San Diego Regional Research Agenda for Sea Level Rise

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1 San Diego Regional Research Agenda for Sea Level Rise Final Report May 2013 Prepared by ICLEI-Local Governments for Sustainability for the San Diego region s Public Agency Steering Committee on Sea Level Rise

2 Project Partners ICLEI-Local Governments for Sustainability USA ICLEI-Local Governments for Sustainability USA (ICLEI) is a membership association of local governments in the United States committed to advancing climate change protection and sustainability. By providing technical assistance, innovative tools and other resources, and training and networking opportunities, ICLEI strives to empower local governments to set and achieve their climate and sustainability goals. For more information, visit The San Diego Foundation With a dynamic mix of leadership, grant-making, and civic engagement, The San Diego Foundation makes the San Diego region a better place to live. The San Diego Foundation launched its Climate Initiative in a multi-year effort to bring government, business, the research community, and nonprofits together to tackle one of the greatest challenges of our time. For more information, visit Climate Collaborative The Climate Collaborative is a San Diego regional forum for public agencies to share expertise and leverage resources to facilitate climate action planning. By partnering with academia, non-profit organizations, and business and community leaders, these agencies work to inspire regional leadership and ensure a vibrant economy and healthy environment. The Climate Collaborative works to: 1. Address and prevent the harmful effects of climate change; 2. Promote a high quality of life for the San Diego region; and 3. Foster a green and growing economy For more information, visit

3 Table of Contents Introduction Purpose, Process, and Participants... 2 Research Priorities ) Sea Level Rise Impacts ) Physical Infrastructure Vulnerability ) Ecosystem Vulnerability and Resilience ) Social Vulnerability ) Economic Analysis ) Stakeholder Engagement in Research Conclusion and Next Steps

4 Introduction The San Diego Regional Research Agenda has been developed as a follow-up item subsequent to the completion of the Sea Level Rise Adaptation Strategy for San Diego Bay 1 in The process of creating the San Diego Bay Adaptation Strategy revealed several areas where planners and managers do not have all of the data and research needed to make decisions regarding adapting to sea level rise. In order to fill these gaps in data and research, one of the recommendations that arose from the Adaptation Strategy development process was the preparation of a Regional Research Agenda. The purpose of the Regional Research Agenda is to document the information and data that planners and resource managers need to plan for sea level rise in the San Diego region. This resource will help direct research funding and activity to those areas that advance planning for sea level rise in the San Diego region. The authors would like to extend their appreciation to stakeholders who contributed to this project. Public Agency Sea Level Rise Steering Committee Brendan Reed, City of Chula Vista, Co-Chair Cody Hooven, Port of San Diego, Co-Chair Peter Kennedy, United States Navy Marisa Lundstedt, City of Chula Vista Linda Pratt, City of San Diego Jim Nakagawa, City of Imperial Beach Ray Pe, City of National City Danny King, City of Solana Beach Gretchen Crowson, City of Del Mar Diane Langager, City of Encinitas Michelle White, Port of San Diego Paul Manasjan, Airport Authority Ted Anasis, Airport Authority Nicola Hedge, The San Diego Foundation Emily Young, The San Diego Foundation 1 The Sea Level Rise Adaptation Strategy for San Diego Bay follows a regional approach to sea level rise adaptation, and resulted from a collaboration of stakeholders including the local governments around San Diego Bay, the Port of San Diego, San Diego Airport Authority, and many others. The strategy document consists of two components: a vulnerability assessment that evaluates how community assets could be impacted by sea level rise; and broad recommendations for building the resilience of community assets. < 2

