OPC Releases State Agency Sea-Level Rise Action Plan for California, A Roadmap for Planning and Implementation Coastal Resilience 

At its February 23 Council meeting, OPC presented the State Agency Sea-Level Rise Action Plan for California (Action Plan), a first-of-its-kind, highly coordinated effort to outline a roadmap toward coastal resiliency for the state of California. Developed through intense collaboration from the 17 state agencies that make up the State Sea-Level Rise Leadership Team, the Plan is a living document that fosters accountability and collaboration for planning and implementing sea-level rise (SLR) action over the next five years. It builds on Senator Atkins’ landmark legislation, Senate Bill 1, which was signed into law by Governor Newsom in 2021 and drives California’s efforts to achieve coastal resilience in the face of rising seas.

Sea-Level Rise (SLR) Leadership Team 

The SLR Leadership Team is made up of 17 California state agencies who work collectively to achieve coastal resilience for the entire coast of California. These agencies hold jurisdiction over the coastal region through authorities that regulate, develop, and implement local, regional, and state policies. Following the development of the SLR Principles in 2020, the SLR Leadership Team was tasked with the creation of an actionable plan to implement SLR resiliency.

These principles are listed here: 

  1. Develop and Utilize Best Available Science 
  2. Build Coastal Resilience Partnerships 
  3. Improve Coastal Resilience Communications 
  4. Support Local Leadership and Address Local Conditions 
  5. Strengthen Alignment around Coastal Resilience 
  6. Implement and Learn from Coastal Resilience Projects 
  7. Integrate and Prioritize Equity and Social Justice 

 The Action Plan 

This Action Plan’s vision is to make all of California, from its coastlines to its inland bays and estuaries, resilient to the impacts of SLR, such as flooding, erosion, and habitat degradation and loss. Within the plan, there are roughly 80 actions that are organized by Sea-Level Rise Principle.

Sea level rise isn’t just a problem for those who own property on the shoreline – it affects everyone who finds joy at the coast. With this new Action Plan, California stands a better chance of protecting all our special coastal places.

Each action was carefully crafted to be trackable, showing agency accountability for leadership and support, a target timeline, and expected outcome, such as a report or technical document.

The Action Plan also includes overarching goals for implementing coastal resiliency, such as planning targets and prioritizing nature-based solutions. OPC will use the SLR Leadership Team to monitor and evaluate the progress of the Action Plan on an annual basis and make appropriate updates and modifications. 

Public comment

 Public comment is welcome from all interested parties now through early summer 2022. Please submit comments to SLRActionPlan@resources.ca.gov. Tribal consultations are also occurring during this timeframe. Direct other SLR Action Plan inquiries to Ella McDougall, OPC’s Climate Change Program Manager at ella.mcdougall@resources.ca.gov.