City of Cambridge Comprehensive Plan
The City of Cambridge is located along the south bank of the Choptank River on the eastern shore of the Chesapeake Bay. The City, which covers approximately ten square miles, is the urban center for Dorchester County. Overall the area is relatively low, flat, and divided by a network of tidal streams. The combination of a high water table, poorly draining soils, low elevation, subsidence and sea level rise creates a landscape that is heavily influenced by stormwater. Rain events occurring during high tides often lead to substantial flooding throughout the City.
Biohabitats was asked by a town planning firm to analyze an array of ecological systems and natural resources that influence the City and surrounding areas. Biohabitats identified and assessed natural resources to determine suitability for development without compromising ecological stability and integrity. Biohabitats gathered and analyzed existing data and generated inventory and suitability maps at a regional scale. The maps were reviewed by the public and comments solicited at a stakeholder meeting informed additional assessment at a local (urban core) scale.
Biohabitats’ analysis included: considering the benefits of tidal and non-tidal wetlands; assessing the presence of forest interior dwelling species; evaluating riparian environments; assessing storm surge impacts; determining the role of tree canopy; and evaluating the connectivity of woodland parcels and riparian areas. This suitability analysis resulted in the delineation of potential development and resource protection zones, which informed an update to the City’s comprehensive plan.