Hazard mitigation for coastal infrastructure

Coastal Hazard Planning: The Role of Governance in Community Resilience

Researchers examine legal and policy factors affecting a coastal community’s ability to move vital infrastructure out of the way of tsunamis and other natural hazards.

Principal Investigator

Clare Ryan, UW School of Environmental and Forest Sciences


Washington’s coastal communities face a wide range of natural hazards, from periodic storms, landslides and erosion to potentially catastrophic tsunamis and the long-term challenges posed by climate change. Many communities have begun to develop plans for mitigating hazards, reducing vulnerability, building resilience and protecting critical facilities. But implementing them requires coordinating budgets, capital expenditures and other activities across various organizations. Little previous research has examined this collaborative hazard-mitigation process on Washington’s coast. This project will seek to determine what factors facilitate or hinder the implementation of hazard-mitigation plans in Washington. It will combine quantitative surveying and qualitative case studies to develop a multidimensional picture of local hazard planning, the factors that support and constrain it and the roles that incentives and perceived risk play in building resilience. Disseminated through various forums and electronic and official media, these findings will deepen coastal communities’ hazard awareness and resilience.