Rising sea level a big concern for Olympia

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by GARY CHITTIM / KING 5 News

NWCN.com

Posted on March 4, 2014 at 7:28 PM

Updated Tuesday, Mar 4 at 8:00 PM

OLYMPIA - Government leaders are sitting down Tuesday night for a first ever discussion of their common threat…rising seas.

Olympia City, Thurston County and Port of Olympia planners acknowledge they are in a precarious position for even modest rising tides. Record tides just over a year ago backed up street sewer outfalls and caused minor flooding through street drains in low parts of Olympia.

Storm surges send Puget Sound waters over bulkheads and swamp downtown city streets during even moderate events.

Olympia is geographically and design challenged when it comes to rising seas. It is situated at the Deschutes River estuary where the river and streams meet the southern end of Puget Sound.

Olympia is surrounded by water and built largely on artificial fill dumped by settlers to create more space for the port and industrial facilities. A scientific analysis shows those are areas where rising sea levels are expected to show up first, making Olympia one of the most threatened waterfront communities in the state.

Port of Olympia Commissioner Sue Gunn said she is happy and relieved to see the City organizing a strategy session. She said until they all start talking about this problem, they cannot have a plan to deal with it.

 

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