WSG News Blog

Washington Team Awarded Grant to Build Community Resilience to Coastal Hazards

March 7, 2016

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Office for Coastal Management announced today that Washington Sea Grant will be awarded $879,255 for a three-year project to assist coastal communities in Washington State facing significant risk from the impacts of sea level rise, storm surge and shoreline erosion.

With 3,067 miles of coastline and more than 45 coastal cities, Washington needs to prepare people, infrastructure, and fish and wildlife habitat for these hazards, which is anticipated to worsen over time.

Washington Sea Grant will lead a partnership of state and local managers and scientists to enhance coastal community resilience through research to fill critical information gaps, community pilot projects and revised state guidance and restoration project design. The work will increase understanding of coastal risks and impacts and improve existing planning tools to ensure that new information and approaches are shared with coastal communities across the state.

Washington project partners include the Washington Department of Ecology’s Coastal Zone Management Program, the Climate Impacts Group and other UW departments, U.S. Geological Survey, the Washington Department of Fish & Wildlife’s Estuary and Salmon Restoration Program, Island County Department of Natural Resources, City of Tacoma, Western Washington University and The Nature Conservancy.

The Washington team will work directly with Island County and the City of Tacoma through an iterative and collaborative process to learn what approaches are likely to have broader success across the state, shaping statewide guidance that will help 15 counties in Washington.

“By working together to build on and leverage existing Washington planning and management resources, project partners hope to make real progress in addressing local vulnerability to coastal hazards and changing climate,” said Penny Dalton, director of Washington Sea Grant.

The NOAA Regional Coastal Resilience Grant program supports regional-scale projects, such as this one, that enhance the resilience of coastal communities and economies to effects of extreme weather, climate hazards and changing ocean conditions. With a total of $4.5M this year, NOAA awarded 6 grants for resilience projects throughout the country. During the past two years, 12 projects were awarded out of 132 applications for a total of $9M in NOAA grants, with matching funds coming from project partners.

“The challenges confronting our nation’s coastal communities are incredibly complicated — effective solutions are going to require strong science, ingenuity and collaboration if they are going to safeguard and ensure the future vitality of our economy and valuable natural resources,” stated Dr. Jeffrey Payne, director of the NOAA Office for Coastal Management.