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Regional Experts Gather for Living Shorelines and Resilience Workshop in Southern California

The San Diego Regional Climate Collaborative, Tijuana River National Estuarine Research Reserve, and Climate Science Alliance- South Coast partnered together to host the Living Shorelines and Resilience in Southern California Workshop on June 20th, at the Regional Water Quality Control Board in San Diego.

A "living shoreline" can be defined as any shoreline management system designed to protect or restore natural shoreline ecosystems with the use of natural elements, and sometimes man-made elements. Living shorelines are becoming a hot topic as California attempts to protect our coastal communities as they face higher sea levels and more extreme storms.

Southern California is unique in that the majority of its coastline is developed and in many cases, armored with hard structures to protect property. While concrete, man-made barriers do in fact protect property along the coasts, they can severely impact the natural processes of our shorelines, which leads to high levels of beach loss and habitat degradation. To better protect our shorelines from erosion and flooding, coastal communities are looking to nature for more creative solutions. Living Shorelines offer opportunities to protect our coasts with natural ecosystems that are resilient and adaptive.

With 60 Southern California professionals in attendance, the workshop aimed to advance the local dialogue around using living shorelines to increase community resilience to coastal hazards. Workshop attendees brought a variety of experience into the room, with backgrounds in natural resource management, engineering, land use planning, biology, and climate and ocean science.

The workshop featured presentations by four professionals with experience with living shoreline projects in California:

  • Kate Barba, Scripps Institution of Oceanography

  • Brian Leslie, Moffatt & Nichol

  • Rebecca Schwartz, San Diego Audubon Society

  • Evyan Sloane, State Coastal Conservancy

The presentations offered helpful perspectives on implementing living shorelines along southern California's heavily urbanized coast. In addition to the presentations, the workshop also encouraged thoughtful discussion and brainstorming between the region's key players in coastal resilience that will be used to inform state and national leaders about specific challenges and opportunities for living shorelines in Southern California.

This workshop was organized as part of the Resilient Coastlines Project of Greater San Diego and funded by grants from NOAA's Regional Coastal Resilience Program and the State Coastal Conservancy Prop 1 funds.

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