Coastal Resilience Los Angeles
Coastal habitat areas provide a wide range of ecosystem services to urban residents, including recreation opportunities, jobs, psychological well-being, and public health. However, these services may be inequitably distributed or accessible. This project sought to understand and map the relationship between coastal habitats and disadvantaged communities in Los Angeles County.
Hope for the Coast Campaign
The Nature Conservancy is urging California state and local coastal management agencies to adopt a bold vision for California’s Coastal Future. We will formally unveil the Hope for the Coast Vision at the Global Climate Action Summit in September. John Laird, California Secretary for Natural Resources, will announce the agencies, communities and organizations that have pledged to adopt the vision and their specific commitments.
Conserving California's Coastal Habitats
The California Coastal Resilience Network
Regional Projects & Solutions
OverviewApproximately 87% of California’s 37 million people live in coastal counties, and that number is growing. Built at the land-sea interface, many California communities are co-located with critical natural resources. This is not an accident: population centers historically arose in places where people could access fish, freshwater, and fertile soils. However, many of the wetlands, estuaries, beaches and floodplains that used to exist have been lost – along with much of the biodiversity and natural protection that came with them. Sea level rise is accelerating this loss, and the threat of major engineered shoreline protection infrastructure could be catastrophic to these natural habitats. Ironically, these habitats provide the most cost-effective and resilient protection for coastal communities in terms of reducing the risk of storm damage, flooding, and saltwater intrusion.
SocioeconomicClimate change does not impact everyone equally. Along many stretches of California’s coast, disadvantaged communities are at increased risk from sea level rise and related coastal hazards, and do not have sufficient resources to deal with the expected increase in frequency and intensity of natural hazards. Coastal managers are beginning to consider socioeconomic impacts of coastal climate change in their adaptation planning efforts.
Habitats and SpeciesCalifornia has lost over 90% of its wetlands, which provide important nursery habitat for fish species of commercial and recreational importance. Coastal habitats provide migratory pathways, resting, breeding, rearing and feeding areas for waterfowl, shorebirds, fish, and California’s iconic marine mammals. A suite of anthropogenic changes in land use are threatening the health and longevity of California’s coastal habitats; sea level rise and related coastal hazards, will only increase these threats. In the face of these new and exacerbated coastal threats, traditional emergency responses have often relied on building defensive infrastructure that can have negative impacts on habitat: bigger levees or rock walls to protect coastlines. The challenge for California will be to build resilience while protecting our remaining coastal habitats into the future.
OverviewThe following site-based projects throughout California are demonstrating the feasibility and effectiveness of using natural shorelines as part of an overall coastal adaptation package – conserving wetlands, beaches and estuaries both today and into the future in the face of sea level rise.
California’s iconic coastline is threatened by the coastal squeeze between upland development and climate change induced sea level rise. The Nature Conservancy and partners are demonstrating the effectiveness of coastal resilience adaptation planning statewide through their engagements in Monterey Bay, and Santa Barbara and Ventura Counties.
ResourcesFor the latest reports, publications and other resources on coastal resilience in California visit the Coastal Resilience Resource Library on the Conservation Gateway.
Related Stories and News
The San Diego Climate Collaborative received a large NOAA Grant for $689,500 over two years for coastal hazard protection & resilience. Read more about it here.
You can help! Please post pictures of flooding and other coastal events to Flickr’s CA King Tides group with the hashtag #elninoca.
Eric is the Research Development Manager for the Center for Ocean Solutions in Stanford, CA, where he works to advance the connection between the best available science around coastal and ocean issues with critical leverage points for coastal management policies.