State Parks Shoreline Vulnerability Assessment and Climate Adaptation
Herrera supported the Washington State Parks and Recreation Commission (Parks) by completing a sea level rise and erosion vulnerability assessment of infrastructure in all coastal state parks. Parks manages a complex range of infrastructure, buildings, utilities, and amenities that are being impacted by flooding and erosion intensified by sea level rise. The multi-disciplinary Herrera team -- which included geomorphologists, engineers, ecologists, planners, and geospatial specialists -- combined field visits and geospatial analysis to assess current and future exposure to flood and erosion hazards.
Herrera led workshops with Parks staff to identify guiding principles, solicit input on the proposed methodology, and prioritize the list of parks for additional analysis. Herrera analyzed all parks with marine shorelines by compiling existing geospatial data on site conditions relevant to climate-related hazards, such as geomorphic shoretypes and wave exposure, and developed inundation models using the most recent digital elevation models and relative sea level rise projections for each park and selected planning horizons. Herrera then developed flood, wave run-up, and erosion hazard polygons based on that analysis, and intersected hazard polygons with park infrastructure. Herrera conducted a field inventory of priority parks with the most vulnerable infrastructure and sites where additional data collection was necessary to characterize the vulnerability, including investigating elevation of key infrastructure tied to known benchmarks. This information was housed in a GIS database and web based StoryMap that Parks will use, in combination with the Implementation Plan, to prioritize actions needed to proactively address the impacts of climate change and reduce long-term maintenance and operation costs. Deliverables included opportunities to enhance park resilience through restoration and nature-based solutions and adaptation designs. This strategic initiative underscores a commitment to sustainable stewardship of Washington State's marine shorelines, serving as a model for resilient adaptation in the face of environmental change.