Regional Sea Level Rise Feasibility Study in Humboldt County, California

For my summer fellowship, I will be implementing an outreach program for stakeholders of sea level rise in the Humboldt Bay region. Humboldt Bay has the highest rate of relative sea level rise on the West Coast of the United States. Humboldt County Planning and Building Department has therefore found itself on the front lines of climate change, with an alarmingly vast array of assets and critical infrastructure at risk to rising sea levels within the next fifty years. In order to properly address sea level rise impacts with the complex mosaic of federal, state, and local jurisdictional boundaries as well as regulatory authority found in the Humboldt Bay region, Humboldt County has undertaken a regional sea level rise feasibility study to develop options for cooperation and a coordinated regional approach to sea level rise policy and adaptation.

Using my Middlebury GIS skills for the general public survey!

My project will be to implement the first phase of this project: coordinating outreach to Local Coastal Program agencies, state and local permitting agencies, asset owners, and the community. In this role I will be compiling a list of stakeholders who will be implicated by sea level rise planning, develop survey mechanisms to gather coastal professional opinion and general public comment, interview key stakeholders, and design a community workshop that will communicate survey results and educate the community on the impending local impacts of sea level rise

I began implementing public outreach via online and mail-in surveys for the Humboldt County Planning and Building Department – Long Range Planning division on May 17. With the help of an Environmental Science & Management Graduate Student at my alma mater Humboldt State University (HSU), we have created a survey for “coastal professionals” and a separate one for the general public. For our definition of coastal professionals, we used a Coastal Needs Assessment by Moser et. al in 2018 as guidance and reached out to:

“planners, resource managers, public works engineers, transportation managers, emergency response managers, public health officials, harbor managers, port commissioners, and elected officials, as well as representatives of environmental organizations working on coastal issues, private-sector consultancies, and officials at farm bureaus”.

Moser et. al 2018

I am already implementing skills I gained at Middlebury to create these surveys and I feel so incredibly thankful to be so prepared for such a large project!

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