This page provides an overview of the steps Washington is taking to prepare for the impacts of climate change.

In 2009, the Washington State Legislature required state agencies to reduce emissions and develop an integrated climate change response strategy (State Agency Climate Leadership Act). The act required the departments of ecology, agriculture, community, trade, and economic development, fish and wildlife, natural resources, and transportation to collaborate to develop a strategy in order to support the efforts of state and local agencies, businesses, NGOs, and individuals in preparing for and addressing climate change impacts. The Department of Ecology was directed to compile the initial strategy using information from other agencies and include a summary of Washington’s vulnerability to impacts from climate change, solutions that could be taken within and across agencies, and recommendations for funding and other resources.

In April 2012, the Department of Ecology released the final adaptation plan, Preparing for a Changing Climate: Washington State’s Integrated Climate Response Strategy. The 2012 plan integrates and builds on recommendations previously provided by 4 advisory groups made up of a wide variety of stakeholders in a number of sectors. 

The 2012 plan provides an overview of climate change indicators, trends, and future projections in Washington, including those related to temperature, precipitation, extreme weather events, rising sea level, ocean acidity, wildfires, and flooding.  There are separate chapters for each sector: built environment, infrastructure, and communities; human health and security; ecosystems, species, and habitats; and natural resources. The chapters include a summary of the anticipated impacts of climate change within each sector and goals (referred to in the plan as strategies and actions) to address anticipated impacts. The 2012 plan also includes goals  to advance research and monitoring and public awareness of climate change.

Washington is in the process of implementing the goals set forth in the 2012 plan.

(Research last updated June 30, 2014; Click here for a description of our methodology.)

The Georgetown Climate Center’s State Adaptation Progress Tracker, which tracks the progress of states in implementing their adaptation plans, is supported by the MacArthur Foundation. 

View State Adaptation Plan Status
View All Completed State Goals

Sector Adaptation Goals in Progress or Completed

Get a quick view of the progress Washington is making to prepare for climate change in different areas below. The first number includes goals in progress or completed in Washington's state adaptation plan.  The second number reflects the total number of goals in each area. For a more detailed look at progress click here or click on one of the sector buttons below. 

Completed Goals from the Agriculture Plan

Completed Goals from the Biodiversity Plan

Completed Goals from the Coasts/Oceans Plan

Completed Goals from the Emergency Preparedness Plan

Completed Goals from the Forestry Plan

Completed Goals from the Infrastructure Plan

Completed Goals from the Public Health Plan

Completed Goals from the Water Plan



State Law and Policy

Resource Name Resource Type Date
Establishing the Washington Coastal Marine and Marine Resources Advisory Councils (2013-14 ESB 5603) Law and Governance July 28, 2013
Washington State Agency Climate Leadership - WA SB 5560 Law and Governance July 26, 2009

State Agency Plans

Resource Name Sector(s) Covered Date
Washington Dept. of Fish and Wildlife Policy 5408: Addressing the Risks of Climate Change Biodiversity and ecosystems, Fish and fisheries, Land management and conservation, Wildlife March 10, 2017
Washington State DOT (WSDOT) Guidance for Project-Level Climate Change Evaluation Transportation January 2017 Update
Washington Marine Shoreline Design Guidelines – Climate Change and Sea Level Rise Considerations Biodiversity and ecosystems, Coastal March 2014
Washington Stream Habitat Restoration Guidelines 2012 – Appendix A: Climate Change Biodiversity and ecosystems, Fish and fisheries, Land management and conservation, Water resources April 2012
Preparing for a Changing Climate: Washington State's Integrated Climate Response Strategy Agriculture and food, Biodiversity and ecosystems, Coastal, Fish and fisheries, Forestry, Land use and built environment, Oceans, Public health, Rural, Transportation, Frontline Communities, Water resources, Wildlife April 2012
Washington State DOT Climate Impacts Vulnerability Assessment Emergency preparedness, Transportation November 2011

Local and Regional Plans

Resource Name Date
King County Strategic Climate Action Plan - 2015 Update November 2015
Seattle City Light Climate Change Vulnerability Assessment and Adaptation Plan 2015
King County, Washington Regional Hazard Mitigation Plan Update November 2014
Jamestown S’Klallam Tribe Climate Vulnerability Assessment and Adaptation Plan August 2013
King County, Washington 2012 Strategic Climate Action Plan December 3, 2012
Forest and Water Climate Adaptation: A Plan for Whatcom County, Washington December 2010
Swinomish Climate Change Initiative: Climate Adaptation Action Plan October 2010
Adapting to Climate Change: Strategies from King County, Washington April 2009
King County, Washington Climate Plan 2007 February 2007
King County (Washington) Executive Order on Land Use Strategies for Global Warming Preparedness March 22, 2006

More Featured Resources

Resource Name Resource Category Date
Washington Shoreline Master Program Handbook: Appendix A – Addressing Sea Level Rise in Shoreline Master Programs Planning December 2017 Revision
Climate Change Impacts and Adaptation in Washington State: Technical Summaries for Decision-Makers Assessments December 2013
Washington State Blue Ribbon Panel on Ocean Acidification Report – “Ocean Acidification: From Knowledge to Action” Planning November 2012
Pacific Northwest Climate Change Vulnerability Assessment Assessments September 2012

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