CSAC Bulletin Article

Public Comment Period Open for Sea Level Rise Guidance

January 25, 2024

Coastal counties will want to take note and review the recently released draft  State of California Sea Level Rise Guidance: 2024 Science and Policy Update. This new guidance will be used in development of Local Coastal Plans and updates, general planning, and bay planning. The new report replaces the previous 2018 guidance document that caused considerable challenges to coastal county planning with an extreme sea level rise scenario and has been significantly revised based on improved science. Current laws require the use of “best available science” on sea level rise and coastal impacts which can be obtained from many sources, but often will default to the current California Sea Level Rise guidance document. The guidance is updated every five years and is based on both local and global estimates for sea level rise.

As counties have seen, increasingly strong storm conditions paired with modest sea level rise and king tides have caused serious damage to coastal zones with accelerated cliff and bluff erosion, coastal flooding, beach loss, and community damage. Critical local infrastructure – from storm and sewer systems to roads and rail – have suffered with changing climate and extreme weather systems. These combined with sea level rise are challenging to local planning efforts, regional housing starts, and coastal access for all Californians.

Comments to the draft report are due March 4, 2024 with an anticipated final adoption at the June 4, 2024 Ocean Protection Council (OPC) meeting.

The OPC will hold a public webinar and three virtual regional workshops (registration links below) on the 2024 guidance document.

Public Webinar:

Virtual regional workshops

CSAC encourages coastal counties to review the guidance and submit public comments to the Ocean Protection Council directly to OPC Sea Grant Fellow, Ben Dorfman (Ben.Dorfman@resources.ca.gov) with the subject line “Sea Level Rise Guidance – Public Comment”.  CSAC would appreciate a copy of these public comments for our continued advocacy efforts.

Please contact Catherine Freeman, CSAC Senior Legislative Advocate at cfreeman@counties.org with questions and to copy any public comments submitted to the OPC.

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