5 Research Advisors Name Organization Area of Expertise Scripps Institute of Dr. Ron Flick Oceanography Shore processes San Diego State University Wetland ecology, public Dr. Rick Gersburg (SDSU) health University of California, Santa Dr. Gary Griggs Cruz (UCSC) Coastal evolution, hazards University of California, Santa Cruz (UCSC), Dr. Patrick Barnard United States Geological Survey Coastal geology (USGS) Dr. David L. Revell ESA PWA Coastal geomorphology Aaron McGregor California Ocean Science Trust Economics Dr. Susanne Moser Stanford University, Social science of climate University of California, Santa change Cruz (UCSC) University of California, Dr. Julie Ekstrom Berkeley Social vulnerability Regional Stakeholder Working Group Elizabeth Chopp, City of Chula Vista Nick Garrity, ESA PWA Emily Guevara, The San Diego Foundation Sam Jenniches, Coastal Conservancy Karen Miner, Department of Fish and Game Shannon Vitale, Port of San Diego Kayo Watanabe, San Diego State University (SDSU) Laura Hunter, Environmental Health Coalition Lee Wilson, San Diego Port Tenants Association (SDPTA) Carole Farr, Stantec Carmen Kasner, City of Imperial Beach Masih Maher, City of Encinitas Carl Nettleson, Nettleson Strategies Steven Nowak, City of Encinitas Sherilyn Sarb, Coastal Commission Danielle Williams, University of California, San Diego (UCSD) Mike McCoy, Southwest Wetlands Interpretive Association Becky Lunde, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Technical Advisors Steve Messner, Environ Corporation Mark Nassar, City of San Diego Wes Danskin, United States Geological Survey (USGS) Dr. Jeff Crooks, Tijuana River National Estuarine Research Reserve (TRNERR) Charles, Nissley, City of National City Mike Strong, City of Encinitas Kristen Goodrich, Tijuana River National Estuarine Research Reserve (TRNERR) 3

6 Process In consultation with the Public Agency Sea Level Rise Steering Committee, a process was designed to enhance shared understanding among researchers, planners, and natural resource managers in order to advance adaptation planning in the San Diego region. The goal was to ensure that through the process, researchers and scientists gain a better understanding of the kind of information that practitioners need to plan for sea level rise, and planners and resource managers gain a better sense of the opportunities and constraints around future research related to sea level rise. Step 1: Research Advisor Interviews ICLEI interviewed researchers and scientists specializing in fields related to sea level rise in order to document their recommendations on existing studies, and to gather their feedback on opportunities and constraints around future research projects. Step 2: Regional Stakeholder Workshop On July 16, 2012, ICLEI held a regional stakeholder workshop and used this opportunity to present key findings from the research advisor interviews (mentioned in Step 1) to the attending stakeholders and then solicit the stakeholders input on their priority research needs for sea level rise. Step 3: Review by Technical Advisors ICLEI combined the input from the research advisor interviews (from Step 1) with the input from the regional stakeholder workshop (from Step 2), and presented it to a group of Technical Advisors, who were most familiar with the research needs of practitioners working in the field. In collaboration with the technical advisors, ICLEI refined this feedback and produced a draft summary of existing studies as well as opportunities and constraints surrounding future research projects. Step 4: Final Review by Research Advisors Given the expertise of the research advisory group in the funding requirements for research, they reviewed and provided comments on the draft document, which were then incorporated into the final regional research agenda document. 4

7 Research Priorities This section describes the priority research needs identified by researchers, stakeholders, and technical advisors to better inform adaptation decision-making in the San Diego region. The priority research needs are broken down into five distinct, yet related, areas: 1) Sea level rise impacts 2) Physical infrastructure vulnerability 3) Ecosystem vulnerability 4) Social vulnerability 5) Economic analysis 1) Sea Level Rise Impacts This sub-section discusses the research needs related to the first order impacts of sea level rise: Flooding dynamics Researchers and planners agree that a deeper understanding of the flooding dynamics related to sea-level rise is needed. There are two specific aspects of coastal flooding that need additional research: a) The phenomena of wave run-up and storm surge, and b) Integration of ocean-based and land-based flooding models. a) Wave run-up and storm surge Wave run-up and storm surge are critical aspects to coastal flooding, because they can do much more damage than the increase in mean sea level rise alone. Models that show projections of coastal flooding usually include wave run-up and storm surge, but researchers indicate that these models need to be refined and validated based on past events - a method called hind-casting. In order to do that, there is a need for more comprehensive coastal monitoring and measuring of wave run-up and storm surge during storm events and high tides. This empirical data can then be compared with the projections from coastal flooding models. In this way, researchers gain insights as to where their models are accurate and where they need to be refined. One existing model that stakeholders have identified as a high priority for the region is the Coastal Storm Modeling System (CoSMoS) 2. CoSMoS is a physics-based modeling system for assessing coastal hazards on the West Coast. CoSMos 1.0 takes into account waves and currents in identifying flooding hazards across a range of storm and sea level rise scenarios; this version has been developed and applied in the Bay Area and in City of Los Angeles, and could be useful in meeting the identified research priority in the San Diego region. CoSMoS 2.0 yet to be developed for southern California utilizes the most recent Global Circulation Models, expands on the sea level rise and storm scenarios, introduces 2 < 5

