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Sea Level Rise Set to Impact the Wildlife of California's Beaches

This year, a joint study was released by the Nature Conservancy and the Ca Coastal Conservancy concerning the impacts of sea level rise to the California coast.  The news is not good for our beach ecosystems.

The report Conserving California's Coastal Habitats: A Legacy and a Future with Sea Level Rise predicts that even five feet of sea level rise will threaten 60% of the state's upper beach habitats. (The report defines the upper beach area as the portion of sand from the average high tide line to the dunes, bluffs and other habitats).

For us locally, this spells a major threat to our seabirds. From sand pipers to snowy plovers, sea level rise and enhanced erosion could lead to a submerged shoreline. Without managed retreat, much of San Francisco and Pacifica's shoreline could be permanently submerged. Many seabirds need sandy beaches to feed, rest or breed.

The Nature Conservancy assessment does have a positive message. The report states that if we act now, we can avoid and/or mitigate much of the damage. Managed retreat and shoreline restoration projects are singled out in the report as having a critical role.

Surfrider urges you to get involved to ensure we meet this challenge.  Stay tuned for the next public hearing for Sloat which should happen later this fall.

If you are a resident of Pacifica, please comment on the draft LCP sea level rise adaptation plan.  Send comments to or to Bonny O'Connor, Planning Department, 170 Santa Maria Avenue, Pacifica, CA 94044 by 5pm Monday October 8th.  We need folks to continue to stand up for beach restoration and managed retreat of development.