ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) — Preservationists worried about keeping U.S. colonial history above water have scheduled a conference in Annapolis, Maryland.

The Newport Restoration Foundation is holding the conference this fall, as it focuses on developing solutions for sea level rise in coastal communities and raising awareness about the problem.

“To us, this is a real threat,” said Wendy Nicholas, the foundation’s interim executive director, noting flooding threats to colonial structures in Newport, Rhode Island. “We ignore it at our peril.”

Communities need to start planning now, Nicholas said, because solutions take a lot of time and money to put in place.

Maryland’s capital is home to historic features in its downtown area near a waterfront susceptible to flooding. All four of Maryland’s signers of the Declaration of Independence had homes in Annapolis that are still standing. The city’s historic district is characterized by a baroque street plan of circles and diagonal streets. The Maryland State House served as the nation’s capital between November 1783 and August 1784.

The foundation chose Annapolis, because the city has an initiative aimed at mitigating flooding problems that pose future risks to property due to rising tides. The Colonial Annapolis National Landmark District includes about 147 historic buildings. The district is a registered national historic landmark.

“Heritage tourism is a major revenue producing opportunity for our businesses, for our local and for our state economy, and why we need to ensure that the historic district is resilient against both the shorter-term issue of nuisance flooding and the longer-term concern for sea level rise,” said Lisa Craig, chief of historic preservation for the city of Annapolis.

The conference is scheduled for Oct. 29 through Nov. 1. The foundation’s first conference was held last year in Newport, Rhode Island.

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