8 shoreline change and sedimentation from rivers and streams into the model (modeling shoreline change is an additional regional research priority described further in the Ecosystem Vulnerability and Resilience section below). Multiple stakeholders from the San Diego region, across southern California, and at the state level are identifying resources for development of CoSMos 2.0 for Southern California, but further support is needed to complete development and application in the region. b) Integration of ocean-based flooding and land-based flooding models Flooding along the coastline is driven in large part by ocean-based flooding, but it is also influenced by land-based run-off from precipitation. A storm that produces high waves and storm surge, when combined with large quantities of precipitation, could be an especially disastrous event. Drainages could become backed-up as precipitation run-off is met by higher sea levels. Models that incorporate ocean and land-based flooding can help provide planners, decision-makers, and communities with a more comprehensive picture of their potential exposure to flooding. Timu Gallien, a researcher from UC Irvine, has created a model for Newport Harbor that incorporates both ocean-based and land-based flooding 3, but so far, there is no such model in San Diego County. These models are very demanding from a computational perspective, and therefore, time-consuming and expensive. As such, a useful approach forward may be to develop simplified models for key drainage areas that are potentially most vulnerable to the compounding impacts of ocean-based and land-based flooding. Erosion of bluffs and cliffs Many cities in San Diego County have development on top of coastal bluffs. Understanding how bluffs and cliffs will erode and retreat as sea level rises is important for coastal landuse planners, regulators, and property owners. In order to accurately model the response of bluffs and cliffs to sea level rise, a critical factor is the availability of historic data. However, historic data on bluff and cliff erosion is sparse and does not cover a time period with rising sea levels. Scientists are therefore limited in their ability to accurately model bluff and cliff retreat from sea level rise. For existing research and data on bluff and cliff erosion, scientists frequently turn to nine years of data collected by LiDAR 4 flights (from 2002 to 2011) from the Coastal Data Information Program/Southern California Beach Processes Study at Scripps Institutions of Oceanography 5. Other important sources of data are the USGS National Assessment of Shoreline Change Part 4: Historical Coastal Cliff Retreat along the California Coast by Cheryl Hapke and David Reid 6, and geotechnical consulting reports conducted for particular sites. 3 < Wednesday/Session%203C%20-Sea%20Level%20Rise%20I/Gallien_High- Resolution_Grid_Modeling_of_Coastal_Flood_Inundation_Newport_Harbor.pdf> 4 LiDAR (Light Detection and Ranging) is an optical remote sensing technology 5 < 6 < 6

9 All of the existing data and research deal with historic rates of cliff and bluff retreat, but planners need to know how that rate of retreat might change as a consequence of sea level rise and any changes in the intensity and frequency of large wave impacts. As such, a critical research need is monitoring bluff and cliff retreat to help update models to incorporate sea level rise. LiDAR is one approach that can be a rapid and effective way to monitor the topography of large stretches of coastline and produces high-resolution data 7. Scenario-based planning for sea level rise Scenario-based planning consists of using a few contrasting scenarios to explore the uncertainty surrounding the future consequences of a decision 8. Ideally, scenarios should be constructed by a diverse group of people for a single, stated purpose. Scenario-based planning can incorporate a variety of quantitative and qualitative information in the decision-making process. For example, stakeholders may consider two or three rates of economic growth along with three different rates of sea level rise. Often, consideration of this diverse information in a systemic way leads to better decisions. By understanding the trade-offs of different adaptation actions, planners can choose a path forward that will perform well in a variety of different future situations. 2) Physical Infrastructure Vulnerability This section discusses the research needs around impacts of sea level rise on physical infrastructure. Survey of shoreline protection infrastructure Shoreline protection infrastructure includes groins, seawalls, bulkheads and revetments. These structures influence flooding patterns and sediment transport, but there is no comprehensive inventory of all shoreline infrastructures in the San Diego region. The digital elevation maps used for mapping coastal flooding have a resolution of two feet, but more detailed measurements of elevation as well as evaluations of the structure and condition of coastal infrastructure can be incorporated into a GIS analysis to refine coastal flooding maps. In order to do this, researchers need a dataset with on-the-ground measurements of elevation and assessments of structural integrity, especially in heavily built environments, such as the San Diego Bay. Physical vulnerability assessments Vulnerability assessments for physical infrastructure provide planners and asset managers an improved understanding of the exposure, sensitivity, and adaptive capacity of infrastructure to the impacts of sea level rise. This analysis is the starting point for developing strategies to enhance the resilience of infrastructure. 7 George, Doug California Coastal LiDAR Project: Toward a modern topography of the coastal zone. Ocean Protection Council. 8 Peterson, G. D., G. S. Cumming, and S. R. Carpenter. Scenario Planning: a Tool for Conservation in an Uncertain World. Conservation Biology 17, no. 2 (2003):

