, The Star Democrat, May 20, 2014 

♦ Oxford prepares for future stormwater infrastructure updates, The Star Democrat, September 25, 2013

For more information, contact Sean Williamson at srw46@umd.edu or 301-405-8259.