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|California's coastal hazards|
Griggs, G.B. (1994). California's coastal hazards. J. Coast. Res. Spec. Issue 12: 1-15
In: Journal of Coastal Research. Coastal Education and Research Foundation: Fort Lauderdale, Fla., USA. ISSN 0749-0208, more
The coast of California is experiencing a conflict of increasing magnitude between the natural hazards which affect the coastline and the increased desire of the 31.5 million residents, 80% of which live within 50 km of the coast, to live virtually at the water's edge. California's high population growth exacerbates the coastal hazard issue through unrelenting pressure for shoreline development and recreation. Over 1,500 km of the state's 1,760 km shoreline is actively eroding, yet development continues in areas subject to coastal hazards such as shoreline erosion and coastal flooding. Development of three different coastal geomorphic environments, coastal cliffs or bluffs, the beach itself, and coastal dunes has led to coastal storm damage over the past 15 years in excess of $150 million. Careful investigation of the recent geologic history of oceanfront areas prior to development is relatively straightforward and is necessary to evaluate the hazards and risks present in any specific location. Seacliff stability and long term cliff erosion rates can be quantified and wave runup and inundation hazards can be evaluated. Significant changes are needed in how to approach and deal with coastal hazards and the continuing pressure to develop in coastal areas. The marked inconsistencies among local governments and those state agencies who have responsibilities to regulate development indicate the lack of a guiding direction and the heavy influence of local economics and politics. Through a process of hazard recognition and evaluation, and then a standardized set of avoidance, mitigation, or hazard reduction policies, the private and public losses from future shoreline erosion, storm impact, and sea level rise can be significantly reduced. The objective is to reduce the number of people, as well as dwellings, structures, and utilities, both public and private, directly exposed to the hazards of both shoreline erosion and wave impact and inundation.