10 Existing sea level rise vulnerability assessments in the San Diego region include the San Diego Bay Adaptation Strategy 9 and the Port of San Diego Climate Mitigation and Adaptation Plan 10. These existing vulnerability assessments will need to be updated with more detailed exposure maps as they become available. Additionally, some sectors will need more detailed and engineering-based vulnerability assessments. For example, planners indicate that the utilities in the coastal zone, which manage infrastructure for wastewater (pump stations and sewers), potable water (pipes), and electricity (vaults and utility poles), need more detailed vulnerability assessments. Similarly, subsurface infrastructure near the coastline in particular needs engineering-based vulnerability assessments due to the potential for interaction with the groundwater table. Many cities in the region, however, lack even broad-brush qualitative sea level rise vulnerability assessments, such as that of the San Diego Bay Adaptation Strategy. Such assessments are a critical first step for raising awareness of climate risks among asset managers, identifying priority sectors for building resilience, and developing adaptation strategies. 3) Ecosystem Vulnerability and Resilience Climate change will affect the long-term ecological viability of natural ecosystems. Vulnerability assessments of ecosystems such as beaches, dunes, and salt marshes are critical in identifying strategies that will help them adapt to climatic changes. This section discusses the research needs related to ecosystem vulnerability and resilience in relation to sea level rise. Refining models on shoreline change Shore-lands, such as marshes, wetlands, and beaches, protect coastal infrastructure from storm surge. These land areas also serve as critical habitats for endangered species. Sea level rise and sediment transport are two physical processes that will cause changes to these protective shore-lands. Currently, there are separate models which project changes to shore-lands either as a result of sea level rise, or as a result of sediment transport. For example, the Sea Level Rise Marshes Model (SLAMM) projects how marshes will respond to sea level rise, and helps resource managers make decisions regarding habitat conservation. Similarly, a study spearheaded by the Tijuana River National Estuarine Research Reserve (NERR) is exploring the impacts of sea level rise on coastal ecosystems like marshes, dunes, beaches, and others 11. That said, such models and studies do not take sediment transport into consideration. Conversely, there are studies that have explored the fate and transport of sediments on shore-lands, such as the one titled Observations of Coastal Sediment Dynamics of the Tijuana Estuary Fine Sediment Fate and Transport Demonstration Project, 9 < 10 < 11 < Strengthen-Climate-Understanding--Resilience-in-the-River-Valley.aspx> 8

