Practitioners in California’s (CA) coastal counties generally recognize that climate change will impact their communities and coastline. Yet, coastal CA communities are at different stages in developing and/or implementing climate change adaptation plans. In order to more precisely identify community needs, USC Sea Grant and partners have conducted longitudinal coastal practitioner surveys in 2007, 2011, 2016, and 2023. The overarching goal of these surveys is to understand the needs and challenges of people working to prepare for the effects of climate change along California’s open ocean, bay, delta, and estuarine coastlines. These surveys are distributed to a broad range of people, including governmental and non-governmental resource managers, property interests, land stewards, and other persons who are involved or interested in California coastal resource management, conservation, stewardship, and adaptation to sea level rise and associated coastal hazards. Results will help the state determine where more guidance, financial resources, and science resources are needed. Results will also help USC Sea Grant, and partner organizations, fine-tune how to best work with communities to advance adaptation planning.

  • USC Sea Grant, in partnership with the Ocean and Coastal Policy Center at the University of California Santa Barbara, administered the newest iteration of this survey in the winter of 2023. Results are forthcoming.

    Partners: University of California, Santa Barbara (Ocean and Coastal Policy Center); California Ocean Protection Council (OPC); National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Office for Coastal Management; Juliette Hart, Pathways Climate Institute; Kristen Goodrich, Tijuana River National Estuarine Research Reserve

    Collaborators: Alliance of Regional Collaboratives for Climate Adaptation (ARCCA); California; Coastal Commission; California Coastal Resilience Network; California Sea Grant; California State Parks; Cal Poly Humboldt; CivicWell; Elkhorn Slough National Estuarine Research Reserve; Governor’s Office of Planning and Research (OPR); Morro Bay National Estuary Program; San Francisco Bay Conservation and Development Commission (BCDC); San Francisco Estuary Institute; San Francisco Estuary Partnership; San Diego Regional Climate Collaborative; San Mateo County, Office of Sustainability; Santa Monica Bay National Estuary Program; Surfrider Foundation; Susanne Moser, Susanne Moser Research & Consulting

  • The 2016 study surveyed nearly 700 coastal professionals to assess how coastal communities are preparing for the impacts of climate change. Conducted by USC Sea Grant, U.S. Geological Survey, and Susanne Moser Consulting, this survey’s results provide insight across 10 years of shifting climate change and adaptation challenges, attitudes, barriers, actions, and training and funding needs in coastal California.

    This study was released as part of the State of California Fourth Climate Change Assessment, which is led by the California Natural Resources Agency and provides a statewide update to climate change science. The report was released on August 27, 2018. Additionally, project partners presented 2016 survey findings at the California Adaptation Forum and reported results to the California Ocean Protection Council and other state agencies.

    Download the Study: 

    • Growing Effort, Growing Challenge: Findings from the 2016 California Coastal Adaptation Needs Assessment (PDF)
    • Highlights from the 2016 California Coastal Adaptation Needs Assessment (PDF)

     Susanne Moser Research & Consulting; Bay Area Regional Collaborative; California Coastal Commission; California State Coastal Conservancy; California Ocean Protection Council; California Sea Grant; Coravai; National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Office for Coastal Management; San Francisco Estuary Partnership; San Mateo County, Office of Sustainability; San Diego Regional Climate Collaborative; The Nature Conservancy; Tijuana River National Estuarine Research Reserve; University of California, Davis, Policy Institute for Energy, Environment and the Economy

  • This survey, led by Dr. Susanne C. Moser, USC Sea Grant, and a suite of 15 coastal CA partners, assessed the needs and barriers coastal communities have in planning for climate change, including appropriate trainings and technical assistance needed, and the best way to link communities to resources and tools already available. Key findings from the 2011 survey revealed levels of knowledge and concern about climate change impacts, challenges faced in adaptation planning, and information and training needed to support adaptation planning and implementation. The results spurred an infusion of state funding (grants from OPC, Coastal Conservancy, and Coastal Commission) in adaptation planning at municipal levels. In response, USC Sea Grant now leads several efforts to advance adaptation planning in Southern California, including AdaptLA and the Southern California Coastal Impacts Project.

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  • This survey was conducted by Dr. Susanne C. Moser and John Tribbia at the National Center for Atmospheric Research for the California Energy Commission Public Interest Energy Research Program.

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