Acting on climate change impacts

Climate change is already having adverse impacts on our communities and the resources we enjoy and depend on. As we take steps to address the cause of climate change, it is also important to prepare for, respond to, and recover from the impacts.
The boardwalk at Billy Frank Nisqually National Wildlife Refuge, during a king tide showing high levels of sea water nearly up to the deck.

The boardwalk at Billy Frank Nisqually National Wildlife Refuge, Nisqually, Wash., during a king tide. Image courtesy of Washington King Tides. 

We are responding

Acting on climate change impacts is core to our mission. By taking action now to changing climate conditions, Washington can significantly limit the damage and reduce the long-term costs of the climate related impacts that are expected to grow in number and intensity in the decades to come.
Addressing the impacts of climate change is complex, wide-ranging, and requires action on multiple levels. Climate change will affect resource management in a variety of ways, which touch on a number of the management authorities and programs within our agency. Each of our programs play an active role in collecting technical information, oversight and management of decisions, offering guidance and training, and providing resources to support on-the-ground improvements.

Partnerships are critical to the success of our efforts,which include:
  • Research and assessment
  • Shoreline and coastal management
  • Ocean chemistry
  • Wetlands
  • Toxic cleanup
  • Water supply
  • Water quality
  • Human health

Working across agencies

In recognition of Washington’s vulnerability to climate change impacts, the Washington State Legislature has directed state agencies to develop this integrated climate change response strategy to enable state and local agencies, public and private businesses, nongovernmental organizations, and individuals to prepare for, address, and adapt to the impacts of climate change.

Gov. Gregoire’s May 2009 executive order (09-05) reinforced this requirement. Preparing for a Changing Climate: Washington State's Integrated Climate Change Response Strategy (2012), has served as a guide for agency direction in recognizing and strengthening partnerships.
Agencies have continued to improve coordination and collaboration to address climate impacts. The Interagency Climate Adaptation Network convenes representatives to share information and best practices. The group also organizes events to showcase examples of state agency climate adaptation projects, identify opportunities to strengthen the state’s climate readiness, and spark ongoing interactions about advancing adaptation within and across agencies.