11 Imperial Beach, California 12. Additionally, regions such as the Tijuana Estuary 13 and Los Penasquitos Lagoon 14 have recently initiated projects to document total maximum daily loads of sediments in order to evaluate the impact of sediment transport on shore-lands. However, these studies and data collection methods do not consider sediment transport in the context of sea level rise. In order to model how shore-lands such as marshes, wetlands, and beaches will change in the future, scientists need to know not only how they will be impacted by sea level rise, but also how fast these areas will accrete, or grow vertically due to sediment deposit, given that accretion acts as a balance to sea level rise. Existing models that are looking at both phenomena separately should be integrated and refined to consider both phenomena together. Ecosystem Services Assessment Ecosystems provide a wide variety of benefits, ranging from obvious services such as food and water to ones that are not as easily recognized, such as erosion control, flood control, or habitat provision. Coastal ecosystems will be impacted by climatic changes in the future, which will in turn impact the services that they provide. Therefore, it is critical to identify the various kinds of services that ecosystems provide now, what they provided in the past, and how they will change in the future. By developing a detailed understanding of the role that coastal ecosystems play for infrastructure protection and habitat provision, planners can assess the value of coastal ecosystems more accurately, and make decisions on how to preserve them in the face of a changing climate and development pressures. There are existing examples of regions that have conducted ecosystem assessments. For example, TRNERR is collaborating on conducting a historical ecosystem assessment 15. This study will produce digital map layers of the historical landscape and an illustrated technical report documenting historical conditions and discussing implications for wetland restoration planning. Similarly, TRNERR has received a grant to develop a set of tools and information about past, current, and potential future changes to wetland ecosystems 16. Having an improved understanding of the ecosystem services that the estuary provided in the past, and the services that it provides in the present, will help inform targets for restoration investments. Similar ecosystem services assessments are needed for other critical ecosystems vulnerable to sea level rise. Regional opportunity assessments Through planning processes such as one that produced the San Diego Bay Adaptation Strategy, resource managers have already identified several measures that could help coastal ecosystems adapt to sea level rise, such as habitat restoration, habitat migration, 12 < 13 < 14 < 15 < 16 < 9

12 wildlife corridors, and living shorelines. Planners and resource managers need applied research that analyzes where the implementation of these strategies is most appropriate and feasible. A critical element of this applied research will be to identify criteria for determining whether ecosystem-based adaptation strategies are appropriate. This analysis will help planners and resource managers across agencies coordinate their implementation efforts in places that will have the greatest benefits for building ecological resilience. 4) Social Vulnerability This section discusses research needs related to social vulnerability in the context of sea level rise. Social Vulnerability Assessments Social vulnerability in the context of climate change is defined as the interplay of social, economic and demographic characteristics that determine the resilience of individuals and communities to climate change. 17 Social vulnerability assessments play a critical role in identifying sensitive populations and community resilience. Populations that tend to have high vulnerability include the poor, elderly, and disabled. The only social vulnerability assessment specific to sea level rise conducted in the region includes a high-level overview of vulnerable populations in the San Diego Bay Adaptation Strategy 18. Planners recognize the need to conduct more comprehensive social vulnerability assessments in relation to sea level rise and other climate change impacts in the San Diego Region. Topics that planners have identified as important for inclusion in future assessments are: impacts of public shoreline-loss or shoreline-change on vulnerable communities in terms of access to recreation, education, and heat relief opportunities; the vulnerability of fishing communities; and vulnerability of low-income neighborhoods to flooding. Additionally, social vulnerability assessments provide an opportunity to carry out participatory research. Dr. Susan Cutter from the University of North Carolina has developed a quantitative social vulnerability index, which is very useful for identifying the most vulnerable communities 19. However, oftentimes the quantitative analysis doesn t connect strongly to implementation, and therefore, researchers are now recommending that quantitative assessments be combined with participatory research 20. The participatory elements incorporate public education and help to develop social networks, which are critical for implementing strategies that increase resilience. Participatory research can take many different forms and it should be designed to address what the 17 Cox J., Rosenzweig C., Solecki W., Goldberg R., Kinney P. Social Vulnerability to Climate Change: A Neighborhood Analysis of the Northeast U.S. Mega-region. 18 see page Cutter, S. L., Boruff, B. J. and Shirley, W. L. (2003), Social Vulnerability to Environmental Hazards. Social Science Quarterly, 84: Interview with Dr. Susanne Moser, August 2,

