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NCCOS Publishes Social Vulnerability Assessment in Support of Sea Level Rise Planning in Puget Sound  

Published on: 04/13/2022

Coastal communities are increasingly vulnerable to climate-driven impacts, such as sea level rise (SLR) and coastal erosion. To address these risks in the Puget Sound region of Washington State, Washington Sea Grant and Coastal Geologic Services (CGS) are leading a SLR vulnerability assessment. In support of this effort, NCCOS researchers partnered with Washington Sea Grant and CGS to develop a complementary social vulnerability assessment for communities within the Puget Sound region.

Using methods derived from NCCOS’s vulnerability assessment framework, NCCOS social scientists identified and assessed social vulnerability at the Zip Code Tabulation Area level within the Puget Sound drainage basin. The team used a secondary data approach to identify seven components of social vulnerability that include themes such as diversity, income, education, age, isolation, access to social services, housing, life satisfaction, and belonging. Collectively, these comprise a composite social vulnerability index that can be used to inform restoration activities and other uses by the Puget Sound Partnership and regional stakeholders by identifying areas where co-benefit of adaptation, mitigation, and environmental justice may occur.

Beyond its integration within the larger vulnerability assessment, the maps and data generated through this assessment can be used as stand-alone products to inform other efforts in the Puget Sound region and offer tools for communities and other users to summarize needs and advocate for resources for environmental justice and adaptation in the face of climate change and SLR.

To learn more, visit the project page.

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NCCOS delivers ecosystem science solutions for stewardship of the nation’s ocean and coastal resources to sustain thriving coastal communities and economies.

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