The Commission owns and manages millions of acres of sovereign lands and resources that are held in trust for the public to use and enjoy. Sea-level rise poses a growing threat to California's public lands and resources. The Commission's efforts are helping prepare for sea-level rise. The Commission is incorporating sea-level rise and climate change considerations into its work and is committed to ensuring that the State's coastal regions and navigable waterways are protected and publicly accessible.
A seven-member team of experts has provided the State with a report on the best-available sea-level rise science, including recent scientific advances on the role of polar ice loss.
What's to come
Climate models indicate that sea-level could rise by nearly 66 inches (167 cm) by the end of this century, exacerbating the effects of existing natural hazards, including storms and high tides. California's coastline will change as sea-levels rise, which will have many consequences for sovereign public trust lands, resources, and assets, and may lead to significant environmental, social, and economic impacts.
Vast state-owned lands and resources under the Commission's jurisdiction will be affected by rising sea-levels. While some of these lands remain in a natural state, significant portions have been developed pursuant to leases issued by the Commission or through legislative grants to local jurisdictions. Future sea-level rise is expected to compound the effects of natural hazards on existing critical coastal and bay infrastructure, and may affect the boundaries between sovereign public trust lands and privately owned uplands, which may reduce or eliminate public access along the coast.
The Commission is a land and resource trust manager and thus has significant influence over development and uses of public trust lands that will be affected by sea-level rise. As discussed under Interagency Coordination, Commission staff is collaborating with federal, state, and local agencies to plan for and mitigate the impacts of sea-level rise on the lands and natural resources under its jurisdiction. Through continued collaboration; commitment to science-based, comprehensive, and transparent policy development; and focused education efforts, the Commission and its staff are dedicated to protecting and enhancing the public’s interests in the lands, resources, and assets under its jurisdiction as sea-level rises.