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Santa Monica at Risk from Rising Sea Level, Climate Change

A report from USC predicts a sea level rise due to climate change that will impact coastal areas.

Santa Monica at Risk from Rising Sea Level, Climate Change

By City News Service

Residents of Los Angeles County's low-lying communities, such as San Pedro and Wilmington, as well as those with older buildings and high numbers of renters, such as Venice and Santa Monica, would be most affected by flooding stemming from a rising sea level, according to a report released Tuesday by USC.

The Abbot Kinney corridor and Ballona wetlands would be particularly at risk. However, the region’s wide sandy beaches, if maintained, can provide a valuable bulwark against higher waters.

Current projections say a sea level rise of as much as two feet will occur in Los Angeles by 2050 due to climate change.

The report does not specifically mention Santa Monica as the study looks specifically at Los Angeles neighborhoods, but a similar study that looks at all of Los Angeles County coastline has been commissioned for later on this year.

Santa Monica beaches generate more than $1.5 billion in tourism, according to the Convention & Visitors Bureau.

Other key findings from the report include:

  • The city’s wastewater management, storm water management and potable water systems are highly vulnerable to sea level rise;
  • The Port of Los Angeles and the city's energy infrastructure would be mostly unaffected by the rise in sea level due to a replacement schedule that will allow the city to prepare for future needs to change infrastructure;
  • Projected flooding and erosion damage to roads along the coast could impede emergency services;
  • Many cultural assets located along the coast, including museums, historic buildings and the Cabrillo Marine Aquarium, could face damage.
Alexander Nguyen contributed to this report.

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