Climate Change Projects

Sea Level Rise Adaptation


Sea Level Rise Vulnerability Assessment Checklist: Having supported several sea level rise assessments, the Conservancy has created guidance for communities embarking on this process.  Please see the interactive Prezi here. (move through it with your left and right arrow keys) for insights on how to plan and conduct your vulnerability assessment while keeping your community engaged and informed.


Case Study – Marin County: Marin Country is projected to be heavily impacted by sea level rise flooding and storms, with potential losses of $8.5 billion worth of buildings and contents on the bay shoreline. To better understand the effect of rising seas on their community, the County of Marin worked with the Coastal Conservancy and other partners to develop Marin Bay Waterfront Adaptation Vulnerability Evaluation (BayWAVE), which evaluated the extent of impacted assets, assess the sensitivity and adaptability of selected assets and worked with the local cities and towns to plan implementation of adaptation strategies.  Materials from this comprehensive study can be found below.

Current Grants

Highway 37 and the San Pablo Baylands: The Conservancy is providing regional leadership to the State Route (SR) 37 – Baylands Group through a technical assistance grant to the Sonoma Land Trust under the Conservancy’s Climate Ready Program. The purpose of this project is to ensuring that the redesign of SR 37 is compatible with and advances the ecological restoration and conservation goals for the San Pablo Baylands while promoting climate resilience for both ecosystem and the transportation system.

Past Grants

Marin Community Foundation Advancing Nature-Based Adaptation Solutions Grant ProgramThe California State Coastal Conservancy and the Marin Community Foundation are supporting a series of innovative projects that are developing and testing nature-based solutions to protect shorelines and adapt to sea level rise in Marin County.

City of Benicia: One hundred fifty thousand dollars ($150,000) to conduct a local vulnerability assessment to determine how climate-related risks will affect shoreline and community assets including watersheds, shoreline parks and trails, the Port of Benicia, and the Benicia Industrial Park.

San Francisco International Airport: Two hundred thousand dollars ($200,000) to assess the vulnerability of San Francisco International Airport and its neighbors to flooding from sea level rise and storms along the Bay shoreline focusing on San Bruno Creek and Colma Creek and to prepare an adaptation/mitigation plan with alternative conceptual adaptation strategies including nature-based solutions, as feasible.

San Francisquito Creek Joint Powers Authority: Two hundred thousand dollars ($200,000) to evaluate, design, and provide environmental documentation to demonstrate shoreline resilience to sea level rise and to extend flood protection to a larger portion of State Highway 84 and facilitate opportunities for implementing the South Bay Salt Ponds Restoration Project.

County of Santa Barbara: Two hundred thousand dollars ($200,000) to model future coastal hazards and their potential impacts and identify adaptation strategies to reduce these vulnerabilities.

The Nature Conservancy: One hundred fifty thousand dollars ($150,000) to incorporate the Coastal Conservancy-funded Monterey Bay sea level rise study into a cost-benefit analysis of adaptation strategies, improving its applicability to individual planning decisions.

City of Hermosa Beach: One hundred thousand dollars ($100,000) to assess infrastructure vulnerability to sea level rise and associated salinity intrusion into the shallow groundwater table, and develop and prioritize potential adaptation strategies.

City of Imperial Beach: Three hundred thousand dollars ($300,000) to assess the vulnerability of natural and built environments along the outer coast of Imperial Beach to sea level rise, storm surge, and erosion, and develop and prioritize feasible strategies to improve resilience.

Los Angeles County Department of Beaches and Harbors: Sixty-nine thousand eight hundred fifteen dollars ($69,815) to assess the vulnerability of Los Angeles County public beach facilities between Nicholas Canyon in Western Malibu to White Point/Royal Palms Beach in San Pedro and incorporate results into an adaptive management plan that is environmentally sensitive to beach ecology and economically sustainable.

Golden Gate National Parks Conservancy: One hundred thirty five thousand dollars ($135,000) to conduct a vulnerability and impact analysis on how sea level rise and associated affects from climate change will affect Crissy Field, inventory adaptation strategies, compile this information into an outreach process, and engage the community in sea level rise adaptation and management strategies through a RISE-UP game model, thereby exploring how current and future investments at Crissy Field could be impacted by the effects of sea level rise and what adaptation measures are appropriate to protect and enhance the site’s culture, natural, and recreational resources.

