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Climate Change Preparedness Plan for the North Olympic Peninsula

Sascha Petersen, Sascha Petersen, Jacob Bell, Ian Miller, Cindy Jayne, Kate Dean, and Matt Fougerat
Created: 9/24/2015 - Updated: 1/24/2019

Abstract

It is increasingly apparent that the global climate is rapidly changing and that these changes will affect the people, ecosystems, economy, and culture of the North Olympic Peninsula. The most noticeable impacts will likely include:

  • A diminishing snowpack lowering the region’s summer river flow and extending the summer drought season;
  • Shifts in the timing and type of precipitation, creating rain on snow events and unseasonably high stream flows that scour river bottoms and flood low-land areas;
  • Ongoing sea level rise driving coastal flooding, saltwater inundation, and enhanced shoreline erosion;
  • Extended warm temperatures which result in increased river water temperatures, enhanced wildfire risk, decreased soil moisture, and stressed forests through disease and insect outbreaks; and
  • Increasingly corrosive ocean waters (i.e. ocean acidification) from the ongoing absorption of human emissions of CO2.

These changes will affect the natural resources and livelihoods of the people of the North Olympic Peninsula, as well as the entire regional economy.

Climate change exerts its influence on human lives both directly (from extreme weather events) and indirectly (through ecosystem shifts and associated impacts to the natural and built environment). This Plan utilizes a regional planning perspective to understand and prepare for Climate Change’s impact to Ecosystems, Water Supplies, and Critical Infrastructure on the North Olympic Peninsula.

Keywords

Target Climate Changes and Impacts: 
Air temperature
Culture / communities
Flooding
Habitat extent
Infrastructure damage
Precipitation
Public health risks
Public safety threats
Sea level rise
Snowpack
Storms or extreme weather events
Water temperature
Type of Adaptation Action/Strategy: 
Capacity Building
Increase / Improve public awareness, education, and outreach efforts
Host adaptation training or planning workshop
Create stakeholder engagement processes to develop and implement adaptation strategies
Infrastructure, Planning, and Development
Governance and Policy
Create new or enhance existing policies or regulations
Develop / implement adaptation plans
Climate Type: 
Temperate
Sociopolitical Setting: 
Urban
Rural
Suburban
Industrial