Presentation Abstract

The majority of the Town of La Conner sits at an elevation (MLLW) of 8-13 feet where over the last number of years Town staff have gone from seeing the baseboards of their overwater business district being reached once or twice every four to five years to being reached four to five times a year. These high water events come at great expense to the Town and leave the Town regularly just shy of a major disaster. The Town of La Conner partnered with the Skagit Climate Science Consortium (including USGS, UW Climate Impacts Group and Western Washington University) and CollinsWoerman to use state of the art modeling of tides, storm surge and sea level rise coupled with an innovative design charrette approach to begin a conversation with the Planning Commission, Town Council, town residents and business owners. The results of the charrette are now feeding into their Comprehensive Plan update process and will also inform a new Capital Facilities Plan. In addition, the conversations stimulated by the design charrette mark the beginning of forging a new vision for this coastal town by its inhabitants. Town leadership and others are turning away from the current paradigm of resistance and leaning into accepting seas. With this new thinking they are exploring how to accommodate these kinds of changes more creatively and with less environmental impact. Thus, the La Conner Design Charrette model and the new scientific information utilized can serve as an example for how others in the Salish Sea can approach understanding coastal changes and create constructive conversations about adaptation in a rapidly changing world.

Session Title

Integrated Coastal Climate Change Modeling for Salish Sea Planning: Part II

Keywords

Climate, Sea level rise, Public policy, Planning

Conference Track

SSE5: Climate Change: Impacts, Adaptation, and Research

Conference Name

Salish Sea Ecosystem Conference (Seattle, WA : 2018)

Document Type

Event

SSEC Identifier

SSE5-507

Start Date

6-4-2018 2:00 PM

End Date

6-4-2018 2:15 PM

Type of Presentation

Oral

Contributing Repository

Digital content made available by University Archives, Heritage Resources, Western Libraries, Western Washington University.

Geographic Coverage

Salish Sea (B.C. and Wash.)

Rights

This resource is displayed for educational purposes only and may be subject to U.S. and international copyright laws. For more information about rights or obtaining copies of this resource, please contact University Archives, Heritage Resources, Western Libraries, Western Washington University, Bellingham, WA 98225-9103, USA (360-650-7534; heritage.resources@wwu.edu) and refer to the collection name and identifier. Any materials cited must be attributed to the Salish Sea Ecosystem Conference Records, University Archives, Heritage Resources, Western Libraries, Western Washington University.

Type

text

Language

English

Format

application/pdf

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Apr 6th, 2:00 PM Apr 6th, 2:15 PM

Using a design charrette and state of the art coastal modeling to support local government adaptation to sea level rise

The majority of the Town of La Conner sits at an elevation (MLLW) of 8-13 feet where over the last number of years Town staff have gone from seeing the baseboards of their overwater business district being reached once or twice every four to five years to being reached four to five times a year. These high water events come at great expense to the Town and leave the Town regularly just shy of a major disaster. The Town of La Conner partnered with the Skagit Climate Science Consortium (including USGS, UW Climate Impacts Group and Western Washington University) and CollinsWoerman to use state of the art modeling of tides, storm surge and sea level rise coupled with an innovative design charrette approach to begin a conversation with the Planning Commission, Town Council, town residents and business owners. The results of the charrette are now feeding into their Comprehensive Plan update process and will also inform a new Capital Facilities Plan. In addition, the conversations stimulated by the design charrette mark the beginning of forging a new vision for this coastal town by its inhabitants. Town leadership and others are turning away from the current paradigm of resistance and leaning into accepting seas. With this new thinking they are exploring how to accommodate these kinds of changes more creatively and with less environmental impact. Thus, the La Conner Design Charrette model and the new scientific information utilized can serve as an example for how others in the Salish Sea can approach understanding coastal changes and create constructive conversations about adaptation in a rapidly changing world.