Grant to focus on 5 coastal cities threatened by El Niño

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SAN DIEGO – A federal grant to protect coastal areas that could be endangered by El Niño and climate change has been awarded to local organizations, University of San Diego announced Thursday.

The two-year grant worth $689,500 the San Diego Regional Climate Collaborative received from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration will focus on the north-central coast of San Diego County plus Imperial Beach. Both areas have significant private residential, business, and infrastructure investments that could be threatened, according to USD.

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 communications.

“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,” said Laura Engeman, the USD administrator who manages the collaborative.

According to USD, San Diego’s coastal area includes 70 miles of beaches that attract vacationers, along with highways, a busy rail line, power plants, a new water desalination plant and seven military installations.

One of the goals for the grant project will be to coordinate sea-level rise vulnerability assessments for the five contiguous coastal cities of Oceanside, Carlsbad, Encinitas, Del Mar and San Diego, along with legal and cost benefit analyses of coastal protection strategies that could be incorporated into land use, regulatory policies, and capital improvement programs.

“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,” said Don Mosier, a city councilman.

The collaborative includes area cities, the San Diego Association of Governments, San Diego Gas & Electric, the Port of San Diego, The San Diego Foundation and other organizations.

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