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Planning for Rising Seas in the Humboldt Bay Area

Jennifer Kalt
Humboldt Baykeeper

Aldaron Laird is a local environmental planner who has spent years thinking about how best to prepare the Humboldt Bay area for flooding, erosion, and higher groundwater levels that are projected in the next several decades as sea level rises. On August 7, he will lead a public workshop focusing on King Salmon and Fields Landing, which will be among the first local communities to face the effects of rising sea level.  

The options include protection with seawalls, levees, or wetlands; accommodating by elevating buildings and roads; relocation of existing structures; and limiting new development in low-lying areas. We have some time to prepare, but we need to start planning now. 

Humboldt County has received grant funding from the Ocean Protection Council and the California Coastal Commission to update the Humboldt Bay Area Plan, a component of the County’s Local Coastal Program. The HBAP was originally certified in 1982, and establishes policies that govern the use of approximately 21,500 acres of land in the unincorporated area around Humboldt Bay and over 20 miles of Pacific coastline.

The primary objective of the update is to build on the coordinated sea level rise and tsunami safety planning.

For more info:

·      King Salmon, Fairhaven, Fields Landing ‘ground zero’ for sea level rise – Will Houston, Eureka Times-Standard

·      Humboldt County Local Coastal Plan Update

·      Humboldt Baykeeper’s Sea Level Rise webpage

·      The Humboldt Bay Area Plan Sea Level Rise Vulnerability Assessment

Attend upcoming public meetings:

Aug. 7 at Humboldt County Agricultural Office on Humboldt Hill – regarding the communities of    King Salmon and Field’s Landing;

Aug. 14 at the Samoa Women’s Club – regarding the community of Fairhaven.