The National Science Foundation has funded a multi-institutional team led by Oregon State University and the University of Washington to work on increasing resiliency among Pacific Northwest coastal communities.

The new Cascadia Coastlines and Peoples Hazards Research Hub will serve coastal communities in Northern California, Oregon and Washington. The hub’s multidisciplinary approach will span geoscience, social science, public policy and community partnerships.

The Pacific Northwest coastline is at significant risk of earthquakes from the Cascadia Subduction Zone, an offshore fault that stretches more than 600 miles from Cape Mendocino in California to southern British Columbia. The region also faces ongoing risks from coastal erosion, regional flooding and rising seas due to climate change.

The newly established Cascadia CoPes Hub, based at OSU, will increase the capacity of coastal communities to adapt through community engagement and co-production of research, and by training a new generation of coastal hazards scientists and leaders from currently underrepresented communities.

The initial award is for $7.2 million over the first two years, with the bulk split between OSU and the UW. The total award, subject to renewals, is $18.9 million over five years.

“We’re not thinking only about the possibility of one magnitude-9 earthquake; this effort is about the fabric of hazards over time,” said co-principal investigator Harold Tobin, a UW professor of Earth and space sciences and director of the Pacific Northwest Seismic Network. “The heart of this project is merging physical science and social science with a community focus in an integrated way — translating scientific discovery with actions that coastal communities can use.”

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