Sea-Level Rise

The Commission owns and manages millions of acres of sovereign lands and resources that it holds in trust subject to the common law Public Trust Doctrine. If unaddressed, sea-level rise can have catastrophic consequences for these lands and resources. The Commission works hard to facilitate sea-level rise preparedness, with an emphasis on protecting California’s public trust lands and the public’s right to access and enjoy these lands. The Commission partners with the Legislature and federal, state, and local agencies to stay at the forefront of efforts to mitigate the impacts of sea-level rise on the lands and natural resources entrusted to its care.

Interagency Coordination

Commission staff contributes to state and regional efforts to prepare and adapt to sea-level rise. Staff is a member of several interagency workgroups and initiatives, including the Coastal and Ocean Resources Working Group for the Climate Action Team, the State Coastal Leadership Group on Sea-Level Rise, and the California Collaborative on Coastal Resilience. Staff also serves on the San Francisco Bay Conservation and Development Commission (BCDC) and contributes to BCDC’s efforts to develop strategies to address regional sea-level rise and improve preparedness.

Mapping Tools & Resources

Resources for analysis and evaluation of impacts related to sea-level rise.

AB 691 - Proactively Planning for Sea-Level Rise Impacts

AB 691 (Muratsuchi) Chapter 592, Statutes of 2013, involves sea-level rise impacts on granted public trust lands. Assessing the impacts of sea-level rise for public trust lands is a management priority for local trustees. Trustees with annual gross revenue from their trust lands that exceed $250,000 are required to prepare and submit to the Commission, by July 1, 2019, an assessment of how they propose to address sea-level rise.

Read more about AB 691

Latest News

Sea-Level Rise Impact Assessments

City of Alameda City of Avalon City of Berkeley City of Benicia City of Carpinteria Coyote Point, San Mateo County City of Crescent City Dana Point Harbor, Orange County City of Emeryville City of Eureka City of Long Beach City of Monterey City of Morro Bay Newport...

The Commission has released its own Sea-Level Rise Viewer

The Commission has released its own Sea-Level Rise Viewer, an interactive web mapping application to assist users with understanding the risks and impacts to Public Trust lands and resources. The viewer contains data about the Commission’s leases, coastal county and...

What’s to Come

Photo of the Twin Lakes Flood by David Revell, PWAClimate 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.