13 community wants and what the researchers are capable of. Social vulnerability assessments in the San Diego Region will also benefit from combining quantitative and qualitative approaches as the U.S. Census reduces the number of indicators it collects. There are examples of social vulnerability assessments underway in the San Diego region and across California, but they are considering a wide range of impacts beyond just those from sea level rise. For example, Dr. Rick Gersberg and Paula Stigler at Graduate School of Public Health at San Diego State University are modeling the impact of climate change on vulnerable populations of San Diego County, specifically in relation to extreme heat events, flood risk, wildfire risk, and vector-borne diseases, with support from The San Diego Foundation s Blasker-Miah-Rose Fund (Blasker) for Climate Change Research. 21 Similarly, the Center for Disease Control (CDC) has issued a grant to the California Department of Public Health (DPH) to explore public health impacts of heat waves, more frequent flooding and tropical cyclones, rises in sea level, and increased air pollution 22. Examples of social vulnerability assessments specific to sea level rise that have been conducted in other parts of California are listed below: San Luis Obispo County Moser, S. and J. Ekstrom, 2010.Developing Adaptation Strategies for San Luis Obispo County: Preliminary Climate Change Vulnerability Assessment for Social Systems. Technical Report and Summary. Prepared for the LGC, Sacramento, CA. Fresno County Moser, S. and J. Ekstrom, Toward a Vibrant, Prosperous and Sustainable Fresno County: Vulnerability and Adaptation to Rapid Change. Technical Report and Summary. Prepared for the Local Government Commission (LGC), Sacramento, CA. Los Angeles County and Fresno County The California DPH has created a climate change population vulnerability screening tool and applied it to Los Angeles and Fresno Counties to explore public health impacts of climatic changes that these counties are projected to face 23. San Francisco Bay Area Ekstrom, J.A. and S.C. Moser Climate Change Impacts, Vulnerabilities, and Adaptation in the San Francisco Bay Area. California Energy Commission, Publication number CEC San Francisco Bay Area Garzón, Catalina, Heather Cooley, Matthew Heberger, Eli Moore, Lucy Allen, Eyal Matalon, Anna Doty, and the Oakland Climate Action Coalition. (Pacific Institute) Community- 21 < 22 < 23 < 11

14 Based Climate Adaptation Planning: Case Study of Oakland, California. California Energy Commission. Publication number: CEC ) Economic Analysis This section discusses research needs related to economic impacts of sea level rise: Economic analysis of impacts Sea level rise and other related impacts will impose significant economic costs on society, and a better analysis of these costs is needed to calibrate the level of investment justified to avoid the costs. The 2009 Pacific Institute/Philip Williams and Associates study on economic impacts of sea level rise on the California coast represents one of the most comprehensive regional-planning level studies to date 24. In this study, economic damages from coastal flooding and erosion were estimated under a 1.4 meter sea level rise in Key findings show that 480,000 people, 350,000 acres of wetlands, and nearly $100 billion (in 2000 dollars) of property are at risk in the event of a 100-year coastal storm event following a sea level rise of 1.4 meters. Reinforcing and building new protective structures was estimated at $14 billion, with $1.4 billion per year in maintenance costs. This study estimated damages from sea level rise as well as the cost of adaptation at a relatively high level. As decisions are made on a site-specific basis, planners will increasingly need to understand the economic impacts of sea level rise as well as adaptation costs at a more granular level (e.g. the district or parcel level). Planners will need to know what asset values and service values would be lost with sea level rise if no action to adapt were taken. Additionally, any economic impact analysis will need to include both direct costs (e.g. property damage from coastal flooding) as well as indirect costs (e.g. impacts on tourism, and coastal community economies). It is also important to note that the costs associated with sea level rise will vary based on projected scenarios for sea level rise, and therefore, cost estimates should be sensitive to these different scenarios. In addition to total costs, the distribution of costs borne by different stakeholders is an important consideration in formulating an effective response. Given the scale of impacts associated with sea level rise, it is critical to identify the wide range of stakeholders that will be affected (e.g. public agencies, the private sector, and residents), and the extent to which these groups can engage in collaborative approaches to address impacts of sea level rise. When evaluating the economic impacts of sea level rise, it is crucial to consider how those costs will be distributed among these various stakeholders. A particularly important stakeholder group in this discussion is the insurance sector. A recent survey 25 of over 180 insurance companies conducted by Ceres indicates that most insurance companies do not have a comprehensive strategy to address climate change. Efforts to connect the insurance sector with other stakeholders engaged in local level climate action planning such as public 24 Heberger, M., Cooley, H., Herrera, P., Gleick, P.H., and Moore, E. (2009).The impacts of Sea-Level Rise on the California Coast. California Climate Change Center. 25 < 12

