The U.S. Geological Survey, in partnership with the Bureau of Land Management, has completed a climate change/sea-level rise vulnerability assessment in the Trinidad and Point Arena portions of the California Coastal National Monument. Climate change and sea-level rise can pose a significant challenge to resource managers, economies, and other policy makers. This is particularly true in the California coastal landscapes where uncertainty can be great with changing ocean and terrestrial conditions in tandem, usually within human populated area. A framework using the best available science can provide the tools needed to make effective decisions in light of climate change and sea-level rise concerns.

The California Coastal National Monument provides crucial habitat for seabird species, marine mammals, fish, and invertebrates. This region also encompasses important tribal, cultural, and historical sites supporting a robust tourist and fishing economy. Stakeholder workshops were held in 2017 to learn about climate change concerns and what resources were important. Next, using boat surveys, LiDAR, and ArcGIS, spatial modeling and standardized vulnerability assessment approaches, the USGS assessed the sea-level rise vulnerability for 178 offshore rocks (islands, pinnacles, shallow rocks) across both areas.

The goal was to provide scientific information about potential climate change impacts on the rocky shoreline habitats and key species to inform decision making.

The findings have been now been published and can be found online at https://pubs.er.usgs.gov/publication/ofr20211050

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