Those interested in Washington’s coastal issues are invited to join a virtual workshop on Thursday, Jan. 14, from 10 a.m. to noon. The event, hosted by the Washington Coastal Marine Advisory Council, will focus on exploring opportunities to enhance the economic resilience of ocean and marine industries on the state’s Pacific Ocean coast. Register here for the workshop.
Ecology and Cascadia Consulting are working with Forks city attorney and planner Rod Fleck, Ocean Shores Mayor Crystal Dingler, The Nature Conservancy’s Garrett Dala — who also is a member of the Grays Harbor Marine Resources Committee — and Washington Sea Grant coastal economist Dr. Kevin Decker to host a series of virtual webinars and workshops in 2021 to define a collective future vision for economic resilience on the Washington coast. The events are intended to help develop recommendations to better equip communities to address this complex problem.
Washington’s Pacific coast is home to a number of Indian tribes, and a gateway to iconic national treasures such as the Olympic National Park and Olympic Coast National Marine Sanctuary. In addition, coastal ecosystems from Cape Flattery to Cape Disappointment — for which the people are stewards — also support commercial fishing and shipping activities, shellfish growing operations, cranberry farms, and forest resources.
Due to its geographic location, however, Washington’s Pacific coast is on the front line of extreme weather, waves, and ocean changes. The region and coastal residents also are at the epicenter of potentially catastrophic impacts from a Cascadia subduction zone earthquake and tsunami.
These threats are compounded by limited and changing economic opportunities, and emerging issues such as sea level rise and ocean acidification. The COVID-19 pandemic has added to the strain in the state’s coastal communities.
Ecology directly supports the Advisory Council, a statutorily-created board comprised of members representing citizens, commercial fishing, conservation, economic development, education, energy, recreation, recreational fishing, ports, shellfish aquaculture, shipping, and scientific interests. The council advises the Governor, Washington Legislature, and state and local agencies regarding resource management issues on Washington’s Pacific coast.
For almost a decade, the council has collaborated on completing critical projects such as the state’s Marine Spatial Plan. Yet, there has been a continual inquiry about the resiliency of our coastal communities. A 2017 assessment conducted by the William D. Ruckelshaus Center captured how the well-being of communities and the health of the coastal natural environment are intimately linked. The study highlighted the importance of considering how economic prosperity, community health, ecology, infrastructure, and governance all intersect when considering how to improve coastal resilience.
We look forward to active public participation and engagement in helping develop ideas for resiliency for Washington’s coastal communities.