California's Vanishing Coastline: Can We Reinvent It?

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California's coastline is facing an existential threat. Rising sea levels will intensify erosion, flooding, and damage from storms.

Oceanographer Gary Griggs has studied California's coast for over 50 years. He understands the allure and fragility of coastal living, and he sees the need for new solutions.

Seawalls, beach nourishment, and elevating communities are all expensive and unsustainable options.

We must prefer sustainability!

The best way to protect California's coast is to preserve natural buffers like dunes, marshes, and beaches.

"Managed retreat" is the controversial alternative to fortifying the coast. It involves relocating at-risk developments inland.

Managed retreat is the strategic relocation of people and assets away from areas at risk of climate change impacts, such as sea level rise and flooding.

Three key strategies could help reinvent California's coastal future:

– Prioritize natural "green infrastructure" over seawalls.

– Incentivize "rolling easements" that allow development but require periodic relocation landward.

A rolling easement “rolls” upland as sea level rise & coastal erosion cause coastline encroachment

– Launch a "grow inland" initiative that invests in repurposing floodplains, elevating critical infrastructure, and transitioning at-risk communities to safer ground.

With political leadership and coordinated long-term planning, California's coast can evolve into a model of sustainable stewardship.

By reimagining our relationship with the dynamic shore, we can preserve both natural resilience and the coastal lifestyle future generations hope to enjoy.

The window to act decisively is closing. Each day brings the rising tide closer to our doors.

That is true, we are afraid.

What can you do to help?

Get involved in the conversation about California's vanishing coastline. Support policies that prioritize natural buffers and managed retreat.

Together, we can reinvent California's coast for a sustainable future.

The future of California's coastline is in our hands. What will you do to help?