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Imperial Beach Officials Planning For Sea Level Rise And More Local News

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On today's San Diego News Matters podcast: Imperial Beach faces the most imminent threat from rising sea levels, and city officials are already thinking about adaptation strategies. Plus: you’ve heard of NIMBYs and YIMBYs, now meet the PIMBYs, the "Parents in my Backyard'; SDSU students hold a vigil for the victim of the recent synagogue shooting in Poway and more San Diego and California news.

Show transcript

Speaker 1: 00:00 Good morning. It's May 2nd. I'm Deb Welsh and you're listening to San Diego news matters. Cya. Just say there's no escaping rising ocean levels as the climate changes. That prediction is not lost on officials in San Diego County, southern most coastal community. Imperial beach is already feeling the impact of rising ocean levels from our climate change desk. KPBS environment reporter Eric Anderson has details.

Speaker 2: 00:26 Imperial beaches year began with a king tide,

Speaker 3: 00:30 the store, this is Cortez Avenue and back in January this place was a mess. You can see over here the sandbags that they were using in part to hold back some of the sand and the water that was coming onto this street. If you look over here, these are the big rocks that are designed to keep the ocean off of. This property didn't quite work out that way. It just washed right over and brought with it sand and water. It looked like the ocean and just expanded. It was coming at us.

Speaker 2: 01:03 Search Adina is the mayor of imperial beach.

Speaker 4: 01:06 We're just seeing a lot more things happening that we just never used to see him see me for

Speaker 2: 01:10 Dudina knows rising ocean levels are a problem for his community of about 28,000 he joined us to talk about rising sea levels, but not where you might expect. This area is on the northern edge of the town had its already feeling the effect of a rising ocean

Speaker 4: 01:27 where the south end of San Diego Bay, this is a a little uh, inlet from the bay, which is a national wildlife refuge that connects to our storm drain system and then flows under Bayside side elementary school, which is a steam academy. This was, this was still a wetland right here. So really what's happening with sea level rise and coastal flooding, it's the water's reoccupying the area that it used to flow through anyway. And when you see the flood maps and IB, what you're seeing is water going to areas where it traditionally was, IB was really built on sort of a wetland and salt flat. So we're really re nature's just coming back to reoccupied the areas and it always wasn't,

Speaker 2: 02:02 Dina says Bayside Elementary. His future is uncertain because flood maps show this neighborhood could be mostly underwater if ocean levels continue to rise to Dina says it takes just a little stormy weather to make that happen. Now

Speaker 4: 02:16 25 to 50 mile an hour northwest winds pushing water this way. A king tide heavy rain, we're getting heavier rains in normal because of all the moisture in the atmosphere and so water starts going like you know, starts pushing this way. You get the whole storm drain system backed up and then you get started getting the rain flooding. Um, the neighborhood as well. That's already happening.

Speaker 2: 02:36 Dina says the natural geography that is causing problems may also offer some solutions. He says there is still a buffer between San Diego Bay and the public property the school sits on. He says, turning that buffer into wetland habitat could help to, Deena says it's something city officials are already talking about. What

Speaker 4: 02:55 can we do in a natural climate solution way? What are the adaptation measures that we can take work on the restoration efforts we can take, can we, can we sort of work with nature first and foremost and and see if we can minimize the, the risks that way.

Speaker 2: 03:09 Dina sees promise in some of the wetland restoration. The U s fish and Wildlife Service has already done on the southern edge of San Diego Bay, but he's also realistic. He knows the ocean is capable of reclaiming parts of imperial beach and he worries about the rising water levels and how it will hurt the rest of his city.

Speaker 4: 03:28 This year we spent $15,000 on a drive on taking sand out of a national wildlife refuge because the federal government was closed. That's our junior lifeguard program for the summer. That means an underserved kids that don't have a lot of money, get free scholarships to go to the junior lifeguard program to spend the summer at the beach. Well, if we're spending all our money on on sea level rise and coastal flooding, we can't help our most underserved, low income kids have a great quality of life and that's really important for me.

Speaker 2: 03:51 And wild quality of life is an issue at imperial beach. So is the city's economy. Visitors pump lots of money into the community when they drop in to enjoy the coast and beaches. Most of my teeth, gum from tourists, Cesar Romero relies on tourists for his livelihood literally to come to take a walk on the Pier Mosley while he doesn't spend a lot of time thinking about sea level rise, he does acknowledge and encroaching ocean could change everything, not just the shoreline. Eric Anderson, KPBS news

Speaker 1: 04:27 students from San Diego State University gathered for a vigil honoring the life of 60 year old Lori Kay, who died in the shooting at the hub od of Poway KPBS reporter Prius Sri. There was there dozens of students, faculty and staff from Sdsu read a Jewish prayer for healing and wrote postcards to the congregation of the Hibachi of Poway. Saturday in 19 year old gunman allegedly opened fire at the synagogue killing Lori k and injuring three others. Marshall Kata is a Jewish student at the university.

Speaker 5: 04:59 I came to write a card because I feel that there is strength and knowing that even however far away that uh, there are people behind you.

Speaker 1: 05:11 The visual also coincided with the Holocaust remembrance. Day organizer is Lit One candle and honor of k and another in honor of the approximately 6 million Jewish people who died during the Holocaust Prius Sri there Kay PBS news. The population in the state of California is seeing a slower rate of growth. Then years past KPBS is my of troubles. He explains what that means for the country's most populous state.

