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New Grants Help San Diego County Groups Study Climate Change

Record rainfall causes flooding in Mission Valley, May 15, 2015.
Nicholas McVicker
Record rainfall causes flooding in Mission Valley, May 15, 2015.
New Grants Help San Diego County Groups Study Climate Change
New Grants Help San Diego County Groups Study Climate Change GUESTS:Serge Dedina, mayor, Imperial Beach Nicola Hedge, environmental initiatives director, San Diego Foundation

This more summer rain in the forecast in San Diego about the kind of humidity we're not used to. Now forecasters say we may be in for a super El Niño this fall and winter. All of this as many communities are concerned after many years of parched earth and drought they may not be prepared for heavy influx of rain. That concern also ties in with efforts to prepare for the acts of climate change. Frequent flooding becomes a major threat. Let's get an update on the weather headed our way. Is at the rain coming up from the South apart of another tropical storm? This one is not. This is more of our classic monsoon pattern with a moisture actually comes all the way from the Gulf of Mexico and travels across Mexico and into the southwestern United States. The one we had a couple weekends ago was a tropical system Dolores the came up the South and bought us all that rainfall. We usually get summer of thunderstorms, is this events happening today and tomorrow, is this is supposed to move west towards coastal areas? It has a chance to. In this type of pattern, the winds are really strong out of the southeast about push the storms toward the northwest. Right now today, we see some buildups and there are a few showers and thunderstorms warming. What happened to form your Palomar and drifted up toward the to macula area. There's a chance we could see a shower or thunderstorm drift into the inland valleys and perhaps make it to the coastal zones. How much rain is expected? This one won't filled nearly as bad as the last one in the sense that most of the rain that falls is going to fall over the mountains and the foothills. Is probably where they will see the most rainfall as a postal the last storm we had a lot of rain, we know how bad Ramona got hit with the heavy rain there. Plaster we got was a remnants of hurricane. This is more typical monsoonal flow. Are those tropical storms we've been seeing linked to El Niño? There is some small signal taking shape. The ocean water temperatures are incredibly warm, well above average. There's lots of talk about El Niño. What we have is above average temperature in the ocean, that leads to greater growth for hurricanes that form. They can move further North because the waters are warmer there. Typically, we're 45° above average for the temperatures off the coast of San Diego. That holds true to about 10° north latitude. The hurricanes that warm, they hold their strength longer as they drift North and can impact to see here in Southern California. The reference at the fact that this forming in the Pacific is being called by some super El Niño. What does that mean? It's a term used to categorize this one as an unusually strong El Niño. One that can be classified in the same caliber as the ones we talked about earlier. Those were amazing winter seasons that brought us a lot of rain. Signals we see in the tropical Pacific as far as ocean water temperatures are beginning to rival the numbers we saw back then. We still have a few more months updated to collect to see where it will end up. It looks like it's going to be a significant El Niño. We will hope for some much needed rain and Southern California. It doesn't guarantee will see a lot of rain however it increases our odds that we will have above average rainfall here in Southern California. Thank you so much. Joining me now to talk about efforts to repair San Diego for the long-term effects of climate change are my guests Serge Dedina, mayor, Imperial Beach . Welcome. Nicola Hedge, environmental initiatives director, San Diego Foundation Welcome. If I may, in reference to the rain from these tropical storms and the possible downfalls ahead, how his Imperial Beach preparing for these upcoming weather events? Thanks to the San Diego foundation, Imperial Beach is underway the planning effort to deal with that. The storm we had two weeks ago to bring rain and flooding to San Diego. It brought larger than average surf. What we've been seeing, is larger storms in the southern hemisphere. We've had more coastal erosion then in winter. With the coming El Niño, we will see big winter storms that bring storm surge. Thanks to this grant a week God's, we're working with stakeholders and scientific experts to identify the areas we need to deal with to prepare for what's going to be coastal flooding and this committal sea level rise I could happen during these a big storms. What are the areas really at risk when you get this kind of storm. I'm very familiar with just about every square inch of our community surrounded by coast. We face the Pacific ocean, on the South and we have the estuary and the north end of a. We are seeing coastal flooding. During the ties we watched the ocean tape into the street and pour back into the estuary. We Have St., Anza flooded almost year-round. On the Bay front, we residents complaining of flooded alleyways. It gives is a good indication of what's happening and why we need to plan for that what we need to do. It will be vulnerable areas around our beachfront. Mayor already restaurant -- reference to grant but I would like to explain that a little bore, the San Diego foundation is awarding grants to San Diego communities to prepare for climate change. How did that come about? We're celebrating our 40th year of improving the quality of life throughout San Diego's diverse communities through promoting effective and responsible plan to be. One of the trans-we see as mentioned, is our region is going to face significant risk from the effects of climate change. We want to work with our partners to ground approximately 300,000 out to six local groups to help them prepare to help them work with government officials, nonprofits and communities scientists etc. And how we can best prepare for the future. This comes about as the result of a project called San Diego 2050 is calling. The petition took in a lots of input to figure out what were the main areas of concern and what San Diego have to prepare for in -- leading to 2050. Yes. This time last year we released the report, we set the foundation with a consortium of groups, climate education partners and it took in amazing wealth of scientific knowledge we have here in the region about this issue and how it will affect the diverse communities we have throughout San Diego. It really analyzed the top trends. Also suggested some of the ways communities could act now. We think these grants