Please note: These future potential impacts are based on the best information we have to date.

Agriculture Industry
  • Wetter fall and winter seasons may slow the start of the growing season and increase the need for drainage infrastructure.
  • Drier summer conditions may create longer growing seasons that would increase the need for irrigation wells.
  • Crops that once flourished in Pierce County may be replaced by crops that weren’t previously viable here.
  • Farmland is not protected from low-density rural development, so population growth could threaten the viability of the agricultural land base.
Aquaculture & Fisheries
  • Ocean acidification will reduce shellfish survival in the wild. It will become very difficult for sea creatures with shells to recreate in the wild.
  • Less food lower on the food chain will make survival more difficult for fish and top-of-the-food-chain species like killer whales.
  • Warmer river temperatures can be lethal to salmonids. Warmer ocean temperatures can also harm salmon survival.
  • Climate refugees moving to the area will likely provide new markets for the construction industry. More infrastructure will be needed in the form of new housing, businesses, roads and commercial facilities.
  • Older buildings will need to be retrofitted for more intense storms with more precipitation.
  • There will be an increase in structures damaged by severe weather events and the need for increased shoreline armoring and structure elevation because of sea level rise.
Clean Energy
Clean Energy & Green Building
  • Products and buildings that minimize the use of fossil fuels will become industry standards.
  • Energy efficient and sustainability driven products are likely to see an increase in demand in the future.
  • Pierce County’s low-carbon hydropower will be a huge advantage in lowering the carbon footprint of buildings and eventually in bringing new businesses to our region.
  • Pierce County mostly lacks these clean energy and green building jobs today.
Forestry & Landscaping
  • Trees and plants will need to be drought tolerant to survive in Pierce County.
  • Many native plants will fail to survive summer droughts.
  • Increased carbon sequestration in buildings could increase the value of timber but those gains could be mitigated by increased forest fire risk.
  • The forestry industry will need to plan for wildfires and take steps to reduce forest fuel that can lead to potential forest fires.
Human health
Human Health
  • Vulnerable populations will be exposed to more heat, more flooding and diseases that are currently uncommon in our region.
  • Forest fire smoke will likely be an increased threat from local and regional fires from neighboring states, Canada and even Russia.
  • Cleaner vehicles like electric cars could improve air quality year round in cities and along highways.
  • Customers will likely pay higher premiums for the same level of coverage for various types of insurance.
  • Increase in severity of flooding will increase the need for flood insurance.
Low-lying areas
Low-lying Homes, Businesses & Habitat
  • Sea level rise will threaten homes, businesses and decrease the value of coastal habitat in low-lying areas.
  • Increased likelihood that storms will cause local flooding, increasing landslides and erosion.
  • Sea level rise could start flooding during high tides and storm surges in the coming years.
Real estate
Real Estate
  • Climate Refugees and people with financial capacity may move to this area from other regions.
  • Property values are likely to increase because people will move here for the comparably mild weather.
  • Waterfront homes on Puget Sound will become less valuable as they start to deal with frequent flooding issues related to sea level rise.
  • Warmer summers could extend the tourism season in Pierce County.
  • Less snow and reduced wildlife might decrease the aesthetic beauty of the region.
  • More closures of iconic Parks like Mt. Rainier are possible due to flooding and road blocks.
  • Extended summer wildfire smoke could reduce tourism in the summer months.