WSG News Blog

New guide from the Washington Coastal Resilience Project helps coastal planners use the latest sea level rise data

July 9, 2020 


  • The Washington Coastal Resilience Project team – a collaboration between the state’s Department of Ecology, the University of Washington Climate Impacts Group and Washington Sea Grant – are releasing How to Choose, a guide to support the use of available sea level rise data in coastal planning and decision making.
  • The authors of this guide will lead a webinar on July 21 to provide an overview of the guide, discuss a case study and lead a Q & A period.

Fostering resilience to rising seas requires more than sea level rise projections alone. Coastal decision makers are faced with questions datasets can’t answer, such as, “Do I need to plan for what the coastline will look like in 20 years, 50 or 100? What level of risk am I willing to take given the problem I’m facing?”

Since publishing the report, Sea Level Rise in Washington State – A 2018 Assessment, members of the Coastal Resilience Project team have received ongoing inquiries from residents, local governments and other experts about how to use the data. Their new guide, How to Choose, will help coastal planners, engineers, climate adaptation specialists and other decision makers understand the various sea level rise data subsets and how to use them to make sound decisions for their particular project and community.

The guide will help users make three critical choices when using sea level rise data: selecting an appropriate time frame, weighing the probabilities of different sea level rise projections against the risk, and choosing whether to consider projections that assume a high or low level of future greenhouse gas emissions.

“Decision makers are working to ensure our coastal communities and habitats are not just functional and vibrant now, but will continue to be for decades to come,” Crystal Raymond, lead author of the paper and climate adaptation specialist at the Climate Impacts Group, says. “Improving access to sea level rise data can help them in this vital work.”

The guide is part of a suite of resources developed by the Coastal Resilience team. It is designed to accompany the sea level rise data visualization, developed by the Climate Impacts Group and Tableau and released in 2019, and other resources located on the Washington Coastal Hazards Resilience Network website.

“Our goal is to get the right tools and knowledge into the hands of local and state practitioners to help them move the dial on coastal community resilience,” says report author Nicole Faghin, a coastal management specialist at Washington Sea Grant. “This guide along with the sea level rise data visualization gets us farther down the road.”

Tuesday, July 21, Faghin will host a webinar from 10 to 11:30 a.m. to walk through the guide, provide case studies, and respond to questions. Raymond and Harriet Morgan, also from the UW Climate Impacts Group, and Bobbak Talebi, Ecology, will also present.

To RSVP for the webinar, visit:

The webinar also will be recorded and shared on the network’s website.

Read How to Choose here:

How to Choose is part of the Washington Coastal Resilience Project, a three-year effort funded in 2016 by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. The project was led by the Washington State Department of Ecology and Washington Sea Grant with partner UW Climate Impacts Group. Funding was provided by NOAA Regional Coastal Resilience Grants Program, grant #NA16NOS4730015.


Nicole Faghin, Washington Sea Grant,, 425.327.1036
Harriet Morgan, UW Climate Impacts Group,, 206.685.4068


Washington Sea Grant, based at the University of Washington, provides statewide marine research, outreach, and education services, helping people understand and address the challenges facing our ocean and coasts. The National Sea Grant College Program is part of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, U.S. Department of Commerce.

Since 1995, the University of Washington Climate Impacts Group has worked closely with federal, tribal, state, and other partners across the Pacific Northwest to prepare for and manage the local impacts of a changing climate. CIG is widely recognized for scientific discovery and as an experienced creator of impartial and actionable science.