Washington Coastal Resilience Project

Improving risk communication and leveraging existing programs in Washington State to build capacity and enhance resilience in coastal communities

The Washington Coastal Resilience Project was a 3-year effort to rapidly increase the state’s capacity to prepare for natural events that threaten the coast and establish the Washington Coastal Resilience Network.

Principal Investigator

Penelope Dalton, Washington Sea Grant

Co-Principal Investigators and Team Members

Ian Miller, Washington Sea Grant (WSG); Guillaume Mauger, Climate Impacts Group (CIG); Harriet Morgan, CIG; Brian Lynn, Washington State Department of Ecology;  Nicole Faghin, WSG; Paul Dye, WSG; MaryAnn Wagner, WSG; Karen Morrill-McClure WSG; Chrystal Raymond, CIG, Eric Grossman, US Geological Survey; Bobbak Talebi, Washington State Department of Ecology; Lori Clark, Island County DNR; King County, The Nature Conservancy, Tacoma Metro Parks, City of Tacoma

Project

Coastal flooding, wave damage and shoreline erosion will increase as climate change continues to raise sea levels and create more severe storms along Washington’s coast. Washington’s Coastal Resilience Project was a three-year effort to rapidly increase the state’s capacity to prepare for natural events that threaten the coast. The project improved risk projections and provides better guidance for land use planners and strengthen capital investment programs for coastal restoration and infrastructure. These are the tools that coastal communities need to become more resilient to disasters.

Research

Background

Washington communities have experienced impacts associated with coastal erosion, flooding, landslides, and the looming threat of a catastrophic earthquake and tsunami for decades. While risk assessment has improved with science and technology, local emergency managers and planners have been overwhelmed by 1) Uncoordinated and confusing information about their risk and mitigation measures and 2) The litany of separate but related planning processes to help address impacts on their communities. There has been general recognition among agencies that in order to provide helpful assistance to local governments, a coordinated approach is needed.

Washington State Department of Ecology and Washington Sea Grant responded by establishing the Coastal Hazards Resilience Network (CHRN) in 2013. With seed funding from NOAA, the agencies have partnered to create a structured mechanism to share resources, best available science, tools, best practices and lessons learned among researchers, government agencies, academic institutions and end users. CHRN members attend annual meetings, current events and best practices through the CHRN blog, distribute opportunities for learning and skills development on the listserv, and use the CHRN website for coordinating and disseminating products from multi-partner projects. By maintaining a community of practice, Washington State is moving in a cohesive direction to help address existing and future threats.

Building upon this foundation, the Washington Coastal Resilience Project (WCRP) was funded by NOAA to address concerns about the ability of Washington State coastal communities to respond to the natural weather events that impact their shorelines.

Results

The WCRP team selected CHRN as the ideal portal site to house the many products produced by this prolific undertaking, now located under Sea Level Rise. Other materials may also be found on the Climate Impacts Group site.

The WCRP research team created the Washington Coastal Hazards Risk Reduction Mapper, showing projects that mitigate hazard risks related to erosion, flooding, landslides, and tsunamis.

Another key product of the Washington Coastal Resilience Project is the Projected Sea Level Rise for Washington State 2018 Assessment, which provides an updated set of sea level rise projections that incorporates the latest science, provides community-scale projections, and is designed for direct application to risk management and planning. Climate Impacts Group and Washington Sea Grant, with support from the Washington State Department of Ecology provide instructions on how to use the report in the How To Choose document, and via tutorials originally presented as part of a July 2020 Shoreline and Coastal Planners Group webinar, available here.

how to choose

To see the full suite of products produced for the WCRP go to CHRN/ Sea Level Rise where all final materials are featured.