Rising sea levels caused by climate change can take a bad toll on California beaches and economy over the next century, a new study predicts.
The California Department of Boating and Waterways commissioned the study, which was conducted by San Francisco State University (SFSU).
In California, our coastline is one of our most valuable natural resources, SFSU associate professor economics and study author Philip King said in a university statement. More than 80 percent of Californians live in coastal communities, and California's beaches support local economies and critical natural species.
The economic impact can be devastating, researchers said.
Sea level rise will send reverberations throughout local and state economies, Kind said. We also found that the economic risks and responses to a changing coastline will vary greatly over time and from beach to beach.
Beaches in San Francisco, Los Angeles, San Diego and Santa Barbara counties could have millions of dollars in damages, according to report findings.
For example, Venice Beach in Los Angeles County could have $51.6 million in damages over the course of a 100-year coastal flood. There could also be a $439.6 million loss in terms of tourism spending and local and state tax revenue.
Ocean Beach in San Francisco County could have $16.5 million in habitat and recreation losses due to erosion reducing beach area by almost 100 percent.
These numbers were based off of a potential rising in sea levels by an estimated 4.6 feet by the year 2100.
Researchers suggested potentially cost-effective methods that might help prevent erosion.
Seawalls have become the de facto policy for dealing with erosion and sea level rise but our findings suggest that other policies such as beach nourishment or where possible, allowing the coastline to retreat, could be more cost effective, Kind said.