Climate Resilience and Shoreline Management

Climate change is impacting shorelines throughout Washington. For example, sea level rise is shifting the shoreline inland, and natural hazards like flooding and wildfire are becoming more frequent and severe. These impacts are disproportionately felt by those who are most vulnerable and facing systemic inequities. Assessing the impacts of climate change and determining how to adapt are central questions for shoreline management. The decisions we make now will determine how resilient shorelines and the communities that rely on them are in the future.

How do we support climate-resilient shoreline planning?

  • Updating requirements for shoreline master programs
  • Planning guidance
  • Shoreline planning grants
  • Technical assistance
  • Climate resilience at Ecology

New requirements for shoreline master programs

We are working to develop new requirements for how local governments will address the impact of sea level rise and increased storm severity in shoreline master programs. See our rulemaking page to learn more, and sign up for our email list to stay informed.

Climate resilience planning guidance

The goals, policies, and regulations that local governments establish in comprehensive plans and shoreline master programs are important tools for adapting to climate change.

Shoreline planning grants

We provided funding to local governments to support shoreline planning. During the 2021-2023 and 2023-2025 biennia, we ran a competitive grant program to support locally initiated projects. Several of these projects focused on climate resilience, including sea level rise vulnerability assessments, channel migration studies, and adaptation planning. Learn more about this program here.

Technical assistance

Our staff is available to assist with climate resilience questions as well as shoreline planning and permitting. Please contact shoreline management headquarters staff or the regional planner serving your city of county government.

Climate resilience at Ecology

Responding to climate change is a priority for our agency, and shoreline management is just one area of focus. We work in partnership with communities, local and Tribal governments, and state and federal agencies to enhance resilience to natural hazards that impact people and ecosystems. We are currently updating the state's Climate Resilience Strategy, which will guide state agency actions in the coming years. We are working to build our capacity to provide direct support to communities, develop and invest in partnerships, monitor shoreline change, and secure funding to implement resilience projects statewide.

Resources for learning more

Our partners provide many helpful resources for learning more about climate change, sea level rise, and climate hazards: