Climate change roadmap created for coastal areas

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SAN DIEGO — The California Coastkeeper Alliance released its Ocean Climate Resiliency Action Plan Wednesday, a roadmap to mitigate the effects of climate change and sea level rise on coastal areas like northern San Diego County.

The plan includes objectives such as recycling 100% of wastewater along the coast by 2040, requiring the use of nitrate removal technology at wastewater treatment plants, establishing a state program for wetlands restoration and creating a state fund to help coastal communities respond to sea level rise without using harmful tactics like sea walls.

“The sea level on California’s coast is projected to rise by more than a foot over the next 40 years, while ocean acidification and hypoxia have enormous impacts on the health and productivity of our marine ecosystems,” CCA Executive Director Sean Bothwell said.

If enacted, the plan’s objectives would affect coastal cities like Del Mar, which has been working with the California Coastal Commission to determine a plan to combat sea level rise.

The city of Del Mar clashed with the commission earlier this year over its resistance to “managed retreat” to deal with sea level rise, which would allow the shoreline to move further inland in addition to making structural improvements like adding sea walls and levees.

Del Mar’s proposed Local Coastal Plan includes objectives like reinforcing existing beach heads and making coastal homes more flood-resistant, but state commissioners said it didn’t go far enough. Environmental groups, including the San Diego chapter of the Surfrider Foundation, have also pushed the city to be more amenable to the strategy.

While the Ocean Climate Resiliency Action Plan is non-binding, the organization said it plans to work with the governor’s office, legislative and state agencies such as the California Coastal Conservancy to take preventative action against the effects of climate change before its too late.

“We must act now to ensure the future of the 85% of Californians who live or work on or near the coast, as well as our $45 billion ocean-based economy,” Bothwell said.

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