Speaker 6: 05:38 The beginning of 2019 showed the California population at just shy of 40 million people and that estimate includes a reduction of 18,000 births last year compared to the year before that led to the slowest recorded growth rates since record keeping started in the year 1900 Ethan share is a demographer for the California Department of Finance. He says, there is a link between college education and fertility rates.

Speaker 7: 06:05 Native born fertility has been decreasing throughout the country. It's a general trend towards a women getting more education, uh, which translates to later and see your children,

Speaker 6: 06:18 but that's not the only reason. California is aging with a large percentage of the population over 65 which contributed to a slight uptick in deaths. Maya trouble C K PBS news.

Speaker 1: 06:30 The Trump administration wants to strip federal endangered species protections from gray wolves, even though a state judge ruled earlier this year that the gray wolf should remain protected in California capital public radio's as her David Romero reports.

Speaker 8: 06:46 There are around 5,000 gray wolves across the US and about a dozen of them live in California. In 1975 there were fewer than a thousand. Ashleigh south of the center for Biological Diversity says d listing the species would be premature

Speaker 9: 07:01 after being driven to the brink of extinction. Wolf's today live in only a fraction of their historic range and they've really only just begun to return to California.

Speaker 8: 07:11 The worry is that d listing wolves could open populations to hunting. The administration isn't holding public hearings, so advocates are having their own. The loan. California rally and hearing will be held in Sacramento. Thursday at 5:00 PM comments will be transcribed and submitted by the May 14th deadline in Sacramento. I'm as her David Romero

Speaker 1: 07:31 feeding America has released its map the meal gap annual study which found more than 130,000 children in San Diego and imperial counties are struggling with hunger. That's one in six kids. KPBS reporter Matt Hoffman says a local nonprofit is trying to curb those numbers.

Speaker 10: 07:50 Alexander Hamilton elementary school hosts of food bank twice a month. Stephanie Partita has a first grader here and often comes to pick up food.

Speaker 9: 07:57 I incorporate it and um, when I make dinner and lunch and breakfast sometimes depending on what they give us is something different. Every time we come

Speaker 10: 08:06 feeding San Diego CEO, Vince Hall says it operates 40 food pantries at schools across San Diego and is looking to expand.

Speaker 7: 08:13 The availability of donated food is growing faster than the distribution capacity of our network. And so we need more nonprofit agencies at the neighborhood level who are willing to partner with feeding San Diego to help us to rescue food, to help us to distribute that food to the community.

Speaker 10: 08:28 Feeding San Diego tries to target schools that need food pantries the most. At Alexander Hamilton elementary, more than 90% of students are eligible for free or reduced lunches. Matt Hoffman, Kpbs News,

Speaker 1: 08:40 Kelly supervisors. Wednesday approved more than $14 million in upgrades for a popular recreation area in lakeside. KPB SSLI Hickson has details. The project at Linda Lake Park is designed to improve the health of the lake, deepening it to 10 feet and improving the lakes aquatic ecosystem. County officials say the project. We'll also add a fishing pier, birdwatching stations, picnic tables and landscaping while also restoring wetland and native habitats. Lindo the county's only natural lake is home to numerous freshwater birds over the years, however, erosion from development and decreased stormwater runoff have degraded water quality. The first phase of the Linda Lake project. According to county documents, we'll begin this winter and completions expected in 2021 Sally Hixon KPBS news. If you've been following California's housing crisis, you've probably heard of Nimby not in my backyard. And you might've heard of UMB. That's yes in my backyard. Well, you can now add Pim v to your housing vocabulary. Parents in my backyard, more and more California seniors are turning to accessory dwelling units or AAD use as they age. As part of our Grand California series. Cal Matters. Matt Levin brings us this profile.

Speaker 11: 09:59 Paul beam is the kind of guy who laughs at his own dad joke

Speaker 12: 10:03 and we have a fan going to drive the dry wall walls. Can you get that dry? We're going to drive the dry wall walls. I just made that up.

Speaker 11: 10:17 The 63 year old retired school teacher shows me around the Adu getting built in the backyard of his San Jose home. You might call them in law units or granny flats.

Speaker 12: 10:26 And so you are in actually the living room and you got a couple of skylights here. You've got three sky lights and the

Speaker 11: 10:33 palsy do you feel is bigger than it's 500 square feet, but that's still a lot smaller than the home just across the yard where he lives with his wife, Rosa, which means less room for lots of things like arguing

Speaker 13: 10:45 the threshold there is going to have a sign, no fights allowed. From this point in,

Speaker 11: 10:49 you can tell Paul's excited about is adu even the attic.

Speaker 12: 10:53 There is no light in the attic unlike the book, but you can take a peek up there if you'd like,

Speaker 11: 11:01 but what he's really excited about is what the Adu means for his family.

Speaker 13: 11:04 My daughter is a teacher in her husband is a counselor. Their combined income is not enough to afford a home here, so they began to look at the Sacramento area as an alternative.

Speaker 11: 11:17 Paul didn't want to drive that far to see any future grandkids, so he and Rosa made their daughter in offer. They would build an adu in the backyard where Daniella and her husband would live and pay rent and in the future.

Speaker 13: 11:29 One potential is that my daughter and my son and I lived there for a number of years and then at some point they would move into.

Speaker 1: 11:38 This story comes to us from our California dream collaboration. You can find out more at Grande, california.org thanks for listening to KPBS is San Diego news matters podcast. For more local stories, go to Kate pbs.org.

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San Diego News Matters

KPBS' daily news podcast covering local politics, education, health, environment, the border and more. New episodes are ready weekday mornings so you can listen on your morning commute.