Abstract Title

Session S-05H: Planning for Coastal Hazards, Climate Change and Sea Level Rise in Washington State

Proposed Abstract Title

Planning for Climate Change on Bellingham's Downtown Waterfront

Keywords

Shorelines

Location

Room 607

Start Date

1-5-2014 10:30 AM

End Date

1-5-2014 12:00 PM

Description

The Port of Bellingham is guiding the redevelopment for 237 acres of Bellingham’s downtown waterfront. The long-term vision for this former heavy industrial mill site is a new mixed-use neighborhood, featuring residential, commercial, light industrial and institutional uses, as well as parks, trails and a healthy shoreline. The master plan for Bellingham’s waterfront is one of the first generation of plans to analyze the potential impacts of global climate change over the next 50 to 100 years and proactively factor this analysis into the site design. For purposes of planning, the Port used research from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and the Climate Impacts Group at University of Washington which estimated the sea level in Bellingham Bay could rise between 4 and 52 inches from 1990 to 2100. To address the potential impacts of global climate change, the Port developed different redevelopment strategies for different areas of the waterfront based on criteria which includes the value and life-span of infrastructure and development features, and the cost and natural resources required for implementation. In areas of the waterfront to include high value infrastructure and development features with an expected life span of over 100 years, site elevations will be raised two to six feet along the shoreline and streets will be raised a minimum of ten feet to help protect the public and private investment from the long-term effects of predicted global climate change. In areas of the waterfront reserved for water-dependent marine industrial uses and recreational boating, the infrastructure and development features are well suited to application of an adaptive management approach. Marine industrial uses are best designed to operate efficiently relative to actual sea level and the required infrastructure is lower cost with a shorter design life. An adaptive management strategy will provide greater certainty regarding the degree of protection required at any given time and avoid unnecessary resource use and environmental impacts (e.g., fill placement within aquatic areas) except where required by observed sea level changes and trends.

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May 1st, 10:30 AM May 1st, 12:00 PM

Planning for Climate Change on Bellingham's Downtown Waterfront

Room 607

The Port of Bellingham is guiding the redevelopment for 237 acres of Bellingham’s downtown waterfront. The long-term vision for this former heavy industrial mill site is a new mixed-use neighborhood, featuring residential, commercial, light industrial and institutional uses, as well as parks, trails and a healthy shoreline. The master plan for Bellingham’s waterfront is one of the first generation of plans to analyze the potential impacts of global climate change over the next 50 to 100 years and proactively factor this analysis into the site design. For purposes of planning, the Port used research from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and the Climate Impacts Group at University of Washington which estimated the sea level in Bellingham Bay could rise between 4 and 52 inches from 1990 to 2100. To address the potential impacts of global climate change, the Port developed different redevelopment strategies for different areas of the waterfront based on criteria which includes the value and life-span of infrastructure and development features, and the cost and natural resources required for implementation. In areas of the waterfront to include high value infrastructure and development features with an expected life span of over 100 years, site elevations will be raised two to six feet along the shoreline and streets will be raised a minimum of ten feet to help protect the public and private investment from the long-term effects of predicted global climate change. In areas of the waterfront reserved for water-dependent marine industrial uses and recreational boating, the infrastructure and development features are well suited to application of an adaptive management approach. Marine industrial uses are best designed to operate efficiently relative to actual sea level and the required infrastructure is lower cost with a shorter design life. An adaptive management strategy will provide greater certainty regarding the degree of protection required at any given time and avoid unnecessary resource use and environmental impacts (e.g., fill placement within aquatic areas) except where required by observed sea level changes and trends.