LAO Report: Preparing for rising seas: How the state can help support local coastal adaptation efforts
From the Legislative Analyst’s Office:
In recent years, California has taken steps to limit the effects of climate change by enacting policies and programs to reduce emissions of greenhouse gases. While these efforts—if combined with similar global initiatives—ultimately may constrain the total amount of warming the planet experiences, scientists are conclusive that some degree of climate change already is inevitable. The changing climate will have several consequential effects on California over the coming decades.
Indeed, such impacts have already begun. In recent years, the state experienced a severe drought, multiple serious wildfires, and periods of record‑breaking heat, all of which scientists suggest likely are harbingers of future conditions. In addition to these more episodic events, science has shown that the changing climate will result in a gradual and permanent rise in global sea levels.
Given the significant natural resources, public infrastructure, housing, and commerce located along California’s 840 miles of coastline, the certainty of rising seas poses a serious and costly threat. As such, in the coming years the state will need to broaden its focus from efforts to mitigate the effects of climate change to also undertake initiatives centered on how communities can adapt to the approaching impacts.
This report responds to increasing legislative interest in determining how the state can best prepare for the impacts of climate change, including sea‑level rise (SLR).
CDFW awards $11.35 million for greenhouse gas reduction grant projects
From the Department of Fish and Wildlife:
The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) today announced the selection of seven projects to restore wetlands that will reduce the emission of greenhouse gases (GHGs) and provide other ecological co-benefits.
The awards, totaling $11.35 million, were made under CDFW’s 2019 Wetlands Restoration for Greenhouse Gas Reduction Program Proposal Solicitation Notice. The seven projects will restore or enhance approximately 1,700 acres of wetlands and mountain meadows and sequester an estimated 67,400 metric tons of carbon dioxide (MTC02e).
The Wetlands Restoration for Greenhouse Gas Reduction Program focuses on projects with measurable objectives that will lead to GHG reductions in wetlands and watersheds while providing co-benefits such as enhancing fish and wildlife habitat, protecting and improving water quality and quantity and helping California adapt to climate change. Wetlands have high carbon sequestration rates that can store carbon for decades.
“These projects will significantly benefit climate science and ecosystems representing the coast, the Central Valley and the Sierra Nevada,” said CDFW Director Charlton H. Bonham. “We are excited to continue the momentum to restore California’s wetlands while making a demonstrable impact to greenhouse gases.”
To improve efficiency and alignment with program priorities, a new two-phase application process involving a pre-application and final application was implemented for 2019 solicitation.
The following projects are approved for funding:
- The Light-handed Meadow Restoration in Faith Valley and Log Meadow ($475,675 to American Rivers) will restore and protect 138 acres of mountain meadow at two high-priority sites, Faith Valley in the Humboldt-Toiyabe National Forest and Log Meadow in Sequoia National Park. The project will have an estimated GHG benefit of 7,644 MTCO2e.
- The Hill Slough Restoration Project ($5,577,413 to Ducks Unlimited, Inc.) will restore 603 acres of managed seasonal wetland to tidal wetland and restore 46 acres of existing upland to tidal wetland in the Suisun Marsh. The project will have an estimated GHG benefit of 25,242 MTCO2e.
- The City of Newman Inland Wetland Restoration Project ($610,000 to the City of Newman) will restore a 10-acre parcel of land owned by the City of Newman, Merced County. The project will provide multiple environmental, economic and public benefits and will have an estimated GHG benefit of 78 MTCO2e.
- The White Slough Tidal Wetlands Restoration Project ($852,113 to the California State Coastal Conservancy) will restore 40 acres of coastal tidal wetlands on diked historic tidelands in the White Slough Unit of Humboldt Bay National Wildlife Refuge in Humboldt County. The project will have an estimated GHG benefit of 17,073 MTCO2e.
- The Upper Truckee River and Marsh Restoration Project ($895,000 to the California Tahoe Conservancy) will restore 13 acres of wetlands in the Upper Truckee River in El Dorado County by grading back to historic topography, removing invasive species and revegetation. The project will have an estimated GHG benefit of 6,545 MTCO2e.
