Planning for the Future: Sea Level Rise in California


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  • CA Coastal Conservancy: Non-Regulatory arm of the state’s coastal management program, created in 1976 to help protect and restore the natural resources to and along the coast, to provide public access and recreational opportunities, and to restore waterfronts. Our authorities were recently expanded through legislation sponsored by Senator Ted Lieu which provided the Conservancy with explicit authority to help communities address climate change impacts to human and natural communities, and to reduce GHG emissions.Our geographic boundaries include the entire coastline and its watersheds, the entire 9-county region of San Francisco, and the near shore ocean.We do our work by providing technical and financial assistance to support the work of local governments and non-governmental organizations. Most of our funding comes from voter approved bond measures.Today I am going to talk about what is happening at the state level to plan for the future with a rising sea
  • The Pacific Institute’s 2009 estimate of $100 Billion of coastal property at risk from flooding with a 1.4 meter sea-level rise was a real eye opener for all of us.The work being undertaken to address climate change impacts, and particularly SLR generally falls in these four categories. Today I am going to provide examples of some of this work as it pertains to the State of CA.
  • For a big picture view of how much has changed….The Coastal Conservancy first adopted a climate change policy in mid-2009 and started making the case for funding to assist local communities with adaptation. We were told it was a touchy subject because no one wanted to detract from efforts to meet the states ambitious GHG reduction goals. With the release of the 2009 CA Adaptation Strategy, a new era began where we could more openly seek promote policies and funding to address SLR and other climate change impacts.We have made much progress, as Mike McCormick from OPR said: “We have gone from it is a good thing to deal with climate change impacts, to integrated policy objectives in every decision we make.The Draft CA Future Report reflects this and specifies 5 Key Actions needed to meet the challenges posed by climate change. Among these are:Preserving state’s lands and natural resourcesBuilding sustainable regions that support healthy livable communitiesBuilding Climate Resilience into ALL Policies
  • Now there are multiple bills being considered in the Legislature, and there are 2 sets of state legislative hearings focused on addressing climate change adaptation and SLR is among the leading topics.Little Hoover CommissionIndependent state oversight agency that promotes efficiency, the economy and improved serviceLooking at governance and legal structures needed to adapt to changing climate.Governor will be looking closely at recommendationsAssemblyman Gordon Hearings: Sequence of 4, looking at the impacts of SLR on agriculture, fishing ports, airport and other industries. Hearing testimony from state agencies, academics and local experts. Purpose is to inform future legislation or policies on the best way to prepare for SLR
  • Much of the SLR policy and funding initiatives spring from credible science reports such as the National Research Council’s – 2012 SLR projections for CA, Oregon, Washington. This report:Takes into account regional factors that affect SLR. Bars show ranges of projections, Shows the farther out you go, the greater uncertainty there is. Orange bar is CA Red and green are global SLR estimates Top bars are for 2030, middle are 2050, lower set are for 2100Report concludes the most significant impacts will come from the combined effect of SLR and stormsClimate adaptation planning must occur at local and regional scales.
  • CA Sea-Level Rise Guidance: Climate Action Team: Coastal and Ocean Group, the OPCUses National Research Councils findingsRecommends how to take into consideration context-specific considerations of risk tolerance and adaptive capacity when planning for SLRCA Adaptation Strategy update likely to include recommendation to complete statewide shoreline management planPublic hearings throughout the state Summarizes progress since 2009, State agency focusCommission Draft SLR Policy Guidance: Internal Draft Out October 2013Will help local governments and permit applicants address challenges presented by SLR in new and existing projectsStep by step process for incorporating into new and amended LCP’sMinimize coastal hazards, Maximize protection of public access and coastal resources.
  • This is another very important data source. The CA Coastal Lidar Project is an on-shore-offshore, high resolution elevation map of CA coastal zone.With contour intervals of 1 ft., between mean sea level to 10 meters, it is:Highly useful for developing alternative response strategies to sea level rise and shoreline change:Evaluate potential shoreline erosion and retreatIdentify potential inundation zonesRisk assessment for impacts from storms and storm suregesProduce more accurate wave run-up models.
