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Environment

Coastal Commission's New Strategic Plan To Focus On Sea Level Rise

The La Jolla coast is pictured on a cloudy morning, Sept. 25, 2019.
Erik Anderson
The La Jolla coast is pictured on a cloudy morning, Sept. 25, 2019.

The California Coastal Commission will focus a bit more on rising sea levels as the agency moves forward.

The commission monitors hundreds of miles of the coastal zone in California and members voted to approve a new strategic plan.

Coastal Commission’s New Strategic Plan To Focus On Sea Level Rise
Listen to this story by Erik Anderson.

The new guiding document strengthens the focus on coping with sea-level rise.

The coastal panel will pay extra attention to the development and implementation of local coastal plans because they are politically challenging and a source of tension.

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“If you have a lot of wealthy coastal property owners who are right there in vulnerable areas, the parts that are vulnerable to sea-level rise,” said Jennifer Savage, a member of Surfrider Foundation. “And you start having conflicts because what they want to do, usually, is put up seawalls.”

The issue is difficult because the commission will have to balance the needs of property owners and the public.

The new plan also considers environmental justice issues.

“For the past few years, a number of agencies have really gained a deeper understanding of how environmental justice is in their day to day operations,” Savage said.

The commission will continue to focus on a long time goal of making sure developers and private property owners do not close off public access to the state’s beaches.

The new strategic plan replaces one that was adopted in 2013.