Thurston Climate Adaptation Project Overview

In late 2015, TRPC received a grant to develop a watershed-based plan with adaptation actions that the Thurston County region’s (Thurston Region) public- and private-sector stakeholders could take to reduce, prepare for, and cope with projected climate change impacts in the decades ahead.

The state Department of Commerce is responsible for administering the grant funding over the project’s two-year period, which concludes in early 2018.

The planning area encompasses three watersheds that overlay northern and eastern Thurston County and drain into Puget Sound (See Map); these watersheds — defined by the Washington Department of Ecology as Watershed Resource Inventory Areas (WRIAs) — include Nisqually (WRIA 11), Deschutes (WRIA 13), and Kennedy/Goldsborough (WRIA 14). It is likely, however, that many actions developed as part of this plan will be applicable to all of Thurston County and the broader Puget Sound region.
A March 2016 king tide event inundates downtown Olympia’s Percival Landing and Sylvester Street. Sea-level rise is expected to raise the risk of coastal flooding associated with such high-tide events.

Project Map

Project Tasks

The planning work entails:

  • Researching and summarizing climate change projections for the region.
  • Assessing climate change vulnerabilities, risks and impacts.
  • Developing adaptation strategies and actions.
  • Conducting benefit-cost analyses.

Project Team

The project team — composed of TRPC and Thurston County staff members — is working with two advisory committees to review and refine project materials: a Scientific Advisory Committee, composed of subject specialists from local tribes and universities; and, a Stakeholder Advisory Committee, composed community of representatives from local municipalities, nonprofits and other entities.

The project team will update local jurisdictions periodically, engage the general public, and then seek final TRPC policymaker adoption of the plan. Like TRPC’s Sustainable Thurston plan, the Thurston Climate Adaptation Plan will include a menu of strategies and actions for human and natural systems, as well as identify leads and partners.

Contact Us

  1. For more information contact:

    Mike Burnham
    Senior Planner

    Thurston Regional Planning Council
    2424 Heritage Court SW
    Suite A
    Olympia, WA 98502
    Ph: 360-956-7575