  • USGS leading the development of models that use the global models to predict changes in coastal storms and wave patterns.In S Cal, USGS developed a model for the Santa Monica BAY, based upon a single large storm.At request of local governments wanting more than bathtub approach to modeling hazards, this coastal storm model will support coastal hazard and SLR vulnerability assessments in Southern Cal.Version 2, to be completed in 2015, is being designed to underpin a range of planning decisions and adaptation strategies.Including LCP updatesSupplements to FEMA Flood Insurance Rate Maps to plan for flood scenarios that factor in climate change and SLR.
  • Our Coast our Future is another example of the COSMOS model being developed for the San Francisco outer coast and Bay. It assesses shoreline vulnerabilities from SLR, storm events, flooding and erosion.2 meter horizontal resolutionMaps infrastructure and ecosystem vulnerabilities at scale needed for management actionInclude a decision support tools with interactive mapsTraining provided by NOAA and others.Partnership between: Farallones National Marine Sanctuary, Point Blue Conservation Science, USGS, others.
  • A large portion of the southernMonterey Bay shoreline is currently experiencing the highest documented erosion rates at rates between 1.0 and 6.0 ft/year. along the states coastline. This project is using a different approach focused on assessing shoreline change and the potential future impacts from SLR, wave action and storm surges. It will update existing Monterey Bay coastal hazard zone maps utilizing methodology developed for the Pacific Institute and the Ocean Protection Council.
  • These and other modeling tools are being developed for looking at multiple scenarios of SLR, and for use in planning processes with local governments and citizens so that alternative adaptation measures can be visualized, assessed and compared.One advise I would give is that Overarching Principles be developed and used to guide planning process and to obtain upfront agreement about issues such as: use of best available science, hazard avoidance, nature based solutions, etc.
  • Preparing for SLR is expensive, but not preparing for it will be more expensive.Fortunately, all the big grant programs, the IRWMP, SGC, State Water Board- are incorporating climate change adaptation as an eligible grant component. Also bringing in issues of equity, economics, natural and built environment, infrastructure siting and funding. Encouraging regional coordination.Other Coastal Focused Grant Rounds:OPC/ LCP Update- Round 1 decisions nearing completion, Round 2 applications due in mid 2014.Commission- $1mill grant round to support LCP updates. Applications due .Conservancy Climate Ready Program- First round now underway. $1.5 mill available for over $13 mill requests. Includes wide range of adaptation and GHG reduction projects, decisions announced by December.
  • WATER BONDAB 1331 (Assembly WPW Committee) water quality, watersheds. $1 B for IRWMPSB 420 Wolk – Safe drinking water, water quality, flood control. $500 mill to Conservancies, $75 mill for SF Bay flood control and wetlands.Neither bill provides specific allocation to the coast for SLR, but some pots of money may be linked to SLR adaptationHearings will commence in January.
  • Now I am going to provide a quick overview of a few of the SLR assessments and projects the Conservancy has funded. More information about these can be found on our website.The purpose of the Humboldt Bay project is to: • Map existing shoreline conditions on Humboldt Bay, • Assess existing shoreline vulnerability to breaching or overtopping, under current tidal and climatic conditions, and to assess shoreline vulnerability to sea level rise, • identify land uses and infrastructure that could be affected if the existing shoreline fails to retain the tides. Project recommendation is for beneficial reuse of dredge materials
  • SCC has led planning for this 15,000 landscape scale restoration, flood protection and public access project since 2003. The project is helping south bay communities proactively addressexisting flood risks and sea level rise, to protect Silicon Valley business and communities now and in the future.
  • The houses next to the river were removed to address fluvial flooding from San Pedro Creek, but the shoreline was also eroding for decades, threatening critical infrastructure and the state beach. The project involved removing fill, relocating infrastructure and restoring the beach and dune system. The result has been the build up of a broader beach, an improved response to coastal storms.
