Regional AdaptLA Vulnerability Assessment Training Workshop

Focus Areas > Climate Change > AdaptLA > AdaptLA Vulnerability Assessment Training


November 13, 2014 | South Bay Cities Council of Government Environmental Services Center, Torrance, CA

‘Today’s storm is tomorrow’s high tide.’ This statement resonated with the more than 25 community leaders at the Regional AdaptLA Sea Level Rise & Coastal Impacts Workshop led by USC Sea Grant on November 13, 2014.  The workshop is part of a multi-year project to provide planning guidance, build regional capacity, and link the best available scientific tools with local governments as they plan for the impacts of sea level rise.   

Attendees from the workshop discuss current known vulnerabilities across the L.A. region. (Photo credit: Holly Rindge)

“We need to create a community of practice,” said Moira McEnespy, Deputy Program Manager, South Coast, California State Coastal Conservancy, in opening remarks. The ability to build and maintain partnerships was a main goal of the workshop, which drew attendees from city governments across the region, including Santa Monica, Redondo Beach, Malibu, Los Angeles city and county, Long Beach, Hermosa Beach, El Segundo, and Torrance.

Planning for the impacts of climate change has become a priority, as sea level rise in the Los Angeles region is expected to match global projections with an increase of 5-24 inches by 2050. This workshop included an introduction to sophisticated scientific tools that are currently under development to inform planning efforts. This includes the newest version of the Coastal Storms Modeling System, or CoSMoS, developed by the US Geological Survey.  This is a Southern California region-specific modeling system that will project hazards such as coastal flooding and erosion driven by climate change.  It takes into account projected sea level rise levels, shoreline changes, river inputs, and future storm factors such as tides, storm surge, and winds. Scientific information from CoSMoS will be supplemented by studies conducted by TerraCosta Consulting Group, who will model historic, short-term and long-term wave-driven coastal change along the beaches, and characterization of the backshore by consultants from Environmental Science Associates and Revell Coastal.

Attendees examined regional projections of sea level rise and coastal storms in sub-regional facilicated discussions. (Photo credit: Holly Rindge)

‘What kind of future do you envision for your community?’

Developing an iterative planning process that incorporates the best available science is essential in addressing climate change impacts. Workshop training exercises focused on the need to identify not only physical structures (e.g. roads, power plants, museums) that are at risk due to sea level rise, but also social, economic, and ecological vulnerabilities.  The recent Sea Level Rise Vulnerability Study for the City of Los Angeles found that some coastal communities in Venice, Wilmington, and San Pedro are highly vulnerable to the impacts of sea level rise because of social or economic challenges.

USC Sea Grant provided training on conducting vulnerability assessments and adaptive management. (Photo credit: Holly Rindge)

“Planning adaptation measures will come down to the values of each community,” said Juliette Finzi Hart, Marine and Climate Science Specialist at USC Sea Grant. “Engaging a broad array of stakeholders early and often is critical to success.”  The Regional AdaptLA project is a continual process for community leaders to be involved in and will culminate with the results from CoSMoS in June 2016.  Future workshops are being planned and a monthly webinar series will begin in early 2015.  For more information please contact Nick Sadrpour | 213.740.1937.

  • USC Sea Grant
  • 3454 Trousdale Pkwy, CAS 200
  • Los Angeles, CA 90089-0373
  • (213) 740 - 1961