The Coastal Conservancy and Climate Change

A presentation on the impacts of sea level rise on the California coast from Dr. Patrick Barnard (USGS) and Mary Small (Coastal Conservancy) at the Coastal Conservancy’s February 2023 Board Meeting can be found here.

The Coastal Conservancy’s Climate Ready Program is helping natural resources and human communities along California’s coast and San Francisco Bay adapt to the impacts of climate change, such as rising sea levels, beach and bluff erosion, extreme weather events, flooding, increasing temperatures, changing rainfall patterns, decreasing water supplies, and increasing fire risk. The Conservancy is also working to capture greenhouse gases from the atmosphere through the conservation of natural and working lands.

In 2007 the Conservancy incorporated specific measures to address climate change in its strategic planning. In 2009 the Conservancy adopted a comprehensive Climate Change Policy that informs all aspects of its work and amended its Project Selection Criteria to ensure that all Conservancy projects are designed with climate change in mind. In 2012, the legislature and governor empowered the Conservancy with specific authority (SB 1066, Lieu) to prepare for and adapt to the effects of climate change and take action against its causes.

The Conservancy’s Climate Ready Program is focused on supporting planning, project implementation and multi-agency coordination to advance actions that will increase the resilience of coastal communities and ecosystems. Through its Climate Ready Grant rounds, the Conservancy has awarded $10.7 million for 57 projects; click here for a list of projects funded. In addition, the Conservancy is working on dozens of other Climate Ready Projects; examples of these projects are provided below.

We have also created a grant program with the  Marin Community Foundation to support innovative projects that are developing and testing nature-based solutions to protect shorelines and adapt to sea level rise in Marin County.

The Ocean is Moving In

Seas are now predicted to rise between 1 and 7 feet by 2100. It’s occurring faster than you think and will be much worse than scientists first expected. Sea level rise isn’t an issue that just affects wealthy homeowners along the coast, it threatens EVERY Californian. If we don’t start actively preparing and planning right now, rising seas and coastal erosion could have catastrophic impacts on our economy, environment, infrastructure and quality of life throughout the state. To that end, the State of California has launched to learn how you can rise to the challenge.

Sea Level Rise Adaptation Planning

The Conservancy is helping many communities assess the vulnerability of their communities and natural resources to sea level rise and create adaptation plans to counter threats of sea level rise.  We fund technical tools and studies that help understanding and planning for sea level rise impacts.

Natural Infrastructure

The Conservancy is helping to plan, design, and implement living shorelines throughout the state that use oyster beds, wetlands, dunes, and other natural habitats to buffer the impacts of rising seas and increased storm events while providing multiple benefits.

Rangeland and Agricultural Adaptation

The Conservancy is helping rangeland and agricultural lands adapt to changing climates including grazing operations, grassland restoration, and water and soil conservation projects such as water catchments and storage design.

Carbon Sequestration

Climate change has been driven by greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions into the atmosphere and the Conservancy is working to protect natural and working lands that remove and capture these gases in photosynthesis. Projects include acquisitions of coastal forests, wetland restoration, carbon banking, and carbon farming.

Urban Greening

Global warming, drought, and runoff from extreme storms threaten the well-being of millions of urban residents. Conservancy funding is supporting inner-city projects that are creating shady retreats for residents, conserving rainwater, capturing stormwater pollution, and reducing air temperatures.

Climate Change News

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