Together with the The Nature Conservancy and the Puget Sound Partnership, we are re-thinking our approach to floodplain management. At the heart of the Floodplains by Design approach is the simple idea that complex problems – like managing floodplains in the face of climate change – are solved by working together. We coordinate state and federal investments with locally driven solutions, and we believe each river reach has its own best solutions designed by the people whose lives and livelihoods are connected to the floodplain.
Shoreline natural hazards management
Washington’s 28,000 miles of marine coastline and freshwater stream, lake, and river shorelines provide the basis for thriving economic and social life in communities across Washington and throughout the country. Natural hazard threats, however, are a growing reality for everyone working, living, or visiting the state's dynamic shoreline areas.
What we do
We work to enhance Washington’s resilience to natural hazards in state coastal and shoreline areas. We pursue this mission through core activities designed to avoid or minimize the impacts natural hazards can have on communities and natural resources by:
- Leading floodplain management in Washington by offering planning and project resources to communities.
- Surveying Washington's coastlines to monitor coastal erosion and sediment movement through time.
- Assessing stream channel migration to help communities avoid risk to lives, homes, and infrastructure.
- Supporting informed policy and regulatory decisions with coastal landslide guidance and planning assistance.
- Understanding climate change and sea level rise impacts to help address vulnerable communities and resources.
- Helping coastal communities plan to avoid and minimize the impacts of a catastrophic incident.
- Providing emergency flood-related assistance to local governments through our Flood Control Assistance Account Program and Washington Conservation Corps.
Natural hazards such as flooding, landslides, river channel migration, beach and bluff erosion, and sea level rise are having adverse effects on Washington communities and resources — something climate change will only intensify. Communities also face the potential threat of a catastrophic earthquake and tsunami.
In this context, resilience is a community's ability to thrive in the present, adapt to hazard challenges, and transform as necessary to meet future threats and opportunities.
Enhancing resilience to natural hazards is complex, wide-ranging, and requires action on multiple levels. We collaborate with communities, local and tribal governments, and other state and federal agencies to leverage the information and resources needed to take action.
When disaster strikes
We work with communities after an emergency and provide resources for small-scale responses through our Washington Conservation Corps and Flood Control Assistance Account Program.
In Washington, county governments are responsible for leading the response to incidents. For the latest news and information on how to get assistance during an emergency, please contact the State Emergency Management Division or contact your local emergency management office.
If you are in a disaster and believe life or public safety is threatened: Call 9-1-1
WCC response and recovery support
Our Washington Conservation Corps (WCC) is an AmeriCorps program that provides assistance to communities during and after a disaster. WCC crews can deploy to assist with flood response efforts, including installing sandbags, operating pumps, clearing debris, and more. Requests for assistance must be routed through the city or county emergency management office, and local jurisdictions can seek emergency grant funding for flood-related assistance through our Flood Control Assistance Account Program.