Case Studies

The following case studies are on-the-ground climate change adaptation planning projects that use geospatial information and tools to evaluate the vulnerability of their communities to sea level rise. Follow the links in the project descriptions to learn more about these projects.

Project Name Description Lead Organization CoSMoS NOAA SLR Viewer Our Coast Our Future Other
AdaptLA – Sea Level Rise Vulnerability Study for the City of Los Angeles Science-based and stakeholder-supported adaptation planning process and vulnerability assessment, undertaken in 2011 by the University of Southern California (USC) Sea Grant Program in partnership with the City of Los Angeles and additional partners. The project 1) provides an assessment of the potential physical, social, economic and ecological impacts of sea level rise on the City’s resources, population, and shoreline assets. 2) provides recommendations for moving forward in adaptation planning and identifies a suite of adaptation measures the City can consider in planning for sea level rise. For this project, a pilot version of the CoSMoS model was used. University of Southern California Sea Grant Program, City of Los Angeles,  Los Angeles Regional Collaborative for Climate Action and Sustainability, ICLEI – Local Governments for Sustainability X
 Impacts of Sea- Level Rise on the California Coast A multi-agency analysis of sea-level rise, flood, and coastal erosion impacts and recommendations and strategies for adaptation. Current population, infrastructure, wetland and natural ecosystems along the California coast were examined using sea-level rise scenarios from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). The final report evaluates the cost of structural and non-structural policies and programs to reduce the risk of coastal flooding.
The Pacific Institute, Phillip Williams and Associates, Ltd., California Energy Commission, California Department of Transportation, Ocean Protection Council
 X
 Corte Madera Baylands Conceptual Sea-Level Rise Adaptation Strategy Accelerated sea-level rise threatens to drown Baylands while their migration and accretion capabilities are limited by coastal development. This science-based study on the benefit of Baylands in the occurrence of sea-level rise used models to illustrate how preserving, enhancing, and restoring Baylands provides great flood risk reduction benefits and can reduce the costs of building structural shorelines as a result of sea-level rise. In addition the report suggests management measures to improve Bayland resilience and maintain key ecosystems. The study included site-specifc 1D and 3D wave and flood modeling that was built on the LIDAR/DEM San Francisco Bay Conservation and Development Commision (BCDC), U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, San Francisco Estuary Partnership, U.S Geological Survey, UNESCO-IHE and Marin County X
 Sea-Level Rise Adaptation Strategy for San Diego Bay This vulnerability assessment and adaptation strategy is the result of  a collaborative, regional stakeholder process which engaged public agencies from around San Diego Bay. . Through a combination of modeling*, mapping, and consultation with technical advisors, this vulnerability assessment evaluates where and when  sea-level rise impacts may occur, and the extent to which community assets may be impaired by projected impacts. .Second, the report includes recommendations for building resilience, including ten comprehensive adaptation strategies that address multiple impacts, sectors, assets, and time frames. Additionally, targeted strategies were identified, which address sector-specific vulnerabilities.
The Sea-Level Affecting Marshes Model (SLAMM) was used to inform the vulnerability assessment (performed by Dr. Rick Gersberg at San Diego State University).
ICLEI-Local Governments for Sustainability, The San Diego Foundation, Tijuana River National Estuarine Research Reserve Coastal Training ProgramMultiple partners are working to increase the preparedness and resilience of Bay Area Communities to sea-level rise and storm events while protecting critical ecosystem and community services. The objectives of Adapting to Rising Tides (ART) are threefold: (1) Create “road tested” adaptation tools, processes and resources that benefits others in the region and beyond; (2) Identify how adaptation planning can be scaled up and down across different geographies, sectors, services and asset categories; and (3) Integrate society and equity, economy, environment, and governance into all steps of the adaptation planning process. In close collaboration with a working group comprised of local, county, regional, state, and federal partners, ART identified and characterized assets in twelve categories, conducted a vulnerability and risk assessment, and developed adaptation responses to address key planning issues. Sea level rise inundation maps were developed for the project using the LIDAR/DEM and the methodology developed by NOAA for the SLR Viewer. X
 Adapting to Rising Tides  Multiple partners are working to increase the preparedness and resilience of Bay Area Communities to sea-level rise and storm events while protecting critical ecosystem and community services. The objectives of Adapting to Rising Tides (ART) are threefold: (1) Create “road tested” adaptation tools, processes and resources that benefits others in the region and beyond; (2) Identify how adaptation planning can be scaled up and down across different geographies, sectors, services and asset categories; and (3) Integrate society and equity, economy, environment, and governance into all steps of the adaptation planning process. In close collaboration with a working group comprised of local, county, regional, state, and federal partners, ART identified and characterized assets in twelve categories, conducted a vulnerability and risk assessment, and developed adaptation responses to address key planning issues. Sea level rise inundation maps were developed for the project using the LIDAR/DEM and the methodology developed by NOAA for the SLR Viewer. San Francisco Bay Conservation and Development Commision (BCDC),NOAA Office for Ocean Management, Metropolitan Transportation Commission, the Association of Bay Area Governments X X
 Climate Understanding & Resilience in the River Valley (CURRV)* The Tijuana River Valley (TRV) contains one of the largest contiguous coastal wetland systems in Southern California, and experiences intense pressure from development along the international border between the U.S. and Mexico. In order to maintain and improve the long-term viability of the TRV’s resources, the Tijuana River National Estuarine Research Reserve (TRNERR) is collaboratively leading this project through which future planning scenarios outlining local vulnerabilities to the impacts of sea level rise and riverine flooding are being developed. The scenarios will inform the development of climate adaptation strategies for the Reserve, and the eight public agencies that own and manage the natural and built environments of the TRV.
*This project is funded by a grant from the Coastal and Ocean Climate Applications Program of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Climate Program Office. Also supported in part by a grant from the National Estuarine Research Reserve System (NERRS) Science Collaborative.
Tijuana River National Estuarine Research Reserve (TRNERR) X X  X

This table was compiled by San Francisco Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve intern Calissa Anderson.

If you have comments, feedback, or suggestions about case studies, please contact Heidi Nutters, Coastal Training Program Coordinator, San Francisco Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve, heidin@sfsu.edu .