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California State Parks Releases Sea Level Rise Adaptation Strategy


Paddlexaminer, california coastline, sea level rise, california state parks
Photo by Patrick Adcock on Unsplash

San Diego Coast Park Units the First to Benefit from Vulnerability Assessments


California State Parks released a Sea Level Rise Adaptation Strategy (Strategy) to guide its approach to coastal management in an era of sea level rise and extreme weather events amid climate change.


Coastal parks in the San Diego region will be the first to benefit from the Strategy, funded by an Ocean Protection Council Proposition 68 grant. In addition to serving as the basis for future site-specific planning, these holistic assessments will provide a sea level rise vulnerability assessment template that can be used at all coastal districts in the State Park System.


“Like many places along California’s coastline, several coastal park units have already experienced the impacts of severe erosion and flooding,” said California State Parks Director Armando Quintero. “State Parks views these impacts as an opportunity to learn more about sea level rise now and adapt future actions to help preserve our treasured public lands so future generations can enjoy them.”


Driven by science and state guidance, as well as growing impacts to the existing 128 coastal state park units, State Park’s Strategy recommends actions to build sea level rise considerations into existing department planning and project development processes. The Strategy calls for holistic vulnerability assessments and adaptation planning for unique types of state park assets, including public access and recreation, natural resources, cultural resources, and park facilities. The most recent science, guidance and adaptation approaches have been included in the Strategy, including the state’s recently adopted Sea Level Rise Principles.


Implementation of the Strategy would be given a significant boost by the Governor’s May Budget Revision - released May 14 - which proposes $11.5 million to implement the Strategy and advance coastal resilience work in state parks. As part of a $1.3 billion investment strategy to advance a climate resilient California, State Parks’ proposal would support development of planning tools and implementation of resilience projects over the next several years.


Some of the actions identified in the Strategy are already being implemented, while others will be prioritized in coming years, pending funding availability, partnerships, and additional organizational capacity. Lessons learned, emerging science, and any new guidance will be incorporated along the way to build an evolving response to sea level rise. State Parks will continue to work collaboratively with local and state agency partners, nonprofits, community organizations and California Native American Tribes to pursue an aligned response to sea level rise.


The Ocean Protection Council Proposition 68 grant for coastal state park units in San Diego was awarded to the non-profit Coastal Quest earlier this year. Coastal Quest, in partnership with State Parks, will complete sea level rise vulnerability assessments for nine coastal park units in State Parks’ San Diego Coast District.


To view the strategy, please visit parks.ca.gov/SeaLevelRise.

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