Interviewing the Stakeholders for Sea Level Rise Planning

After many hours of planning, writing, editing, scheduling, and emailing (not to mention an endless amount of Zoom calls), I have finally wrapped up interviewing key stakeholder groups involved in sea level rise planning and mitigation within the Humboldt Bay region. Our final interview was a conversation with representatives of the grant funder for our study, the California Coastal Commission (pictured above). July and the first week of August were busy as we tried to schedule a one hour virtual sit down with representatives from 19 separate stakeholder groups including the Wiyot Tribe, PG&E, U.S. Army Corps, and local coastal cities to name a few. Eventually 17 groups were able to commit to a meeting with myself and the project team.

Interviewing these stakeholders is a key step to starting the ball rolling on a regional sea level rise approach as opposed to the responsive piece meal approach we see in Humboldt County and so many other coastal regions at present. The interviews were also multipurposed. We used them to confirm the descriptions of roles, assets, and concerns we had compiled in a Stakeholder Inventory and to open the line of communication between stakeholders and the County. The questions themselves were designed to help identify feasible regulatory frameworks and further inform our research into possible options moving forward.

Although I am still knee deep in processing the survey data and interview data, we have already learned so much about how best to move forward with our study. We have identified possible miscommunications between stakeholders and even amongst individuals within an organization. Most importantly, we have recognized a need to communicate and educate the public more on local sea level rise issues.

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