Coastal Flooding & Solutions, Workshop Case Studies

Envisioning a Resilient Pacific Northwest Coast: Co-developing alternative futures for adaptation planning and decision-making

Location: Tillamook County, OR; Grays Harbor County, WA

Submitted By: Peter Ruggiero - Oregon State University

Project URLs:;;

Project Description

Sea level rise, changing storminess patterns, and development have exposed coastal communities to chronic coastal change and flooding hazards and decision makers often lack tools for developing adaptive capacity to increase resilience. Through sustained engagement with coastal stakeholders in the Pacific Northwest, we are co-developing an alternative scenario modeling tool (Envision) to explore adaptation strategies for reducing vulnerability to coastal hazards based on a variety of drivers of change. Envision is a spatially explicit multi-agent platform supporting scenario-based planning to examine feedbacks between the coupled human and natural coastal system. Probabilistic simulations of extreme total water levels, long-term coastal change projections, and storm-induced beach and dune erosion allow us to capture the impacts of SLR, wave climate variability, and ENSO under a range of climate change scenarios. Additionally, we are exploring co-developed alternative futures related to policy decisions and socioeconomic trends. Co-developed policy scenarios include: ‘Status Quo’ (continuation of present day policies), ‘Hold the Line’ (policies that resist environmental change in order to preserve existing infrastructure and human activities), ‘Re-Align’ (policies, including managed retreat, that change human activities to suit the changing environment), and ‘Laissez-Faire’ (existing policies are relaxed such that protecting infrastructure takes precedent over the protection of coastal resources, public rights, etc.). We are quantifying the impact of both policy scenario narratives and climate change scenarios on a range of stakeholder defined metrics.

Key Successes

Through sustained engagement with Coastal Futures Knowledge to Action Network (TCCF KTAN), we co-developed a suite of alternative scenarios for exploring adaptation strategies for reducing vulnerability to coastal hazards based on a variety of drivers of change.


Conveying results of high dimensional data

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