State Lands Commission adopts principles for aligned state action to make California’s coast resilient to sea level rise

Apr 30, 2020 | Press Release, Sea Level Rise

Sacramento, Calif.—The State Lands Commission adopted “Making California’s Coast Resilient to Sea Level Rise: Principles for Aligned State Action” yesterday. These principles will unify state agencies in effective action toward sea level rise resilience that is grounded in science, partnership, communication, and local support.

“California is at a critical juncture for adapting to sea level rise. A unified approach will lead to greater success in safeguarding our coastal public trust lands and resources,” said State Controller Betty T. Yee, State Lands Commission Chair, and California’s Chief Fiscal Officer. “Coordination and collaboration of our investments going forward will result in better solutions to the challenges of sea level rise while benefitting our economy in these challenging times.”

Climate change and rising sea levels are existential threats to California and our coast. The magnitude of their impacts intensifies year after year. Across the country, from the shores of Louisiana, Florida, and North Carolina to New York, New Jersey, and Delaware, we see the devastation that more frequent coastal flooding and stronger storms have wrought on communities. The sea level rise projections for California show the threat accelerating quickly along our own coast, with considerable environmental justice implications, billions of dollars in potential damages to property and development, impacts to water supplies, and major losses of beaches, tidepools, coastal rivers, estuaries, and wetlands.

“Successful adaptation to sea level rise requires the collective talent of all of our state agencies. The Commission adopted these principles today because we must approach this shared challenge with one unified voice,” said Lieutenant Governor and State Lands Commissioner Eleni Kounalakis.

The principles were shaped by the California Natural Resources Agency, the California Environmental Protection Agency, and a host of other state entities with coastal, bay, and shoreline climate resilience responsibilities. They will be implemented across agencies so that their work is guided by a common, clear, and foundational vision. It is from these thematic principles—partnerships, science, local support, alignment, and communication—that California will meet this challenge.

“Sea level rise presents a grave threat to California’s beaches, ports, and coastal communities,” said California Natural Resources Secretary Wade Crowfoot. “The Commission’s leadership tackling this challenge is essential and the principles adopted today will anchor collaboration across state agencies to build our resilience to sea level rise.”

The “Making California’s Coast Resilient to Sea Level Rise: Principles for Aligned State Action” and the Commission’s staff report can be accessed here.