What did you accomplish with your host organization? What was the impact of your work?
The outreach program for the Humboldt Bay Sea Level Rise Regional Planning Feasibility Study managed to reach over 1,600 people with our project description and contact information. The public surveys garnered 418 complete online responses and 159 complete mail-in responses. This was the greatest turn out for public engagement with the Planning and Building Department in Humboldt in recent memory, which is especially impressive considering the rural nature of the county. A further 86 professionals completed the Coastal Professionals survey. Information from the surveys and our 17 key stakeholder interviews were recently highlighted in a panel discussion on regional sea level rise collaboration at the 2021 Humboldt Bay Symposium.
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.
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.