15 agencies, academia, utilities, etc. are being spearheaded in the San Diego region 26. Further applied research on collaboration between insurers and public agencies can help build resilience to sea level rise while testing innovative approaches that can be replicated nationally. Economic impact of beach-loss or other public shoreline loss Like many coastal communities, beaches heavily influence the local economy in the San Diego region, and are vulnerable to erosion resulting from sea level rise. Sea level rise erosion impacts could reverberate throughout local economies, affecting spending and tax revenues. 27 Planners need to know how the potential loss of beaches or other types of shoreline will impact local economies. This information will help them plan for strategies to adapt valuable shorelines. The 2002 California Beach Restoration Study provides data on the fiscal impact of beach recreation in California and has a case study on the economic impact of beach erosion in Northern San Diego County 28.The 2011 study on The Economic Costs of Sea-Level Rise to California Beach Communities evaluates sea level rise impacts on five representative sites on the California coast, including Torrey Pines City and State Beach in San Diego 29. In this study, economic losses are modeled for flooding from a 100-year coastal storm, sandy beach erosion, and upland erosion (where dunes or cliffs are present) for three different projected sea levels in The results from the study indicate the scale and nature of economic risks facing coastal communities. Similarly, a 2009 study on Estimating the Potential Economic Impacts of Climate Change on Southern California Beaches 30 examined effects of climate change on beach size, beach attendance and beach-goer spending at 51 public beaches in Los Angeles and Orange counties. This study considered two scenarios: long-term losses in beach size caused by a 1-meter rise in sea level over the next 100 years; or short-lived beach erosion resulting from a year of severe winter storms and high tides associated with sea level rise. More studies of this type are needed to identify and assess distinct, site-specific economic risks. Relatedly, researchers and planners need more data on human use of the coastline in order to understand how the coast contributes to economic activity. For example, collecting accurate and consistent data on how many people use the beaches or other coastal facilities is important to conducting assessments of economic impacts. Collecting these data points has been difficult, given that official beach attendance counts often seriously over-estimate attendance. The bias is not random, but correlated with a number of factors, such as the 26 < 27 Phillip, K., McGregor, A., Whittet, J., The Economic Costs of Sea-Level Rise to California Beach Communities. California Department of Boating and Waterways. 28 California Department of Boating and Waterways and State Coastal Conservancy, 2002.California Beach Restoration Study. Sacramento, California. 29 Phillip, K., McGregor, A., Whittet, J., The Economic Costs of Sea-Level Rise to California Beach Communities. California Department of Boating and Waterways. 30 Linwood Pendleton, Philip King, Craig Mohn, D. G. Webster, Ryan Vaughn, Peter N. Adams. Estimating the potential economic impacts of climate change on Southern California beaches. Climatic Change, 2011; 109 (S1): 277 DOI: /s

16 size of the beach and the methodologies employed to produce estimates. 31 Video technology and sub-sampling techniques may be a cost-effective way to accurately capture attendance patterns at beaches 32. Other examples of studies that can be useful include those evaluating people s willingness to pay for beaches. Financing adaptation actions The implementation of climate change adaptation strategies can be expensive depending on the extent of strategies planned for a community. Stakeholders have identified a need for ongoing research on financing strategies and funding sources. It is recommended that a current list of funding sources relevant to sea level rise adaptation in the San Diego region be maintained. 6) Stakeholder Engagement in Research Stakeholder engagement in research varies widely among research fields and research institutions. The need for more participatory research emerged several times during the process of creating this research agenda. Practitioners and members of the public could be very helpful in monitoring the impacts of sea level rise to help refine models. For example, people could be trained to measure wave run-up during high tides. People could also be trained to monitor ecological indicators such that scientists might better understand thresholds or the results of various adaptation efforts. Participatory research is also becoming an important tool in social vulnerability research, such that the assessment process leads to follow-up actions by local communities. 31 King, Philip, and Aaron McGregor. Who s Counting: An Analysis of Beach Attendance Estimates and Methodologies in Southern California. Ocean & Coastal Management 58 (March 2012): Ibid. 14

