SAN DIEGO, Calif. – California State Parks is initiating the first round of community outreach and engagement for a new Sea Level Rise Vulnerability Assessment and Adaptation Planning study in the San Diego Coast District of the state park system. The goal of these engagement efforts is to gather broad public feedback and local knowledge while raising awareness of how sea level rise will affect coastal state parks in San Diego County.
State Parks is assessing the risks posed by sea level rise and potential impacts to coastal state parks, including trails, access roads, parking lots and other infrastructure, as well as natural and cultural resources. The effort, a partnership with Coastal Quest and with financial support from the Ocean Protection Council (OPC) and California State Coastal Conservancy, will also identify potential future responses to sea level rise for San Diego’s coastal parks, such as living shorelines, infrastructure relocation, or habitat restoration.
“One of the Ocean Protection Council’s key goals is to ensure California’s treasured coastal resources are resilient to sea level rise,” stated Mark Gold, OPC’s Executive Director. “Therefore, it is critical for us to support [this pilot] regional vulnerability assessment and adaptation planning process for San Diego’s coastal state parks and to catalyze State Parks’ climate adaptation efforts statewide,” Gold added.
As a result of climate change, communities across San Diego are confronting an increase in wildfire risk and poor air quality from smoke in addition to an increased number of extreme heat days. At the coast, San Diego’s beaches and parks are also already impacted by episodic coastal erosion and flooding from waves and storms, which are expected to intensify as sea levels continue to rise. If left unaddressed, rising seas may change how visitors are able to use and access coastal state parks.
“Like many places along California’s coastline, several coastal park units have already experienced impacts to facilities and other resources from severe erosion and flooding,” said Armando Quintero, Director of California State Parks. “State Parks views these impacts as an opportunity to learn more about sea level rise now and build lessons learned into future adaptation actions that build resilience to coastal hazards and help preserve our treasured public lands so future generations can enjoy them.”
Throughout the first round of the study’s outreach and engagement process, taking place from August 29 through September 16, 2022, communities across San Diego and nearby Southern California counties are invited to provide feedback on how they use and what they value in coastal state parks. This feedback will help inform adaptation planning and help ensure the continued enjoyment of coastal parks for generations to come. The second round, scheduled for October 2022, will seek public input on potential adaptation options.
Coastal Quest Executive Director, Tegan Hoffmann, added, “State Parks manages nearly one quarter of the California coastline across 128 coastal park units. Within these parks are some of the state’s most valued natural and cultural resources, enjoyed by over 50 million visitors each year. We are thrilled to work with State Parks and partners to implement this important pilot project and help ensure resilient coastal parks for future generations. Incorporating input directly from communities and California tribes is a key element of our work, and we look forward to engaging with people on adaptation priorities throughout the region.”
The first round of activities kicks off August 30, at the Joe and Mary Mottino Family YMCA in Oceanside. The public will have seven other in-person events they can attend in September throughout San Diego County. Other outreach efforts include an interactive online map tool on the Social Pinpoint platform (link below), a briefing at the San Diego’s Regional Climate Collaborative Working Group, and targeted engagement with California Tribes and community members. To learn more about these public engagement opportunities and the Sea Level Rise Adaptation Strategy, visit www.parks.ca.gov/SeaLevelRise. To provide input, please visit https://bit.ly/SDSLRinfo .
The Sea Level Rise Vulnerability Assessment and Adaptation Planning study is one of many efforts underway by State Parks to address sea level rise and implement the State Parks Sea Level Rise Adaptation Strategy.