The California Ocean Protection Council (OPC) is pleased to announce the release of a solicitation for projects that build resilience on the coast to prepare for and adapt to the impacts of sea-level rise. Specific project types include research-based projects that focus on coastal habitat mapping, contaminated sites, and socio-economic impacts, and implementation projects that work to provide resilience to climate change through restoration and/or habitat enhancement. … read more
“As we look to 2022, our goal at the agency is to… continue California’s global leadership, combating climate change, transitioning our economy, and protecting our people and nature in the meantime. I believe strongly that people are resilient and that nature is resilient. We can adapt and weather these changes we are experiencing right now, and we at the Natural Resources Agency and across state government are focused on strengthening the resilience of our communities, our residents, and of our natural places to these changes we are experiencing. I’m optimistic that we will work harder than ever before and make unprecedented process toward building this resilience.” – from California Natural Resources Secretary and Ocean Protection Council Chair Wade Crowfoot’s end of the year video message
As 2021 brought global challenges to the forefront, the state of California responded with bold, decisive actions to protect our coast and ocean. OPC staff led multiple projects designed to restore wetlands, improve water quality, prevent plastic pollution, respond to environmental justice inequities, promote sustainable fisheries, protect marine wildlife and build resilience to climate change.
Despite the many looming threats, we continue to find hope in the form of scientific solutions to the planet’s biggest problems and in the promising work done by our grantees on the front lines. Join us in celebrating specific achievements from the past year below: … read more
“Any type of solution to shoreline erosion and sea level rise will take a regional effort” – Susan Brodeur
Today we are at Capistrano Beach in South Orange County talking with some of the members of the collaborative Prop 68 Project to develop a regional, collaborative Strategic Plan to address shoreline management decisions around coastal erosion and sea level rise. South Orange County has been experiencing severe coastal erosion for years and as a result, beaches have been narrowing.
The Strategic Plan will bring together stakeholders (public entities, private landowners, beachgoers, OCTA, Metrolink, State Parks, Orange County Parks and others) to find solutions to long-term erosion along approximately seven miles of eroding sandy beach stretching from Dana Point Harbor to San Clemente State Beach. “We’re all experiencing the same issues – loss of beach, loss of sand,” notes Susan Brodeur, Senior Coastal Engineer with OC Parks and the Project Manager for OC Parks, the convener of this collaborative effort.
The Strategic Plan will provide the framework for the implementation of future projects, knowing that sea level rise will only exacerbate existing challenges around shoreline erosion. By bringing together the best available science and specifically, the State’s Guidance on Sea Level Rise, this Strategic Plan is a necessary step forward in maintaining California’s iconic beaches in South Orange County. “We don’t want to lose this asset…this is not what people came to realize as the California Dream with its sandy beaches, not coming to see a bunch of rocks and nowhere to put your towel,” adds Brodeur.
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“The technical sea level rise studies we’ve completed to-date have shown the coastal hazard impacts we can expect in the coming decades – and that gives us the ability to share that information with the people who are going to be directly affected. That’s crucial because public awareness and understanding of these hazards is critical if we’re going to be able plan effectively for the future.” – Julia Elkin
Today we are Stinson Beach, located on the scenic Marin County coastline, talking with Julia Elkin, the Project Manager on this Prop 68 Project to develop and deliver a community adaptation planning process for Stinson Beach that addresses existing and future coastal hazard impacts and sea-level rise.
Located about an hour north of San Francisco, Stinson Beach is a highly valued California beach to both residents and visitors. Many Californians visit Stinson Beach for relief during extreme heat events or poor air quality days. Stinson Beach has immense value – and it is highly vulnerable to sea level rise. “Our opportunity now is to work with the public and plan for that slow-moving emergency that is sea level rise because the decisions that we can make now help us plan for a future that meets our community values and reduces harm to both our natural systems and human communities,” says Elkin.
Challenges with coastal erosion, flooding and storm surges are not new to Stinson Beach. That said, climate change will only exacerbate the intensity and frequency of these coastal hazards. Adaptation responses that will be explored through the Stinson Beach Adaptation and Resilience Collaboration, or Stinson ARC, will include nature-based strategies, long-term realignment of existing structures and infrastructure and structural options. … read more
“We would like our project to be an example of how to invite tribal entities to participate in and be integral to a collaborative coastal resilience planning process. The Trinidad area has three strong tribal entities that take a very active interest in what happens here. Everyone can benefit when we work together.” – Becky Price-Hall
Today we are in the City of Trinidad, within the ancestral coastal village of Tsurai in the aboriginal territory of the Yurok people since time immemorial.
This Prop 68 Project seeks to develop the Trinidad Community Coastal Resiliency Planning Project, the primary goal of which is to build community capacity and a shared vision for coastal resilience in the Trinidad area. Project managers will develop the Coastal Resilience Action Plan to be our roadmap, including a set of prioritized adaptation measures and implementation projects that emerge through the community engagement process.
