The Nature Conservancy Launches
Hope for The Coast Campaign

TNC Challenges California Coastal Managers to Protect Natural Coast

Californians love their incredible coastline, and have voted again and again to protect it. They did so again in June with the passage of Proposition 68. As a result, over one-third of our coastline is conserved – protecting incredible habitat and more than 150 rare, threatened and endangered species.

But with five feet of sea level rise, the coast of tomorrow will not look like today’s coast. More than 55% of coastal habitat across the coast of California is very vulnerable, including over 141,000 acres of conserved land that is projected to be submerged with five feet of sea level rise. In other words, the very investments in conservation that we have collectively made over the years are under threat.

TNC and the California State Coastal Conservancy collaborated on Conserving California’s Coastal Habitat: A Legacy and Future with Sea Level Rise. This study was the first comprehensive vulnerability assessment of California’s coastal habitat in the face of sea level rise, allowing us to better understand the extent of the risk, but also to see what we could do about it. The result is a wall-to-wall conservation blueprint for the entire coast, identifying solutions down to a resolution of 1km2.

And there is hope! With sustained coordinated effort, the study shows that we can have as much or more coastal habitat with five feet of sea level rise as we have today, ensuring that our children and grandchildren can enjoy the remarkable benefits provided by this incredible natural asset. But it won’t be easy. The first step is to align around a shared vision of California’s coastal future:

We will maintain and enhance California’s coast in the face of sea level rise, other climate change-induced challenges, and development. By working collectively and guided by science, we will ensure the coast is protected for future generations to enjoy, replete with as much or more habitat and wildlife, as well as social, economic, and recreational benefits, as we have today.

If we are to accomplish this, we will need all California’s coastal decisionmakers – state and local – to adopt this vision and make specific, meaningful commitments to advance it. TNC is working with individual California agencies to secure specific, on-the-ground commitments to actions they can take within the next 3-5 years to advance this vision.TNC 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.