The annual increase in global temperatures has led to a sea level rise of approximately 8 inches and the National Research Council predicts that by year 2100 sea levels in California may swell between 4-56 inches. An increase of such proportion will significantly magnify natural disasters resulting from flooding, erosion, and weather phenomenon. Abiding by the California Coastal Act, the primary law governing coastal land management, the California Coastal Commission has collaborated with local governments to plan for the effects of climate change, but rising sea levels pose new threats and challenges for the state of California and its public port authorities.
California’s public ports serve a primary role in California’s trade economy, and as such, are uniquely recognized by the Coastal Act. The Coastal Act encourages ports to modernize and pursue capital improvement projects while balancing socioeconomic and environmental factors, and their geographic location and critical function to regional, state and national economies is unique as well.
Implementation of appropriate sea level rise policies will require modeling, data collection, mapping, public outreach, drafting, and monitoring, which along with California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) review, will require significant investment of time and resources. It is important that ports, state and federal entities, and local jurisdictions, work closely together to develop policies that are rational for the on-going and vital operations of our ports and that include significant funding for data collection, research, planning, and implementation of efforts to address sea level rise concerns.Official Policy Guidance CAPA Comments on Sea Level Rise