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Responding to sea level rise

Washington includes more than 3,300 miles of marine and estuarine coastline along the Pacific Ocean and Puget Sound. Nearly 70 percent of Washington residents live in the 15 counties contiguous to Puget Sound and the Pacific coast, and many are already experiencing the adverse effects of natural stressors. Rising seas increase the risk of coastal flooding, storm surge inundation, coastal erosion, shoreline retreat, and wetland loss.

Addressing the adverse affects associated with sea level rise is complex and wide-ranging, requiring action on multiple scales. We support efforts to adapt to changing conditions by working to understand sea level rise impacts and help address vulnerable communities and resources.

Sea level rise initiatives

There are several ongoing projects and initiatives in Washington to help respond to sea level rise. We work in partnership with many organizations. 

Washington's Coastal Resilience Project

We are working in partnership with Washington Sea Grant and other state and local managers, conservation groups, and academic scientists to build on key investments and rapidly increase the state’s capacity to prepare for disastrous incidents such as flooding, landslides, beach and bluff erosion, stream channel migration, and earthquakes and tsunamis that threaten state coastlines. Check out the Washington Coastal Resilience Project website.

Coastal Training Program Climate Change Adaptation Series

We work in partnership with our Padilla Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve as well as Washington Sea Grant, and UW Climate Impacts Group to provide a sequence of six courses that assist planners and coastal managers by providing guidance, best practices, and resources to address existing and future impacts of shoreline change in Washington. Visit our Coastal Training Program website.

Witness King Tides Project

We work closely with Washington Sea Grant to support the state Witness King Tides Project. The project invites people to visit the shoreline and capture images of important places threatened by sea level rise. Images of king tides help local communities and decision makers understand the challenges of a changing climate.