Washington Coastal Resilience Project

The Washington Coastal Resilience Project (WCRP), a partnership between the University of Washington Climate Impacts Group, Washington Sea Grant, the Department of Ecology, the Nature Conservancy, and others, produced resources and tools to increase the capacity of communities in Washington state to prepare for sea-level rise. The materials generated through the project include featured data visualizations, tutorials, and guidelines for planning, all of which are designed to better enable the integration of sea-level rise into local planning and investment decisions.

There are two types of data visualizations produced by the UW Climate Impacts Group, both of which allow users to view localized relative sea-level rise (RSLR) projections between 2020 - 2150 for over 171 distinct locations in Washington state. The first visualization allows users to explore the projected sea-level rise by year. The second visualization allows users to explore the likelihood of a certain amount of sea-level rise at a given point in time. These distinct visualization options allow local users to apply the projections in different planning and risk management processes and decisions. 


The tutorials discuss how to select sea level projections while factoring in greenhouse gas emission scenarios, probabilities, timeframes, and locations. These tutorials include: 

  1. “How to Choose and Use the Numbers,” which provides instructions for using the projections and is presented by Crystal Raymond of the UW Climate Impacts Group.
  2. “Visualizing Washington’s Sea Level Rise Projections,” which describes how to use the data visualizations and is presented by Harriet Morgan of UW Climate Impacts Group. 
  3. “Case Study: Owen Beach, Tacoma,” which describes how the 2018 sea level rise projections were applied to a shoreline park’s design and is presented by Nicole Faghin of Washington Sea Grant.

The Washington Coastal Resilience Project additionally produced several documents to inform policymakers and planners, including: 

  • The Extreme Coastal Water Level in Washington State report, which provides guidelines for assessing the magnitude and frequency of extreme coastal water level events in Washington State;
  • How to Choose: A Primer for Selecting Sea Level Rise Projections for Washington State, which guides users in how to select and use these projections for their own projects or particular context;
  • Projected Sea Level Rise for Washington State – A 2018 Assessment, which includes information on the SLR projection methodology;
  • Guidelines for Mapping Sea Level Rise Inundation for Washington State, which aims to assist GIS professionals in developing maps of SLR inundation; and
  • Sea Level Rise Considerations for Nearshore Restoration Projects in Puget Sound, which aims to assist restoration practitioners with identifying SLR impacts relevant for specific restoration actions.

The WCRP was funded through a 3-year coastal resilience grant from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Office for Coastal Management, managed through a partnership among several agencies and organizations participating in the existing Washington Coastal Hazards Resilience Network. The Washington Coastal Hazards Resilience Network (WCHRN) was originally established in 2013 by the Washington Department of Ecology and Washington Sea Grant for the purpose of providing a single authoritative source of data, tools, and support for communities in the state on sea-level rise and other coastal hazards. In addition to the tools and resources produced through the WCRP, the WCHRN provides information and resources on other hazards such as riverine flooding, tsunami, erosion, landslides, and earthquakes.

Publication Date: 2019

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Resource Types:

  • Assessment
  • Assessment guide
  • Climate science
  • Education/training materials
  • Mapping tool

States Affected:


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