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The Public Review Draft of the revised Sea Level Rise Policy Guidance document provides an overview of the best available science on sea level rise for California and recommended methodology for addressing sea level rise in Coastal Commission planning and regulatory actions. It is intended to serve as a multi-purpose resource for a variety of audiences and includes a high level of detail on many subjects. Since the document is not specific to a particular geographic location or development intensity, readers should view the content as a menu of options to use only if relevant, rather than a checklist of required actions.

Commission staff will be introducing the revised Guidance on Wednesday, June 10, 2015 at the Commission meeting in Newport Beach. The Commission will hold an initial public hearing and the staff will present an overview of the document. The Commission will not take action on the revised Guidance at this hearing. Commission action is planned for the August 2015 meeting. The Commission will hear testimony from the public and the Commission will discuss the document. Additional public outreach events may be scheduled over the coming months so please check here or subscribe to the SLR Mailing List for those details.

Changes in Latest Draft Revision

Many alterations have been made to the Guidance document since the First Public Review Draft was released. The most significant of these include:

  • A new section on using scenario-based analysis to approach sea level rise planning
  • A new section on storms, extreme events, abrupt change, and sea level rise
  • A new section on sea level rise adaptation planning and environmental justice
  • A revised chapter on sea level rise adaptation strategies, including additional strategies
  • A new chapter on the legal context of adaptation planning

These revisions were coordinated with other California state efforts related to climate change and adaptation, including the 2014 Safeguarding California document produced by the California Natural Resources Agency. This revised Draft reflects the broad concepts and strategies in Safeguarding California - particularly the Coast and Oceans chapter - and complements it by providing information specific to the Coastal Act, including Local Coastal Programs and Coastal Development Permits. A discussion of relevant presidential and gubernatorial Executive Orders has also been incorporated to the document.

Submitting Comments

The Commission is seeking input on the revised Guidance document, which can downloaded at the left as either a full document or by individual sections. We encourage broad participation in the review and welcome all feedback, both in writing and verbally at the Commission's Public Hearings in June, July, and/or August 2015. We request that written comments be submitted no later than COB Friday, July 10, 2015 in order to be considered as we prepare the final document for possible Commission action at the August 2015 hearing.

Comments may be submitted by email to or by US Mail to the address below.

California Coastal Commission
c/o Sea Level Rise Working Group
45 Fremont Street, Suite 2000
San Francisco, CA 94105

If you would like to speak with staff directly, please contact Kelsey Ducklow at 415-904-2335 or Carey Batha at 415-904-5268.

Official Staff Response to 2014 Comments

The first draft of the Guidance document was released for public comment on October 14, 2013 and closed on February 14, 2014. During the 120-day review period, Commission staff received over 100 comment letters that broke down into over 800 distinct comments. Each comment has been responded to and the feedback was incorporated into this Revised Draft. The individual comment letters have been posted here and also compiled into a single document including staff responses in the context of this revised Draft, which is available here.

Outreach presentations on the first Draft are also available.

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