The state is taking a long look at what the future holds when it comes to sea level rise and how to best prepare for it.
Assemblyman Rich Gordon, D-Menlo Park, is heading a first-of-its-kind effort this year to weigh the impacts of sea level rise on coastal agriculture, fishing, ports, airports and other industries and will convene a select committee on Sea Level Rise and the California Economy next week in Half Moon Bay, the second of four expected hearings on the topic.
“Sea level has been rising over the past decades and we are seeing more coastal erosion such as in Pacifica,” Gordon told the Daily Journal.
The select committee will prepare a report after the four public hearings that the state Legislature can then use to craft future legislation or policies on the best way to prepare for sea level rise.
Three California airports — in San Francisco, Oakland and San Diego — sit at sea level as do the ports in Oakland and Long Beach, Gordon said.
“We will have decisions to make as to what to armor, where do we retreat and where not to build in certain areas,” he said.
Next week’s hearing will focus on coastal agriculture, fishing and aquaculture industry and tourism. The select committee will hear testimony from state agencies, academic experts and locals such as commercial fishermen.
“The reality is we are a coastal state and sea level rise will have impacts across the entire state,” Gordon said.
Farmers on the coast often rely on well water for their crops and there is the potential for salt water intrusion into coastal acquifers, he said.
The select committee is comprised of Assemblymembers Steven Bradford, D-Inglewood, Bonnie Lowenthal, D-Long Beach, and Phil Ting, D-San Francisco.
Speakers at next week’s committee meeting include:
• Geologist Mary Scruggs with the state Department of Water Resources;
• Geophysics professor Dr. Rosemary Knight with Stanford University;
• Norm Groot, Monterey County Farm Bureau executive director;
• Marine biology professor Dr. Gretchen Hofmann with the University of California Santa Barbara; and
• Associate scientist Aaron McGregor with the California Ocean Science Trust.
The panel will also features a commercial fisherman and an official with the state parks.
The Select Committee on Sea Level Rise and the California Economy Hearing — Impact of Sea Level Rise on California’s Costal Agriculture, Fishing and Aquaculture Industry and Tourism is 2 p.m. to 5 p.m., Wednesday, July 24, Half Moon Bay Department Operations, 537 Kelly Ave., Half Moon Bay.
(650) 344-5200 ext. 106