West Coast
The San Clemente shoreline. Courtesy Can Stock Photo

CA - San Clemente Finalizes Sea Level Rise Report in hopes of establishing a Coastal Program

San Clemente has sent a report of its areas most vulnerable to beach erosion to the California Coastal Commission in hopes of establishing a Local Coastal Program, which would allow the city to begin taking measures such as beach nourishment to combat the rising sea levels affecting its beaches.

The City Council unanimously approved the city’s Sea Level Rise report in November, which aims to show the Coastal Commission that San Clemente needs funding and approval to develop its program.

The report, which was funded in 2018 by the Coastal Commission for $75,000, stated that shoreline erosion is expected to accelerate by 2050. The city discovered that if the trend continues, smaller beaches could become strictly seasonal with low tide, with larger beaches losing almost half their size in width.

A Local Coastal Program is a planning tool used by local governments to guide development in the coastal zone, in partnership with the Coastal Commission. The program contains the ground rules for future development and protection of coastal resources. After the document has been finally approved, the commission’s coastal permitting authority over most new development is transferred to the local government.

San Clemente, like many beach towns up and down California’s coast, has seen issues with sea rise and erosion of beaches for several years now, and is planning to find solutions to counter their impact. If the trends continue, San Clemente could see 1.6-3.8 feet of erosion by as early as 2070, according to the Sea Level Rise report. Other seaside towns in Orange County like Newport Beach and Dana Point have been facing similar erosion issues.

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