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Seattle Public Utilities - Utility Discount Program

2020

In recent years, Seattle Public Utilities (SPU), which is the city’s water utility and provides drinking water and wastewater treatment, has strongly emphasized community engagement and equity issues through the creation of a variety of organizations and programs. One organization, Connect Capital, which is comprised of SPU staff and members of a community foundation and a community organization, advises SPU on how to ensure that the benefits of future  investments are equitable and address climate threats to those at risk of displacement. One result of Connect Capital’s encouragement is SPU’s investment in infrastructure in frontline communities, such as the South Park Neighborhood. Another equitable initiative under SPU is the Utility Discount Program, under which seniors, persons with disabilities, and low-income customers receive a reduction in their water and electricity bills. Households with incomes at or below 70% of state median income pay only 50% of their SPU bill. Further still, SPU’s Environmental Justice and Service Equity Division aims to promote inclusive community engagement and collaboration.

Related Organizations: Seattle Public Utilities

Resource Category: Solutions

 

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Case Study: Homestead Community Land Trust - King County, Washington

July 26, 2020

In Seattle and King County, Washington, the Homestead Community Land Trust (Homestead CLT) is helping to preserve existing and build new affordable housing that incorporates green design features. The CLT currently stewards 13 acres of land with more than 200 homes for low- and middle-income homeowners earning 80 percent or less of area median income (AMI). Recent projects have incorporated green design features to increase the sustainability of land trust homes. The CLT is currently building twelve “net-zero” energy townhomes in area Renton, WA near transit, which will reduce both energy and transit costs for homeowners and help the region meet greenhouse gas reduction goals.

Related Organizations: Homestead Community Land Trust

Author or Affiliated User: Jessica Grannis

Resource Category: Solutions

 

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Quileute Tribe of La Push Relocation, Washington State

The federally recognized Quileute Tribe of La Push in northwest Washington is implementing a phased approach to managed retreat in response to climate change impacts of sea-level rise, increased flooding, and storm surge from tsunamis. Specifically, the Tribe is seeking to relocate its school, senior center, government buildings, and future housing above the Tribe’s one-square-mile reservation on the Pacific coast, currently at sea level. The Quileute Tribe’s community engagement processes and planning strategies may provide transferable lessons for other state and local jurisdictions considering similar questions of coastal retreat. 

Related Organizations: Quileute Tribe

Resource Category: Solutions

 

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Managing the Retreat from Rising Seas — King County, Washington: Transfer of Development Rights Program

July 15, 2020

The King County Transfer of Development Rights (TDR) Program in Washington State uses a unique market-based tool to achieve long-term planning goals and incentivize development in strategic areas that can be coupled with other legal and policy tools as a part of comprehensive coastal retreat strategies. King County created the TDR Program in response to state growth area management requirements and objectives. Participating local governments designate two areas "sending areas" — typically farmland, forest, open space, or priority natural resources areas — where they want to limit new development; and "receiving areas" in mostly urban areas where existing services and infrastructure can accommodate growth. Landowners in sending areas can sell their development rights to project proponents in receiving areas who can then use those rights to increase the size or density of a development project. Between 2000 and July 2019, 144,290 acres of rural and resource lands were conserved and protected through the King County TDR Program. The King County TDR Program provides one example of how several types of land acquisition programs and funding sources can be leveraged to achieve the benefits of both conservation and new, more resilient development. In a managed retreat context, TDR Programs modeled after King County can be used to preserve lands for ecological benefits through conservation easements, while ensuring new development is concentrated in areas that are less vulnerable to flooding and coastal hazards, such as sea-level rise and storm surges. This case study is one of 17 case studies featured in a report written by the Georgetown Climate Center, Managing the Retreat from Rising Seas: Lessons and Tools from 17 Case Studies.