Community engagement is the key component of this project. “This coastal resilience planning process is not just a City exercise with input solicited from others. This is a Trinidad area or regional plan,” says Becky Price-Hall, Project and Grant Coordinator for the City of Trinidad. … read more
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“Sea level rise will affect everybody and everything… We need to spread the word and work together.” – Hilanea Wilkinson
Today we are in the ancestral territory of the Wiyot, in what is now known as Humboldt County, talking with members of the Prop 68 project carrying out Phase I of the Wiyot Climate Change Adaptation Plan. The goal of this phase of the project is to identify cultural and natural resources within its ancestral lands and waters vulnerable to SLR and climate change.
Interviews with Tribal elders, youth, and community members is an integral part of this project as the project team works towards developing a use protocol for the collection and application of traditional ecological knowledge, or TEK. The TEK protocol will serve as guidance on how to appropriately and respectfully apply TEK, with the ultimate goal of ensuring the protection of tribal cultural resources. … read more
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“I hope we don’t fall into reactionary status quo.. but rather, take some bold steps in planning actions to try to adapt to sea-level rise in ways that might be a good bet.” – Charles Lester
Today we are talking with the University of California Santa Barbara project team leading a statewide evaluation of sea-level rise adaptation planning across California’s 76 coastal jurisdictions. One of the products of this work will be a user-friendly online inventory of adaptation planning occurring throughout the state. The Ocean Protection Council and the Office of Planning and Research are closely tracking the progress of this project and exploring opportunities to align and potentially merge the products from this work with the state’s Adaptation Clearinghouse.
Applying lessons learned from current and past action, the project team will develop recommendations for improving California’s coastal adaptation planning process, including the Local Coastal Plan policy update process. They will also assess alignment between local plans and the State’s Sea Level Rise Principles, released October 2020. … read more
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“By working together to develop a shared understanding of the risks we face as well as to prioritize the actions we can take to address them, we can be better prepared for the challenges that lie ahead.” – Emily Young
Today we are in San Diego County talking with members of the project team leading the development of a coastal resilience roadmap that will facilitate accelerated action for coastal resilience projects and investments that prioritize benefits to underserved communities in the region.
This Prop 68 Project will build capacity for the region as a whole and design an equitable approach that is community-led, allowing individuals living in these impacted or at-risk areas to inform the future direction of how the area is managed. The Nonprofit Institute and the San Diego Regional Climate Collaborative are partnering with the Local Government Commission and Resilient Cities Catalyst to complete this work. This large collaboration exemplifies how inclusivity has been at the center of this roadmap process since its inception. … read more
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“I’ve seen Imperial Beach become the city it is today… We have a lot of opportunities to do really cool projects, and one of them is here on the south end of San Diego Bay.” – Chris Helmer
Today we are in the City of Imperial Beach, discussing a Prop 68 Project to determine the best path forward for a retrofit of a 1.2-mile segment of the San Diego Bayshore Bikeway. This project provides multiple benefits to the surrounding underserved community of Imperial Beach, including flood protection, sea level rise resilience, and enhanced coastal access. The bikeway is a heavily used recreational corridor that connects to adjacent communities (National City, Chula Vista, San Diego, Coronado, and Imperial Beach). This area is already experiencing coastal flooding during king tides, so action is needed now to remedy the flooding risks of today and into the future.
Collaboration is key to the success of this project. Ultimately the project team is interested in leveraging their existing and growing partnerships with local and state agencies and organizations to protect this low-lying community of Imperial Beach from current and future flooding. The project team is hyper aware of the potential climate-driven impacts facing Imperial Beach and they’re working hard to be proactive and adapt before it’s too late.
“We’re looking to re-envision the future opportunities for this community, their recreational opportunities, and options for expanding habitat,” says Chris Helmer the Project Manager. “We’re thinking about our community, we’re thinking about the region, and we’re thinking about the environment and I think it’s essential for us to be pursuing projects like this,” adds Meagan Openshaw, a Senior Planner on the project.
The City of Imperial Beach, in collaboration with Nexus, will be working alongside GHD and City Thinkers to develop a variety of strategies for how to best address existing and future flooding for this community and its surrounding infrastructure as risks grow with sea level rise. The project team has prioritized engagement with the community and other relevant stakeholders throughout this process. … read more
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“I’m excited to shorten the distance between the science that we all support and the actual way that we apply it to our restoration projects” – Marc Beyeler
Today we are in Ventura, California visiting the Surfer’s Point Dune Restoration Site which is an exemplary case study of sediment management, restoration, and managed retreat. Adjacent to this dune restoration site is an area that has experienced extensive erosion with remnants of bike pathways, parking lots, and sewage plumbing from decades past now eroded, exposed, and part of the beach landscape. This stark contrast provided a nice visual representation of the problem (beach erosion) facing much of California’s coast juxtaposed to one of the many solutions (managed retreat).
The Beach Erosion Authority for Clean Oceans and Nourishment (BEACON) is a Joint Powers Authority whose members include the Counties of Santa Barbara and Ventura as well as the coastal cities of Santa Barbara, Goleta, Carpinteria, Ventura, Oxnard and Port Hueneme, covering 144 miles of coastline. BEACON seeks to keep important sediment within the coastal watershed that would otherwise be hauled to a disposal site. To increase coastal resilience to erosion and sea level rise impacts, BEACON works to plan and implement projects that include sediment management, beach nourishment, and beach and dune restoration. … read more