- The Lower Walnut Creek Restoration Project ($950,000 to Contra Costa County Flood Control and Water Conservation District) will restore and enhance approximately 183 acres of tidal wetlands and tidal channel, 17 acres of non-tidal pickleweed marsh and 36 acres of adjacent lowland terrestrial ecotones, and create and enhance approximately 60 acres of uplands. The project will have an estimated GHG benefit of 5,690 MTCO2e.
- The Ocean Ranch Restoration Project ($1,998,282 to the California State Coastal Conservancy) will restore the natural tidal prism and improve connectivity of tidal and freshwater habitats within 571 acres of Ocean Ranch in Humboldt County. The ORRP will have an estimated GHG benefit of 5,223 MTCO2e.
CDFW’s Wetlands Restoration for Greenhouse Gas Reduction Program is part of California Climate Investments (CCI), a statewide program that puts billions of cap-and-trade dollars to work reducing GHG emissions, strengthening the economy, and improving public health and the environment – particularly in disadvantaged communities. The cap-and-trade program also creates a financial incentive for industries to invest in clean technologies and develop innovative ways to reduce pollution. CCI projects include affordable housing, renewable energy, public transportation, zero-emission vehicles, environmental restoration, more sustainable agriculture, recycling, and much more. More information about the CDFW program can be found at www.wildlife.ca.gov/conservation/watersheds/greenhouse-gas-reduction.
For more information about cap-and-trade funding and efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, please visit the CCI website at www.caclimateinvestments.ca.gov.
Metropolitan to help fund San Diego’s Pure Water recycling facility
Project will provide new drinking water supply, produce up to 33,600 acre-feet a year
With the goal of further reducing Southern California’s demand on imported water supplies, Metropolitan Water District’s Board of Directors voted today to provide up to $285.6 million in incentives to San Diego’s Pure Water recycling project over the next 25 years.
The $1.4 billion project, being developed by the city of San Diego, will use advanced treatment processes to purify cleaned wastewater to create a drinking supply for the city’s residents.
The funding will come from Metropolitan’s Local Resources Program, which provides financial incentives for the development of local water supplies, such as water recycling, groundwater recovery and desalination. Since 1982, Metropolitan has invested $665 million in 111 local recycling and groundwater clean-up projects throughout the district’s six-county service area.
“Regardless of the location of each of these projects, they all help ensure Southern California as a region has a reliable water supply,” said Metropolitan General Manager Jeffrey Kightlinger. “Recycling projects like Pure Water San Diego help reduce demand on imported water, decrease the burden on our infrastructure, reduce system costs and free up capacity on Metropolitan’s conveyance system. That is immensely valuable to the entire region.”
Collectively, LRP incentives have helped develop more than 2.9 million acre-feet of recycled water and 991,000 acre-feet of recovered groundwater supplies that are treated to meet drinking water quality standards. An acre-foot of water supplies approximately three Southern California households for a year.
“Each of our member agencies have different opportunities to develop local water supplies. Our Local Resources Program recognizes these unique opportunities, while valuing the role they collectively play for the region,” Metropolitan Chairwoman Gloria Gray said.
The Pure Water project calls for wastewater from San Diego’s North City Water Reclamation Plant to be purified with advanced treatment processes such as ozone, biological activated carbon filters, microfiltration, reverse osmosis, ultraviolet disinfection and advanced oxidation. The purified water would then be used to help fill San Diego’s Miramar Reservoir.
“Increasing water supply and reliability is essential for San Diego’s continued growth, and this significant investment by the Metropolitan Water District into the Pure Water project is going to help San Diego ratepayers for years to come,” said San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer. “Together with MWD staff and Chairwoman Gloria Gray, we are working together as a team to get big water projects done that benefit San Diego and all of Southern California.”
The first phase of the project is expected to produce 33,600 acre-feet of water annually. The LRP incentive will provide up to $340 per acre foot of water produced over the next 25 years, for a total of up to $285.6 million over the project’s lifetime.
The project has an ultimate total capacity of 83,000 acre feet.
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About News Worth Noting: News Worth Noting is a collection of press releases, media statements, and other materials produced by federal, state, and local government agencies, water agencies, and academic institutions, as well as non-profit and advocacy organizations. News Worth Noting also includes relevant legislator statements and environmental policy and legal analyses that are publicly released by law firms. If your agency or organization has an item you would like included here, please email it to Maven.