are a great representation of what immunities can do proactively with the information we have today. To better ensure we have a strong economy and help the environment. Give us a range of the kinds of things these grants will allow San Diego communities to plan for and study. As you addressed with Imperial Beach, we have 10 coastal cities throughout San Diego, when we heard from scientists that one in 100 year flood we see today may be the annual flooding near 2050, that poses a lot of questions for coastal communities such as Imperial Beach. Tuber grants focus on coastal flooding and its increase in frequency and intensity and how communities such as Imperial Beach and others, can really better understand and proactively to prepare. With other grants focused on looking at the trans-around wildfires. Is something we are very familiar with here in San Diego and scientists tell us with the effects of climate change, with warmer and drier conditions, with less frequent more intense precipitation we're likely to see increasing conditions for wildfires. One of our grants helps helps support the resource conservation District and there work with fire said councils to better prepare residents an update the community wildfire protection plans. Let me go back if I may. As part of the description of this grants awarded, it's just as Imperial Beach as a coastal Trinity at risk of climate change. Part of that risk is social equity issues. What is involved in circle -- social activity and why is it important? Imperial Beach is a working-class community. We have neighborhoods that haven't received attention other neighborhoods have. Especially in the north part of our city, on a statewide level it means we have to prioritize areas like Imperial Beach and not make sure all the funding and support for dealing with climate change goes to places like Laguna Beach and Malibu that are considerably more wealthy. On a statewide level, that's the biggest issue we will do with nationwide. Our residents are mole more vulnerable to these issues. They don't have the resources to deal with this that other cities have private funds to do with it., We're working on getting a supermarket and paving our alleys. It's great that agencies are helping us because we need all the help we can get, more importantly we think it's important to be a model for other communities statewide an understanding of raising these issues. Helping our residents and businesses and community deal with it effectively and safely. How will the grants be used? Will sit down with stakeholders in the community and identify vulnerable areas. We can look at things we can do that don't cost tons of money that we can plan now and in the future to identify how we can identify the impact. Talking about how to deal with coastal erosion. How we bring the best scientists to bear on this issue as well. We have lots of scientists researching this issue of climate change and its effects for years. Will they be involved in the planning effort? We're lucky we have scientists in Imperial Beach. We have people like Bob Cusa were already doing research in Imperial Beach and have been very a -- involved. Also telling us how dynamic are coastal zone is. Live a very dynamic coastal zones we need to get the best science involved to make sure we make the best decisions. This will help us do that and bring the community together is something everyone is concerned about. How concerned are you? When I watched the king tides of flowing into the street, it wasn't a big surf, it was the tide got to a circuit -- certain point in the oceans to pouring into the streets and didn't stop. I had never seen that before. It will be to the fact that we need to be smart about this and deal with it before it too late. I think that's something we're doing in Imperial Beach. The more we embrace this and understand it, the more we can deal and planted in the future. Is something we just did in the wetlands, the Port of San Diego agreed to restore that area and the money from that will be thrown into improving neighborhoods in South San Diego and Imperial Beach. Was really happy about the port should be acknowledged about that, it's a ground picking program. You're looking at this on multiple fronts, how to counteract and prepare for what may be coming. Nicola, in granting these awards to various a communities, the San Diego foundation, is basically saying we need to prepare now. We need to prepare for regional climate challenges. What is our region at risk if we don't prepare? The report mentioned earlier outlined a lot of those risks. We're likely to see -- it's no secret we're in a drought. We know from experts that we're likely to see warmer conditions over time. We're likely to see increasing conditions for drought and while far. That poses a lot of risks for cities and communities. Is a lot of things we can do now to understand those risks and take action. I know a lot of people may feel this is far in the future. We have examples hearing -- happening here today. Is a lot of decisions we make that will affect how we live work and grow into the future, we think at the San Diego foundation of all the partners are able to work with through these grants and other programs, this is something we really need to ensure we do our part to build the quality of life for San Diegan's today as well as future generations. Serge Dedina, mayor, Imperial Beach I want to thank and Nicola Hedge, environmental initiatives director, San Diego Foundation.

New funding will allow organizations in San Diego County to study and plan for climate change around the region.

The San Diego Foundation awarded more than $300,000 in grants in an effort to help communities prepare for climate issues and determine how they will impact the regional economy and quality of life.

"Our region is going to face significant risk from the effects of climate change," Nicola Hedge, environmental initiatives director for the San Diego Foundation, told KPBS Midday Edition on Wednesday. "We think these grants are a great representation of what we can do proactively, and really preserve the quality of life we know and love in San Diego."

News of the grants comes as weather forecasters say there may be an El Niño or Super El Niño this fall.

The grants were awarded to:

• Local Governments for Sustainability

• City of Imperial Beach

• Center for Sustainable Energy

• Resource Conservation District of Greater San Diego County

• Local Government Commission

• City of Chula Vista

Imperial Beach Mayor Serge Dedina said a $70,000 grant will be used to study the impact of sea level rise and flooding in the city. He said it is about having a plan before one is needed.

"The message I want to get out is the time to plan is now,” said Dedina who is also the co-founder of the conservation group, WILDCOAST.

New Grants Help San Diego County Groups Study Climate Change