By Cari Hachmann

A draft of the city’s Sea Level Rise Vulnerability Assessment (SLRVA) will be available for public review through Sept. 23 and can be viewed online from the city’s homepage.

Staff members gave a presentation on the draft at the Aug. 7 Planning Commission meeting and are expected to present the SLVRA draft to the Coastal Advisory Commission on Aug. 8.

“The draft Sea Level Rise Vulnerability Assessment is a useful tool in first identifying sea level rise projections and analyzing any potential physical effects on San Clemente’s beaches, bluffs and community assets, such as coastal access points and public infrastructure,” said Cecilia Gallardo-Daly, the city’s Community Development Director. “Through this study, the city can identify areas that may be vulnerable to rising seas in the future, so the city can begin considering ways to improve and enhance coastal resiliency.”

The study describes how existing hazards may evolve with climate change related to sea level rise (SLR) scenarios higher than 0.8 feet and what that means for the community, infrastructure, facilities, the beach, public access ways and other important resources along the city’s coastline.

Remember the cobblestoned beaches of summer? They are long-gone this fall season, replaced by a cushy carpet of sand. Sunday, Oct. 7, the air was warm, the water an inviting 70 degrees and few tourists, except at the Pier for the clam chowder cook-off. Photo: Fred Swegles
Remember the cobblestoned beaches of summer? They are long-gone this fall season, replaced by a cushy carpet of sand. Sunday, Oct. 7, the air was warm, the water an inviting 70 degrees and few tourists, except at the Pier for the clam chowder cook-off. Photo: Fred Swegles

A city’s vulnerability includes exposure to coastal hazards such as shoreline erosion, flooding and inundation, as well as potential damage or loss to the shoreline and ability to restore or avoid it.

The primary vulnerabilities in San Clemente include increased shoreline and beach erosion, wave flooding and tidal inundation. Unlike in other low-lying cities, where sea level rise can threaten private developments due to flooding or erosion, sea level rises in San Clemente first threatens the public resources of the public beach, according to the report.

After the SLRVA draft has been reviewed, there will be a public hearing before the city council, tentatively scheduled for fall this year, before the SLRVA will be submitted to the California Coastal Commission.

The SLRVA is a product of a Local Coastal Program Planning Grant awarded to the city in 2016 by the California Coastal Commission.

The city is also preparing a companion Coastal Resiliency Plan that will build upon the findings and recommendations contained in the SLRVA.

The public can submit comments to the San Clemente Community Development Department at 910 Calle Negocio or send via email to slrva@san-clemente.org. All comments must be submitted by 4 p.m. on Monday, September 23. 

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