The California Coastal Commission adopted guidelines today communities dealing with sea level rise. The guidelines cover topics like minimizing coastal hazards, maximizing protection of public access and coastal resources, and using science to help make development decisions.
Commission Chair Steve Kinsey says he's glad the guidelines acknowledge that retreating from the ocean isn’t always the right response.
"In our urbanized areas, our public infrastructure, like our piers and other things, we are going to need to keep them where they are," he says. "And the document does talk about that and recognize that. And I think that’s important."
And Commissioner Mary Shallenberger says the guidelines provide specific details but can also be adapted to individual areas.
"When you compare the beaches and sea level rise threat that Imperial Beach and Venture and Mendocino and Humboldt face, they’re really quite radically different because of the land form, because of the geology, because of the ocean currents," she says.
But Commissioner Martha McClure says not all communities can afford to carry out the extensive development procedures outlined in the guidelines.
"Somehow we have to figure a way to assist communities that just don’t have the money to do this kind of analysis," she says.
Recent reports predict sea levels will rise several feet by the year 2100.