Our climate is changing, causing warming oceans and melting ice sheets leading to global sea level rise of 3.4mm per year. By the year 2100, California is projected to experience 1 to 7 feet of sea level rise, depending on future rates of global carbon emissions.
California Department of Parks and Recreation manages nearly 1/4 of the California coastline with 128 coastal park units, providing coastal access and recreational opportunities to over 50 million visitors each year from all over the world. Many of these state parks are already experiencing impacts to resources and facilities due to coastal flooding and erosion.
For our cherished state parks, modeling indicates that 5 feet of sea level rise and a 100-year storm would result in the inundation of 593 structures, 150-acres of parking lots, 93 campgrounds and day-use areas, and 65 miles of access roads. This is in addition to potential immense damage to underground infrastructure, bluff erosion, and archaeological losses.
It is clear, sea level rise may be disastrous to California coastal parks if no further action is taken to plan, prepare, and respond to this emerging threat.