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California could lose up to 70% of its beaches by 2100, according to USGS study

(KTLA) — California’s famous coastline could be a thing of the past, one report says new research It predicts that up to 70% of the state’s beaches could disappear by the end of the century if no action is taken to combat rising sea levels and greenhouse gas emissions.

Based on satellite imagery and an analysis of sea level rise due to climate change, the study, conducted by researchers at the U.S. Geological Survey, found that between 25% and 70% of the state’s coast could be completely eroded in a worst-case scenario. says it has the potential. model.

The impact will be different for each coastal region, but the overall impact will be “severe,” the report said. report.

For example, Half Moon Bay in Northern California could lose all of its sand.

A 1-meter rise in sea levels in San Diego County could lead to the loss of more than a quarter of its coastal picnic areas, about half of its lifeguard towers and about 15% of its restrooms, according to a study.

Lead author of the study, U.S. Geological Survey researcher Sean Bitousek, has already observed changes at his local beach in Santa Cruz, largely due to California’s recent rainy season.

“Many beaches in the area were completely eroded during the storms, but some are starting to recover a bit as the waves get smaller and conditions look more summery,” Witshek said. I was. “Nevertheless, we have seen significant effects from the storm, including the Capitola Pier splitting in two during the storm.”

Witshek, a frequent beach visitor with her children, also noted that parts of West Cliff Drive in Santa Cruz are still closed due to heavy storms.

The report, which is under peer review for publication, follows a 2017 report that focused on coastal erosion in Southern California. A 2017 study reached a similar conclusion, researchers found that between 31% and 67% of Southern California’s coast could be completely eroded.

“I myself spend a lot of time at the beach with my kids, and I really want to keep these resources available for everyone,” said Vitsek.

In 2017, Vitsek also said that if California lost too many beaches, it would affect the tourism economy, local infrastructure and damage homes.

Some cities are encouraging coastal areas to be protected by building breakwaters or depositing large rocks that can withstand violent waves.

However, other experts advise communities against building seawalls because they can harm wildlife and are expensive to build. The Verge.

Seawalls can be used “when appropriate” and “in limited circumstances”. The California Coastal Commission said:But officials said they were only temporary solutions, saying that “any seawall could cause the public to lose public beaches, dunes, wetlands and other coastal resources.”

The CCC has proposed several seawall alternatives that can be used in a variety of situations.

In some cases, the best long-term option may be a so-called ‘controlled retreat’, moving the structure away from the coast as the natural course of events takes place.

In other cases, “nourishing the beach” (adding sand) and “living coastline” (Create a coast that grows over time using rocks, plants and sand) will be the most successful, CCC said.

In any event, Vitcek said authorities should continue to monitor the California coast to determine how it can be preserved and maintained.

“I think it’s very important to plan what solutions we can come up with to maintain the beaches and coastal infrastructure in the best possible way,” said Vitcek. “And this is a very difficult decision to make, and I don’t think there is a one-size-fits-all solution. But it is very important to monitor and consider adaptation pathways and different options.”

Editor’s Note: This article has been updated to revise the California Coastal Commission’s position on adaptation to sea level rise.

https://www.kron4.com/news/california/california-could-lose-up-to-70-of-its-beaches-by-2100-study-finds/ California could lose up to 70% of its beaches by 2100, according to USGS study

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