17 Conclusion and Next Steps In summary, this report identifies the priority research needs among practitioners and researchers for advancing planning for sea level rise in the San Diego Region. The science of climate change is rapidly evolving and connecting research projects to the needs of practitioners will help ensure that decision-making processes incorporate the latest science. Collaborative governance and funding will be essential to carrying out this research. A regional governance framework has already emerged in the San Diego region, and this framework can leveraged to champion the development of research identified in this document. Both the Sea Level Rise Adaptation Strategy 33 for San Diego Bay and this regional research agenda were spearheaded by the region s Public Agency Steering Committee on sea level rise 34, and it is recommended that the Steering Committee continues to oversee the advancement of items in the agenda. Another partnership that can assist the Public Agency Steering Committee in managing the advancement of the research agenda is the San Diego Climate Collaborative 35. The Climate Collaborative is a San Diego regional forum for public agencies to partner with academia, non-profit organizations, and business/community leaders in order to share expertise and leverage resources to facilitate climate action planning. One possible approach for the Public Agency Steering Committee and the San Diego Climate Collaborative to initiate research on the items in the agenda is to explore State and Federal level programs that have the capacity to take on such research. For example, the State of California s Climate Action Team has a Research Working Group, the tasks of which are to research the impacts of climate change on California, improve research coordination among State departments, identify research gaps and opportunities for collaboration, and provide a forum for discussing future state climate change research priorities 36. This working group maintains a Research Catalog 37 containing information on climate change research projects that are funded by the State. This research group will also be developing a cross-agency climate change research plan which will identify research priorities linked to policy needs/demands for the State. Similarly, the California-Nevada Applications Project set up through the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) also 33 < 34 The Public Agency Steering Committee is comprised of staff from coastal cities in the San Diego region, the San Diego Unified Port District, and the San Diego County Regional Airport Authority. Members of the Steering Committee are identified in the introduction section of this research agenda. 35 < 36 < 37 < 15

18 undertakes climate research in collaboration with stakeholders. It is recommended that these entities be contacted to explore how the research needs identified in this agenda might be met, particularly if on-going research projects can be leveraged to incorporate the identified research needs. There are numerous options for Federal, State, and Regional level funding that may be applicable to the research needs identified in this agenda. In addition, cities in the region would likely be competitive in emerging prize incentive programs such as the WWF Earth Hour City Challenge or Rockefeller Foundation s 100 Resilient Cities Challenge, which distribute funds for climate adaptation. Federal Funding Sources Various federal departments provide funding for efforts related to climate change adaptation. For example, Grants.gov maintains a database of information on over a thousand federal grant programs, some of which may be applicable to climate change adaptation projects 38. Similarly, the Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance is a collection of federal financial assistance programs administered by federal government departments 39. NOAA s Office of Ocean and Coastal Research Management has published a Planning Guide for State Coastal Managers 40, Appendix A of which contains a list of various federal departments that may provide funding for efforts directly or indirectly related to climate change adaptation. These departments include the Environmental Protection Agency, and the Departments of Commerce, Homeland Security, Defense, Interior, Housing and Urban Development, and Agriculture. Specifically noteworthy in this list is NOAA s Climate and Societal Interactions Program in the Climate Program Office 41. This program offers financial assistance for research, outreach, and education activities that enhance the capacity of key socioeconomic sectors to respond to and plan for a changing climate through the use of climate information and related decision-support resources. State Funding Sources CoolCalifornia.Org maintains a database of State as well as Federal funding sources called the Funding Wizard 42 applicable to climate change planning. Advanced searching methods can be applied to this database to identify State-level funding ear-marked for climate change adaptation planning. In the near-term, the California Coastal Conservancy, Coastal Commission, and Ocean Protection Council have developed a grant program for sea level rise adaptation in communities around the State. Many of the research needs described herein meet the funding criteria laid out the grant proposal solicitation. Proposals are due in July < 39 < 40 < 41 < 42 < 16

19 Regional Funding Sources The San Diego Region has benefitted from grants through the San Diego Foundation s Blasker-Miah-Rose Fund for the Environment 43 for many years. Under this fund, an emphasis has been placed on supporting students and early-career scientists, as well as projects that have the potential to improve the quality of life in the San Diego region and to encourage San Diegans to reach their full potential. Since 2007, awards from the Environment Blasker Grant Program have helped to advance the San Diego Foundation s Climate Initiative, by supporting research that enhances the understanding of how to address climate change in the San Diego region. This research has focused on (1) the potential local impacts of global climate change and (2) strategies to reduce our local greenhouse gas emissions and minimize climate change impacts. To date, the San Diego Foundation has supported twelve climate change research projects in San Diego County. These projects include California s first regional assessment of climate change impacts and regional inventory of greenhouse gas emissions. 43 < spx> 17

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