California coastal businesses told to start preparing for sea level rise impacts

Published: Tuesday, 17 December 2019 10:00

A new report ‘Preparing for Rising Seas: How the State Can Help Support Local Coastal Adaptation Efforts’ warns that California’s coastal-based businesses and communities need to consider the impacts of rising sea levels and need to take action.

The Legislative Analyst’s Office report states that California’s coast could experience sea level rise (SLR) ranging from about 6 inches by 2030 up to about 7 feet by 2100. Periodic events like storms and high tides will produce even higher water levels and increase the risk of flooding. Rising seas will also erode coastal cliffs, dunes, and beaches, which will affect shorefront structures and recreation.

The progress of SLR preparation across the state’s coastal communities has been slow says the report. Moreover, few coastal communities have yet begun implementing projects to respond to the threat of rising seas. Coastal communities must increase both the extent and pace of SLR preparation efforts if California is to avoid the most severe, costly, and disruptive impacts in the coming decades.

Planning ahead means adaptation actions can be strategic and phased; helps ‘buy time’ before more extreme responses are needed; provides opportunities to test approaches and learn what works best; and may make overall adaptation efforts more affordable and improve their odds for success.

The next decade represents a crucial time period for taking action to prepare for SLR concludes the report.

Read the report.