  • This popular surfing beach was experiencing severe erosion. Previously constructed armoring was not preventing erosion.The City of Ventura completed this project in 2010 and the result has been:Beach restorationIncreased recreational opportunities including a multi-use bike pathGrass bioswale to treat runoff and prevent pollutants from reaching the estuary and ocean.
  • There are a growing number of tools available to assist you in assessing and addressing your communities impacts from SLR.There are many excellent examples to learn from.Marshes can be a relatively cheap line of defense.Sediment is needed for marsh elevation to rise along with sea levels.We will need more money to address the challenges and I encourage you all to participate in hearings and discussions regarding your needs.
  • Planning for the Future: Sea Level Rise in California

    1. 1. Planning for the Future: Sea Level Rise in California Nadine Peterson Deputy Executive Officer, CA Coastal Conservancy
    2. 2. Sea Level Rise Preparation
    3. 3. Safeguarding California “We have gone from it is a good thing to deal with climate change impacts, to integrated policy objectives in every decision we make”. Mike McCormick, OPR Draft California @ 50 Million: California’s Climate Future, The Governor’s Environmental Goals and Policy Report, Sept. 2013
    4. 4. Sea Level Rise Hearings • Little Hoover Commission on Climate Adaptation • Assemblyman Rich Gordon Select Hearings on SLR and the Economy – October 25th, Long Beach on Infrastructure – November 18th, Sacramento on Recommended Policy Changes – Report to full Assembly
    5. 5. Sea Level Rise Guidance
    6. 6. State Agency SLR Guidance • State of CA Sea-Level Rise Guidance 2013 Update (OPC website) • CA Adaptation Strategy 2009 –Update end of 2013 • CA Coastal Conservancy: Section IV Guidance. Steps to Evaluate and Address Vulnerability to SLR and Extreme Events in Projects • CA Coastal Commission Draft SLR Policy Guidance
    7. 7. California Coastal LiDAR Project Partners: OPC, SCC, NOAA, USACE, BCDC, DWR, DFW, SLC, DPR, NOAA, USGS, FEMA, NPS, FWS, SFSU, Scripps, and private contractors
    8. 8. Modeling Coastal Climate Change Impacts for Southern California Patrick Barnard USGS Coastal and Marine Geology Program Pacific Coastal and Marine Science Center, Santa Cruz, CA U.S. Department of the Interior U.S. Geological Survey
    9. 9. Our Coast Our Future •Integrated Modeling of SLR and Hazards •Decision Support Tool •Helps communities, managers, decision makers visualize and plan for impacts •Maps overlaying infrastructure and ecosystem vulnerabilities
    10. 10. Monterey Bay SLR and Coastal Erosion Vulnerability Assessment Photo by Collie Wine
    11. 11. Photo credit: USC- Sea Grant
    12. 12. Funding for Planning and Projects Statewide Funding and Integrated Policy Objectives • IRWMP • Strategic Growth Council • State Water Board Coastal Funding • OPC- LCP Grant Round • Commission LCP Grant Round- Nov 2013 • Coastal Conservancy Climate Ready Grant Round • New Coastal- Focused Bond?
    13. 13. Potential New Funding Sources • Water Bond – AB 1331 (WPW Committee) – SB 420 Wolk – Other? • AB 32 Auction Revenues – Investment Strategy – Wetland Restoration – Bills directing use of funds in suspense
    14. 14. Humboldt Bay Mapping & SLR Vulnerability • Inventory and map existing shoreline conditions • Assess shoreline vulnerability to breaching or overtopping, under current tidal and climatic conditions, • Assess existing shoreline vulnerability to sea level rise, • Identify land uses and infrastructure at risk Shoreline structure types
    15. 15. South San Francisco Bay Salt Ponds • Sea Level Rise Adaptation Planning for Silicon Valley • Ecosystem restoration and flood risk management South Bay Salt Pond Restoration Project
    16. 16. South San Francisco Bay Salt Ponds
    17. 17. Pacifica State Beach Managed Retreat
    18. 18. Surfer’s Point Managed Retreat • Set back structures • Rebuilt trail & coastal access • Re-established stable shoreline LA Times and
    19. 19. Wrap-up and Lessons Learned