Resource Category: Law and Governance

 

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Managing the Retreat from Rising Seas — Quinault Indian Nation, Washington: Taholah Village Relocation Master Plan

July 15, 2020

Quinault Indian Nation (QIN), a federally recognized tribe located in Washington state, is currently implementing a phased relocation plan as part of a managed retreat strategy in response to the impacts of sea-level rise, flooding, and concerns about the increased likelihood of tsunamis and storm surges attributed to climate change. In 2017, QIN adopted the Taholah Village Relocation Master Plan that outlines a vision and development plan for relocating a portion of QIN living in the Lower Village of Taholah to a higher ground location in the Upper Village Relocation Area. The Master Plan contains eleven chapters covering the history and the need to relocate, goals and principles of the plan, and different aspects of the Upper Village blueprint including appropriate community facilities, housing, infrastructure, culture, sustainability, and resilience. It also sets forth implementation steps for the project through phasing, necessary regulatory changes, and funding. QIN developed the Master Plan with significant community input. The community engagement processes and sustainable planning strategies can provide transferable lessons for other state and local jurisdictions considering similar questions of strategic planning for coastal retreat and relocation, even on a smaller scale. This case study is one of 17 case studies featured in a report written by the Georgetown Climate Center, Managing the Retreat from Rising Seas: Lessons and Tools from 17 Case Studies.

Resource Category: Planning

 

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Floodplains by Design

Floodplains by Design (FbD) is a private-public partnership led by The Nature Conservancy, the State of Washington Department of Ecology, and the Puget Sound Partnership aimed at reducing flood risk and restoring habitat - for salmon recovery and other needs - to Washington state’s major river corridors. Floodplains by Design works to help communities collaborate across entire watersheds to adapt to increasing flood events and benefit the natural environment simultaneously. FbD coordinates state and federal funding for local solutions, facilitates integrated floodplain management, and supports large-scale, multiple-benefit projects that protect, restore, and improve the resiliency of floodplains across the state.

Related Organizations: The Nature Conservancy (TNC), Washington State Department of Ecology, Puget Sound Partnership

Resource Category: Solutions

 

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Safeguarding Our Lands, Waters, and Communities: Washington Department of Natural Resources’s Plan for Climate Resilience

February 2020

This 2020 publication from Washington State’s Department of Natural Resources (DNR) outlines the ways in which climate resilience can aid the State, and how the department aims to advance climate resilience. Topics discussed include DNR’s current roles, goals for implementation, equity and tribal considerations, and the challenges and opportunities within various resource-specific sectors. DNR aims to advance climate resilience through management of the lands and water they oversee, internal changes within their own agencies and programs, and coordinating with partner organizations. 

Related Organizations: Washington State Department of Natural Resources

Resource Category: Planning

 

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Washington Coastal Resilience Project

2019

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.

Related Organizations: Washington State Department of Ecology, Washington Sea Grant, Climate Impacts Group (CIG), The Nature Conservancy (TNC)

Resource Category: Data and tools

 

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Clean Air Centers in Seattle, Washington

June 2019

The City of Seattle, Washington is establishing five new facilities that will provide clean air for its most at-risk residents during hazardous conditions brought on by wildfires. As the climate warms, Seattle is experiencing a major uptick in the number of wildfires, and consequently more days with unhealthy air quality from particulate matter. This issue is especially significant for Seattle, as the majority of the city’s residents do not have air conditioning, and mostly open windows to circulate air from outside to cool homes.

Related Organizations: City of Seattle, Washington

Resource Category: Solutions

 

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Washington State Natural Disaster and Resiliency Activities Work Group

May 13, 2019

On May 13, 2019, Governor Jay Inslee of Washington signed into law Substitute Senate Bill (SSB) 5106. The bill mandates the establishment of a Natural Disaster and Resiliency Activities Work Group, chaired by the Office of the Insurance Commissioner, tasked with reviewing disaster resiliency activities in the state and making recommendations to the legislature and governor on whether an ongoing disaster resiliency program should be created. The Work Group is noteworthy for its focus on coordinating state-level activities related to disaster mitigation in a changing climate and for its emphasis on learning from the activities and coordination efforts of other state, federal, public, and private organizations.

Resource Category: Law and Governance

 

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