The small seaside community of Hermosa Beach is making big waves when it comes to analyzing the coastline to better plan for the future.
The city was recently awarded two grants – Coastal Conservancy Climate Ready worth $100,000 and Local Coastal Program for $112,750 – and will also join other cities along the Santa Monica Bay to study ocean-level rise and coastal erosion.
The LCP grant supports “local governments responsible for planning under the Coastal Act to develop and update Local Coastal Programs (LCP), with special emphasis on addressing impacts from climate change and sea-level rise,” according to the California Coastal Commission. Hermosa Beach Community Development Director Ken Robertson said the LCP will help the city develop a land use plan and allow it to implement ordinances relating to the acquired information.
“When certified by the Coastal Commission, the city will have permitting authority for Coastal Development Permits in the coastal zone,” Robertson said. “We are already in the process of updating our General Plan, ‘a blue print for a low carbon future’ and integrating with our Coastal Land Use Plan, which includes planning (and) adaptation relating to sea level. And this grant will allow us to expand the scope of that work to include the implementing ordinances and other necessary research to achieve certification of a complete LCP.”
For the CCCR grant, “Hermosa Beach will assess the vulnerability of the city’s infrastructure to sea-level rise and identify adaptation strategies. The assessment will include monitoring of shallow groundwater levels and salinity to determine how future SLR (Sea Level Rise) is likely to affect sewage systems and storm-water management, water lines, utilities, and below-grade structures. Results of the assessment will be used to develop plans to prevent and manage floodwaters, protect against rising groundwater levels, and protect ocean water quality,” according to the California State Coastal Conservancy.
“Climate Ready grants are intended to encourage local governments and non-governmental organizations to act now to prepare for a changing climate by advancing planning and implementation of on-the-ground actions that reduce greenhouse gas emissions and lessen the impacts of climate change on California’s coastal communities and natural resources,” Robertson said. He also said the knowledge they’ll obtain with the help of these grants is vital in order to stay ahead of any changes along the coastline.
“We’ll prepare ourselves for the future,” Robertson said.
The collaborative grant that will study coastal erosion and shoreline change, approved by the Ocean Protection Council, for Los Angeles County coastal communities that Hermosa Beach is a part of, is from a $235,000 grant to study “the potential impacts of rising sea levels, extreme high tides, storms and coastal erosion caused by changing climatic conditions.
“We are very pleased to be among the beneficiaries of this grant because the funding can be used to provide our city staff with vital information and education to plan for and reduce the potential impacts of changing climatic conditions,” said Hermosa Beach Mayor Michael DiVirgilio. “This grant will help us fulfill our commitment to a planning process that protects the coastline while ensuring the economic vitality of Hermosa Beach.”
Krista Kline, Managing Director for the Los Angeles Regional Collaborative for Climate Action at the University of California Los Angeles, said “everybody has a role to play” as Hermosa Beach, along with other bay cities, will be key in communicating with scientists and informing experts what the city’s priorities are. Cities will also be informed of what adaptations will be necessary in the future depending on the results of the study. She said they want to make sure the city’s needs are being met too.
Alyssa Mann, the Regional Research and Planning Specialist with the University of Southern California and the Sea Grant Program, said with this particular study they will, for example, get to see how much a 1-meter rise in sea level will impact Hermosa Beach.
“We’ll look at how our beaches will be impacted,” Mann said, adding that erosion rates will be assessed too.
Mann said with Hermosa Beach securing two grants and being a part of the collaborative study, the city is taking a lead role in making sure it adapts to any future changes along the coast.
“They’re taking a real proactive approach,” Mann said. “(They’re) doing a great job going after (and) articulating what they want to do with their city … they’ll get the best available science.”
Kline said preliminary results will be unveiled in a year and developed into a useful format in two years.