Cities receive grant money for coastline protection

Cities receive grant money for coastline protection
The San Diego Regional Climate Collaborative, a partnership between seven San Diego public agencies, the University of San Diego, the San Diego Foundation and San Diego Gas & Electric, receive the $689,500 grant from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. File photo

REGION — A coalition of organizations received nearly $700,000 in federal grant dollars to promote sea-level rise studies and coastline protection strategies along San Diego’s coastline.

The San Diego Regional Climate Collaborative, a partnership between seven San Diego public agencies, the University of San Diego, the San Diego Foundation and San Diego Gas & Electric, received the $689,500 grant from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

The collaborative has said it will use the grant to coordinate sea-level rise vulnerability assessments for Oceanside, Carlsbad, Encinitas, Del Mar and San Diego and for the legal and cost-benefit analysis of potential coastal protection strategies that could be incorporated into policies and capital improvement programs in those cities.

“These funds from NOAA will enable the Climate Collaborative to provide Del Mar with a valuable opportunity to share technical support and partner with our neighboring cities to effectively implement coastal resilience,” Del Mar Councilman Don Mosier said.

Laura Engeman, a USD administrator who manages the Climate Collaborative, echoed Mosier’s sentiments.

“This comprehensive strategy will result in implementable actions to reduce the San Diego region’s risks and vulnerabilities to coastal flooding, beach erosion and extreme weather events,” Engeman said.

The two-year grant will focus on the north-central coast of the county and Imperial Beach, where significant private residential, business, and infrastructure investments are threatened.

Along with 70 miles of beaches that attract millions of visitors each year, San Diego’s coastal region contains key infrastructure such as major transportation arteries including Amtrak rail lines and highways, seven major military installations, and water and energy infrastructure, including power plants and a new desalination plant.

“The challenges confronting our nation’s coastal communities are incredibly complicated — effective solutions are going to require strong science, ingenuity and collaboration if they are going to safeguard and ensure the future vitality of our economy and valuable natural resources,” said Jeffrey Payne, the acting director for the NOAA coastal management office.  “The projects that have been approved for funding represent opportunities to do just that. We are excited about what these partnership projects will accomplish at the local level and the positive impact this program will have on our nation.”

The project will provide new data on flood mapping and shoreline bluff surveys, develop additional legal, economic and scientific expertise, and help cities with outreach and communication, according to a news release.

The Climate Collaborative was the only West Coast recipient and one of only six nationally to receive the $5 million available in 2015 competitive grant awards through NOAA’s Regional Coastal Resilience Grant Program, which was designed to directly support community-based coastal hazard planning.

In addition, the cities of Carlsbad and Del Mar are matching the grant with a combined $328,000 they received from the state to assist them with updating their local coastal plans to account for coastal storm and sea level rise hazards.  The San Diego Foundation is also contributing a match of $80,000 supporting similar assessments in the cities of Encinitas, Oceanside, and San Diego.

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