Storms. Floods. Droughts. Wildfires. … We face these natural hazards today, and climate change will worsen them tomorrow. Fortunately, we can reduce our risks, respond to impacts, and remain resilient. This is a guiding principle of the Thurston Climate Adaptation Plan — a concerted effort to help Thurston County and the broader South Puget Sound region prepare for and adjust to climate change.
Climate models project warmer, wetter winters and hotter, drier summers for our region through the end of the 21st century. The warming is projected to shift the timing, type, and intensity of precipitation — all of which have a trickle-down effect on snowpack, runoff, streamflow, groundwater, and other crucial components of the hydrologic cycle: Picture winters in the 2050s with less snow across our highlands and more flooding along our rivers. And while our summers might feel more Californian, such warmer and drier days will raise the risk of algal blooms, wildfires, disease outbreaks, heat illnesses, and other hazards.
Climate change will continue to affect our human and natural systems in myriad ways tomorrow, so we must begin adapting today. It’s the socially, fiscally, and environmentally responsible thing to do.
The plan — adopted in early 2018 — recommends 91 adaptation actions for the public- and private-sectors. Many actions are new to the region, while other actions build on work we’re already doing. Please read on to learn what you can do personally and what your community can do collectively to become more resilient.
We have one planet but many climate solutions, so let’s get to work.