Working Waterfronts banner

About the Symposium

This event, sponsored by Washington Sea Grant, in coordination with Oregon Sea Grant, is the third national symposium on issues faced by working waterfronts throughout the United States. This event builds off two previous National Sea Grant College Program sponsored Working Waterfront symposia—in 2007 in Virginia and in 2010 in Maine.

Following on the success of these two programs, the next symposium is scheduled for March 25-28, 2013, in Tacoma, Washington, a vital, dynamic waterfront city on South Puget Sound, with a tremendous track record in waterfront economic development, public engagement and concurrent waterway restoration and environmental stewardship.

The conference will provide a forum for diverse users to meet, address common dilemmas and share solutions. This collaborative problem-solving approach promises to provide unique and innovative approaches to address water access needs, using examples of success from various Pacific Northwest and West Coast communities. We invite local, regional and national decision-makers; members of the commercial fishing, marine, and tourism industries; developers and property owners; business owners, community planners, activities and other to join the discussion. This is an opportunity to bring West Coast and specifically Pacific Northwest waterfront interests into the national debate on working waterfronts, which has thus far focused on the Atlantic Coast and Gulf of Mexico. It is a chance to engage politicians and decision makers from this region in the national debate, to both broaden the national agenda and spotlight West Coast issues.

This four-day conference will begin on Monday, March 25, with a full day of field trips to various sites in and around the Tacoma waterfront. The symposium itself begins on Tuesday, March 26, with two full days of assembly, including both plenary and breakout  sessions. We expect at least 250 attendees from throughout North America.

Potential Symposium Tracks
  1. Economic and Social Impacts of and on Working Waterfronts
  2. Successful Local, Regional, State and Federal Strategies Addressing Working Waterfront Issues
  3. The Future of Working Waterfronts: Changing Uses and Changing Climate
  4. Keeping Waterfront Industries Sustainable and Commercially Viable.

The sessions will build upon local, regional and national experiences with all of these issues.

Building on the previous two conferences, the symposium will provide a forum for national discussions and educational opportunities to continue. The West Coast venue promises new insights and learning experiences for attendees, wherever they reside. Sea Grant is currently developing a National Working Waterways and Waterfront Network. This symposium will complement that effort.

waveWA Sea Grant      OR Sea Grant     WCGA logo        NWWN logo         Center for Urban Waters logo