Olympic Natural Resources Center

The Washington’s Working Coast project was conceived during the Summit jointly sponsored by the Coastal Marine Resource Committees (MRCs) held October 13-14, 2011 at the Olympic Natural Resources Center in Forks, Washington. The purpose of that Summit was to develop joint project ideas that would garner strong support from constituents throughout the outer coast. An economic analysis of the marine-based sector and the challenges facing it was voted one of the top two project concepts put forward during the first day of the Summit.

In these challenging economic times, communities up and down the coast need to develop more detailed understanding of the contributions of marine resource-based jobs and to seek collaborative ways to sustain and expand them. The project compiled information that taken together offers a detailed portrait of the marine-based economy of the outer coast. This portrait will be useful in conveying to political leaders, managers, and the general public, the importance of these businesses. It will also lay the foundation for developing strategies to address the major challenges to the continued viability of the marine-based economy. A Steering Committee made up of representatives of the coastal MRCs provided guidance to the student team. Due to funding limitations, the project was conducted in two phases.

Project Products

Phase 1: ONRC Preliminary Work

Phase 1 was conducted by ONRC staff and focused on development of a bibliography of relevant economic assessments and a compilation of available business information. The links below provide access to the data assembled during Phase 1. ONRC staff also generated a series of reports, maps and presentations.

Phase 2: POE Project

Phase 2 of this project follows up on the work of Phase 1 and was accomplished by graduate students enrolled in the Program on the Environment’s Certificate of Environmental Management program. The goal of Phase 2 was to create an overall picture of the Outer Coast’s economic condition that could be used as the basis for a more extensive economic analysis in the future. The team gathered information through interviews with a representative group of 40 coastal stakeholders. Their report summarized the perspectives expressed by those interviewed and an overview of the relevant environmental regulations that govern marine uses. The team also identified potential environmental threats to and opportunities for growth in the coastal economy.

Information about the POE team and this project is available at:

Program on the Environment Keystone Projects

Working Coast project website:


Phase 2 Final Report:

PDF Document Washington’s Working Coast Phase 2 Report