Marin County Community Development Agency: Two hundred fifty thousand dollars ($250,000) to develop a county-wide, multi-jurisdictional conceptual design of a sea level rise vulnerability assessment, write an opportunities and constraints report, and complete a CEQA/NEPA review in preparation for developing a working sea level rise plan, conducting community outreach, and developing an early action program.

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Natural Infrastructure

City of Arcata: Eighty-six thousand dollars ($86,000) to investigate and design a fringe salt marsh, or “living shoreline”, to protect City facilities vulnerable to sea level rise, quantify carbon sequestration potential of the fringe salt marsh and existing restored wetlands, and investigate the utility of “rolling easements” on private lands located adjacent to City-owned resources lands that are available for wetland migration as sea level rise impacts Arcata Bay and lands within the City of Arcata.

East Bay Dischargers Authority: Two hundred thousand dollars ($200,000) to identify feasible decentralized infrastructure and shoreline strategies and design options that could address projected sea level rise impacts, reduce greenhouse gases and increase carbon sequestration by enhancing Bayland ecosystems.

Save the Bay: One hundred twenty five thousand nine hundred eighteen dollars ($125,918) to restore 1.75 acres of transition zone habitat and complete the acreage on an active transition zone restoration site within the Eden Landing Ecological Reserve for a total of 4.25 restored acres, to increase species resilience to climate change impacts like sea level rise.

National Audubon Society, Inc.: Two hundred thousand dollars ($200,000) to enhance drainage conditions and construct 10 acres of an innovative climate-smart transition zone and enhance 260 acres of intertidal zone in the fringing tidal marsh along the western bank of Sonoma Creek in Sonoma County to increase regional resilience to climate change impacts like sea level rise.

Friends of the Dunes: Two hundred forty nine thousand two hundred forty six dollars ($249,246) to conduct a coastal dune vulnerability and adaptation assessment along 32 miles of coastline in Humboldt County, by measuring annual and seasonal changes in beach-dune morphology and vegetation, document historic changes in shoreline position and beach-dune morphology tied to historical climatic variability, assess sea-level rise vulnerability, establish demonstration sites to test two adaptation strategies, develop an empirically-based model of climate-driven scenarios of dune barrier response to sea-level rise, and build local and regional adaptive capacity.

The Bay Foundation: Sixty eight thousand eight hundred thirty three dollars ($68,833) to conduct a kelp forest hydrodynamics study that will quantify the effects of kelp forests on wave energy and current flow before and after restoration of 60 acres of rocky reef habitat from urchin barrens to valuable fish habitat consisting primarily of kelp forests.

Orange County Coastkeeper: Two hundred fifty thousand dollars ($250,000) to plan and implement a restoration and monitoring program of the native Olympia oyster and eelgrass in an innovative Living Shoreline design in Southern California, thereby demonstrating the effectiveness of innovative habitat p. 5 restoration to provide shoreline protection, with greater ecological benefits than traditional shoreline stabilization techniques.

Central Coast Wetlands Group: Fifteen hundred dollars ($15,000) to coordinate with partners on a restoration design and CEQA permitting to design a project that will 15-20 acres of invasive species on highly vulnerable areas of the dunes and plant native species, which will restore the adaptive capacity of vulnerable sections of the dunes at Salinas River State Park, protect adjacent resources from the impacts of sea level rise, enhance public coastal access, and provide education and outreach to the local community.

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Rangeland and Agricultural Adaptation

Gold Ridge Resource Conservation District: One hundred sixty-six thousand, seven hundred eight dollars ($166,708) to complete engineering designs for large-scale rainwater catchment and storage systems for five agricultural operations in western Sonoma County that will enhance water security for agriculture by reducing extraction from streams or shallow wells and preserving over-summer aquatic habitats in critical coastal ecosystems.

Gold Ridge Resource Conservation District: Two hundred eighteen thousand two hundred seventy dollars ($218,270) to construct a 1.4 million gallon pond with associated water collecting and pumping infrastructure to eliminate one of the largest summer water diversions from Salmon Creek, a critical coastal watershed for endangered Coho salmon, thereby increasing resiliency in the face of increasingly unreliable rainfall patterns for both the agricultural operation and Salmon Creek organisms.

Alameda County Resource Conservation District: Two hundred fifty thousand dollars ($250,000) to implement climate-resilient management strategies, water-related Best Management Practices, and an economically and ecologically sustainable grazing operation on 6,260 acres of land in the Sunol Regional Wilderness in Alameda County to increase landowners’ resiliency in the face of current and future drought, as well as other climate change impacts.

