Commerce awards $2.1 million in grants to help 27 communities plan for climate change
Projects will develop vulnerability assessments and identify measures for reducing vehicle miles traveled and greenhouse gas emissions
OLYMPIA, WA — The Washington State Department of Commerce has awarded $2.1 million in growth management planning grants to help King, Kitsap, Pierce and Snohomish counties, and multiple cities within each county, plan for local impacts of climate change.
Proposals from the 27 communities awarded funding, reveal a wide range of creative approaches and work. For example, Bainbridge Island will use preliminary GIS mapping to assess their vulnerability to flooding associated with sea levels rising applying the USGS Puget Sound Central Storm Modeling System. Renton will develop and adopt a vehicle electrification action plan to support electric vehicle policy and charging infrastructure investments. Deeming it a huge step at the local level, Eatonville will work on a community engagement process for incorporating climate change into their comprehensive planning.
“We are excited to see the variety of work by these counties and cities to proactively assess and address local impacts of climate change on residents, businesses and the environment,” said Commerce Director Lisa Brown. “Embracing intentional climate-related planning for growth today strengthens communities for the future.”
As a part of their 10-year planning cycle required under the Washington Growth Management Act, communities were asked to identify or implement measures to reduce per capita greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions or vehicle miles traveled (VMT), or perform a vulnerability and risk assessment based on science-based climate predictions. This grant funding was provided through Commerce’s Growth Management Services program to encourage and support that work. Climate related planning is not currently required under the GMA.
Grant funds were drawn from the 2022 Washington Legislature’s $10 million appropriation to support communities in their comprehensive plan periodic updates. Up to $100,000 for counties and up to $80,000 for cities was available through a competitive process for the current state fiscal biennium.
Commerce reported high interest in the grants, although funding was limited only to communities covered in the first round of required GMA periodic updates due beginning in 2024. Continued support for climate planning grants to communities aiming for the 2025 update round and subsequent years will require new action by the Washington Legislature.
Learn more about Commerce climate programs related to the GMA at Climate Change – Washington State Department of Commerce.