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Santa Barbara to discuss impacts of sea level rise

Posted at 9:29 PM, Nov 26, 2018

Santa Barbara is hosting the first in a series of public workshops on a Sea Level Rise Adaptation Plan on December 5.

The workshop will take place at the Louise Lowry Davis Center from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. There will be a presentation on the Draft Sea Level Rise Vulnerability Assessment. The public will then have the opportunity to view maps and ask questions to learn more about sea level rise and ways to address its impacts.

The Draft Sea Level Rise Vulnerability Assessment identifies which parts of the city are expected to be affected by sea level rise and its hazards through the year 2100 without intervention. It will discuss the development of the local Sea Level Rise Adaptation Plan that will evaluate ways to reduce coastal vulnerabilities. The plans are part of a program funded by the California Coastal Commission and California Coastal Conservancy to help local governments in meeting State requirements regarding sea level rise.

While Santa Barbara has not experienced much sea level rise to date, the rate of sea level rise is expected to increase in coming decades. This can lead to hazards such as shoreline erosion and flooding.

“While we have time until sea levels in Santa Barbara rise substantially, the impacts to the City will be significant and require extensive planning and financing to address,” said Kristen Sneddon, Councilmember and Chair of the Sea Level Rise Adaptation Plan Subcommittee. “It is crucial that we prepare now while we have the most options open to us.”

Physical effects on the city that are projected to occur without adaptation include a higher frequency of flooding during storms, a loss of most sandy beaches by 2060 due to erosion, and negative impacts on the wastewater system by 2060.

Once the Sea Level Rise Vulnerability Assessment is finalized, an Adaptation Plan will be developed to address the effects of sea level rise over time. It will analyze the feasibility, effectiveness, economic and fiscal impacts, environmental consequences, and other costs and benefits of various adaptation strategies.

A second public workshop will be held when the Draft Adaptation Plan is available in spring 2019.