Trust for Conservation Innovation: Two hundred thirty five thousand six hundred forty seven ($235,647) to establish demonstration grassland restoration plots in Rush Ranch, Sears Point, and TomKat Ranch, working ranches that have a significant role in conserving coastal resources, and document the restoration technique, inventory and monitor effects, and disseminate and demonstrate results to increase rangeland resilience to climate change impacts.

Resource Conservation District of Santa Cruz County: Two hundred thousand dollars ($200,000) to accelerate the adoption of on-farm conservation practices in the coastal Pajaro Valley to improve climate change resiliency in agriculture while piloting the development of tools that will assist growers in understanding the risks of climate change to their operations.

Coastal San Luis Resource Conservation District: Three hundred eight thousand three hundred nine dollars ($308,309) to develop and implement beneficial practices to enhance rangeland resiliency to climate change while reducing greenhouse gas emissions and sequestering carbon at a ranch scale.

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Carbon Sequestration

Marin Resource Conservation District: Two hundred thousand dollars ($200,000) to develop and implement action plans and beneficial practices for carbon farms as well as select three demonstration carbon farms, which utilize aerobically composted agricultural waste to enhance rangeland and rancher resiliency to climate change while reducing greenhouse gas emissions and sequestering carbon.

Sempervirens Fund: One hundred thousand dollars ($100,000) to assess the feasibility of creating a carbon bank in the Santa Cruz mountains region as an incentive to conserve redwoods through aggregation of multiple small, privately-owned forest parcels.

Marin Resource Control District: Three hundred twenty five thousand dollars ($325,000) to integrate carbon farming, a whole-farm approach to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and promote long-term carbon sequestration in agriculture systems, into existing regional conservation planning programs in Napa, Sonoma, Marin, and Mendocino counties to support climate change resiliency, improve soil health, water holding capacity, and crop and forage production.

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Urban Greening

Bay Area Ridge Trail Council: Sixty-three thousand dollars ($63,000) to explore, test, and document best practices to leverage the potential of trails and transit to reduce greenhouse gases by evaluating trail and transit connections in the southern San Francisco Bay Area.

Resource Conservation District of Santa Cruz County: One hundred sixty-three thousand dollars ($163,000) to develop tools to protect and improve water supply reliability in response to climate change impacts by increasing groundwater recharge through stormwater capture.

Heal the Bay: One hundred sixty-nine thousand dollars ($169,000) to quantify the benefits of the “Living Streets” program, document the potential and value of “the program as a climate change adaptation strategy, and design two living street demonstration projects.

North East Trees: One hundred sixty thousand six hundred dollars ($160,600) to demonstrate and implement landscaping techniques that specifically reduce vulnerability in the Highland Park area of northeast Los Angeles from climate change impacts.

Council for Watershed Health: One hundred fifty thousand dollars ($150,000) to evaluate stormwater capture potential and identify feasible catchments for stormwater infiltration and recommend best management practices for groundwater recharge throughout the coastal watersheds in Los Angeles County.

The Watershed Project: Two hundred two thousand two hundred and six dollars ($202,206) to transform a 2,280 sq. ft. paved median in the center of a parking lot into a bioswale, and create a second bioswale on the 4,380 sq. ft. of existing pavement in the parking lot at Booker T Anderson Jr Park in a low-income community in Richmond, to sequester carbon and reduce the urban heat island effect, in addition to other benefits.

County of Los Angeles Department of Parks and Recreation: One hundred thousand dollars ($100,000) to create a model park landscape at Eugene A. Obregon park by planting native drought-tolerant trees, creating a demonstration garden, constructing bio-retention basins and vegetated swales, and replacing the approximately 30,000 square foot dark asphalt parking lot with permeable pavement and other improvements in East Los Angeles to sequester greenhouse gases and mitigate the urban heat island effect, in addition to other benefits.

Trust for Public Land: Two hundred thousand dollars ($200,000) to pilot a highly replicable demonstration of multi-benefit vegetated infrastructure in an existing alleyway in South Los Angeles to sequester carbon and mitigate the urban heat island effect, in addition to other benefits.

From Lot to Spot: Two hundred five thousand nine hundred thirty nine dollars ($205,939) to engage the community to restore 54,000 sq. ft. of the Dominguez Creek by planting a tree canopy and restoring riparian habitat with over 1,500 native plants, utilizing recycled water and restoring the bike path accessible to the disadvantaged communities of Hawthorne, Inglewood and Gardena, and to sequester carbon and mitigate the urban heat island effect, in addition to other benefits.

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