Sea Level Rise

Interactive Story Map

View our Sea Level Rise Story Map for an interactive picture of projected rising sea levels in Olympia.

 

 

The City of Olympia is working with LOTT Clean Water Alliance and the Port of Olympia to develop a comprehensive Sea Level Rise (SLR) Response Plan. The Plan will address the challenges facing our community and protect and preserve downtown amenities, assets, and quality of life for Olympia’s residents and businesses. The SLR Response Plan will analyze options for protecting the downtown area and develop recommendations, implementation schedules, decision-making thresholds, funding needs, and emergency response approaches to address SLR vulnerabilities and risks in the future. 

June 27th Community Meeting Information

The City, LOTT and the Port hosted a Community Meeting on June 27, 2017 to present the Sea Level Rise Response planning process.  The meeting began at 6:30 with staff available to answer questions about the current understanding of sea level rise and past work efforts.  A presentation followed at 7:00 pm focused on the current Sea Level Response planning process, including project approach, schedule, community engagement opportunities and expected outcomes.

The following Story Boards were available for review at the Community Meeting:
•  SLR Basic Science
•  Nuisance Flooding
•  Sea Level Rise Response Planning Process
•  Sea Level Rise Response Planning Summary
•  Why are the City, LOTT and the Port Developing a Sea Level Response Plan?
•  LOTT Clean Water Alliance - Budd Inlet Treatment Plant

Attendees were asked to provide input on “project success” and “project outcomes”. Verbatim written responses received, in no particular order, are available here.

Planning Process Information


There are many sea level rise and flooding related challenges facing the downtown Olympia area. Portions of the downtown are built on fill, shoreline areas are mapped within FEMA’s 100-year coastal floodplain, and high tides can back up into the stormwater system and cause surface street flooding. Downtown flooding issues – both from high tides and intense precipitation – will worsen in the future as a result of SLR. The City of Olympia is working with the LOTT Clean Water Alliance and the Port of Olympia to develop a comprehensive SLR Response Plan to address these challenges and protect and preserve downtown amenities, assets, and quality of life for Olympia’s residents and businesses. The SLR Response Plan will analyze options for protecting the downtown area and develop recommendations, implementation schedules, decision-making thresholds, funding needs, and emergency response approaches to address SLR vulnerabilities and risks in the future.


The City has hired a consultant, AECOM Technical Services, to assist with the development of the SLR Response Plan. AECOM has collaborated with the project partners (the City, LOTT Clean Water Alliance, and Port) to develop a project approach and schedule to carry out the work necessary to develop the plan. The project team will follow an innovative approach and the project tasks will include: data review of prior studies; summary of best available SLR science; defining a SLR planning framework; refining prior vulnerability and risk assessments of the downtown area, including LOTT and Port facilities; identifying options for addressing SLR; developing a response plan that includes actionable next steps, priorities, and phasing; and providing opportunities for community input. The project partners have allocated $250,000 to support this effort which begins in May and continues through 2018.

Project information for the Sea Level Rise Response Plan: 

Development of the SLR Response Plan will include three community meetings designed to obtain feedback and input at specific points during the planning process.
• Workshop 1: Planning Framework and Vulnerability and Risk Assessment
• Workshop 2: Draft Adaptation Strategies
• Workshop 3: Draft Sea Level Rise Response Plan

Project material, when it becomes available, will be shared through this SLR website and interested parties can sign-up for the SLR E-newsletter (see link above).

In addition to the project’s scheduled community workshops, the Project Partners (City, LOTT and Port) intend to pursue additional community engagement opportunities.  If your organization or agency is interested in requesting a SLR presentation please send a request to: searise@ci.olympia.wa.us

Recent presentations summarizing the need to begin planning for SLR and the planning process include:
• February 8, 2017 Responding to Sea Level Rise Community Meeting
• April 11, 2017 Planning for Sea Level Rise City Council Meeting (Interlocal Agreement)
• May 2017 Response Planning for Sea Level Rise (Scope of Work Presentation)

The City of Olympia Comprehensive Plan reflects the community’s vision for the next twenty years, and includes the policies that will make the vision a reality.  The Comprehensive Plan, last updated in 2014, includes the following vision for downtown:

Downtown Olympia Will Be...
• A vibrant, attractive regional destination
• Full of distinctive pedestrian-oriented places and spaces
• A mixture of urban housing options
• A home for a variety of businesses
• A place to connect with our cultural and historic fabric, and
• Protected from the effects of sea level rise.

The Comprehensive Plan includes the following sea level rise goal and policies:
The City uses best available information to implement a sea level rise management plan that will protect Olympia’s downtown. (Goal U 11)
• Evaluate different scenarios for sea level rise, including varying magnitudes and time horizons, and develop a progression of adaptation and response actions for each scenario. (PU 11.1)
• Develop plans, cost estimates and financing options for addressing sea level rise that include regulatory, engineering and environmentally sensitive solutions. (PU 11.2)
• Maintain public control of downtown shorelines that may eventually be needed to help manage flood water. (PU 11.3)
• Incorporate sea level rise planning into the design of public and private infrastructure where needed. (PU 11.4)
• Use the best available science and the experiences of other communities in formulating plans for sea level rise. (PU 11.5)
• Partner with government entities and other key stakeholders, such as, the federal government, State of Washington, LOTT Clean Water Alliance, Port of Olympia, Squaxin Island Tribe, downtown property owners, businesses and residents, environmental groups, and other interested parties. (PU 11.6)
• Engage the community in a discussion of various sea level rise scenarios, how the City will respond to lessen the impact, and what the costs would be. (PU 11.7)
• Require development to incorporate measures, such as higher finished floor elevations, that will reduce risks and avoid future costs associated with rising sea levels; and to encourage acknowledgment of such risks by state and federal agencies. (PU 11.8)

View our interactive Sea Level Rise Story Map for a clear picture of projected rising sea levels in Olympia and the effects on downtown buildings and infrastructure.
Olympia has been concerned with climate change and SLR since 1990.  Since then a series of assessment reports have been prepared.  Previous assessments and reports include:

Questions?

Contact Susan Clark, Senior Planner, at 360.753.8321 or email:  searise@ci.olympia.wa.us

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