Priority Actions for Pierce County and Partners
Priority Actions
for Pierce County and Partners
Pierce County should prove to be more resilient to climate change than many places throughout the United States and across the globe. We do have some major challenges that need to be tackled immediately and the resilience work will only intensify as our climate changes over time. Planning now can save county taxpayers tens of millions of dollars and will prioritize human safety and well being for decades to come.
Early Action
(0–3 years)

1
Lead department: Executive's Office, Planning & Public Works
Work with local partners to plan for the impacts of climate change across Pierce County. A partial list of local partners should include, City of Tacoma, Port of Tacoma, Pierce Conservation District, BNSF, JBLM, the Puyallup, Muckleshoot and Nisqually Tribes. The Puget Sound Climate Preparedness Collaborative is an important regional partner.
2
Lead department: Planning & Public Works
Make sure new stormwater infrastructure, retrofits and roads projects are built to handle larger storms with more precipitation. It is incredibly expensive to rebuild outdated infrastructure, so we need to make sure these systems are sized correctly the first time.
3
Lead Departments: County Council, Executive, Planning & Public Works
Continue to seek funding to move people out of frequently flooded areas and continue to give rivers more room to move through levee setback projects. Pierce County has an excellent flood plan and is leading the State with integrated floodplain management but the size and scope of the funding need is extreme at well over $200 million dollars.
4
Lead Department: Human Services
Work with the Tacoma- Pierce County Health Department to better understand how we can limit health issues related to climate change. Examples include plans for the effects of exposure to prolonged wildfire smoke, and vector-born diseases made worse by warmer weather and water.
5
Lead Department: Planning & Public Works
Work with local tribes and other partners to increase tree canopy around streams and increase low impact development. Consider code changes to increase tree planting, care and retention.
6
Lead Departments: Executive, Facilities, Finance, Planning & Public Works
Reduce use of fossil fuels, advance electric transportation options and continue to work to reduce wood smoke (black carbon) that is speeding up the loss of Mt. Rainier glaciers. Study the viability of one or two electric ferries for the Steilacoom to Anderson Island to Ketron island route.
7
Lead Department: Planning & Public Works
Continue to educate the public about areas that are prone to landslides. Ensure County regulations protect human safety with the most updated information possible.
8
Lead Departments: Executive, Parks & Recreation, Planning & Public Works
Develop a plan for how Pierce County can help residents deal with increased heat with cooling centers, spray parks and other cooling mechanisms. Ensure each department has an extreme heat plan for County employees that work outside in the summer time.
9
Lead Department: Planning & Public Works
Work with partners to find funding to improve culverts and remove salmon barriers like the Chambers Creek Dam.
10
Lead Departments: Emergency Management, Facilities, Parks, Planning & Public Works
Develop a plan to limit wildfires at County-owned properties.
Long Term Action
(4–10 years)

1
Lead Department: Finance, Planning & Public Works
Study the potential for increased funding needs for County departments that will be affected by the impacts of climate change and ensure adequate funding is available to meet those demands without service interruptions.
2
Lead Department: Planning & Public Works
Develop a long-range plan for low lying roads and infrastructure (areas within 2–3 feet of current high tides).
3
Lead Departments: Economic Development, Planning & Public Works
Reach out to our Fishing and Aquaculture interests to support their efforts to better understand Ocean Acidification and potential improvements we can make at the County level.
4
Lead Departments: Emergency Management, Facilities, Parks & Recreation, Planning & Public Works
The County will continue to expand upon Firewise training by planning and carrying out Firewise workshops in high hazard areas of Pierce County in collaboration with local fire districts, homeowners, developers and others.