State grant to assist Santa Cruz coastal erosion planning

By JESSICA A. YORK | | Santa Cruz Sentinel

PUBLISHED: January 11, 2019 at 4:49 pm | UPDATED: January 11, 2019 at 4:50 pm

SANTA CRUZ “” While a jewel of the city, Santa Cruz’s 2.5-mile scenic West Cliff Drive poses significant long-term danger in the form of coastal erosion.

Taking a step toward planning for the impacts of climate change, sea level rise and storm damage on the city’s ocean bluffs and pocket beaches, the city has secured a $353,677 California Department of Transportation grant to fund its West Cliff Drive Adaptation and Management Plan, an effort underway since October but moving into high gear this month. The city will kick in $45,825 of its own funding “” in the form of staff time working on the project “” to pay for the plan’s development.

The plan’s state grant funding comes by way of Senate Bill 1, known as the “gas tax.” The project is expected to conclude in December 2020 and was initiated after years of requests by the California Coastal Commission for the city to become proactive, rather than reactive to coastal issues.

The plan will include an inventory of climate threats and existing protective structures, adaptation strategy recommendations under different climate hazard scenarios, cost-benefit analyses and strategy funding options, a monitoring/triggers and threshold program and concept plans for the appropriate level of short- and long-term vehicular, bicycle, and pedestrian use and infrastructure.

The city will form a technical advisory committee, set up informal public meetings and undergo public review with Coastal Commission meetings, city commissions and the Santa Cruz City Council.

A dedicated city webpage for the planning effort remains under construction.