This report synthesizes critical gaps in coastal adaptation knowledge and technology for California that were identified through a review of the recent literature and policy documents, two workshops (one with adaptation practitioners, and one with scientists from the University of California, UC) and detailed analysis of selected case studies. It focuses on those gaps that if addressed, might best align future research with community coastal adaptation needs. The analysis is the result of a pilot multicampus collaboration on coastal resilience and adaptation between three UC campuses: Santa Cruz (UCSC), Santa Barbara (UCSB) and San Diego (UCSD). The goal of our collaboration was to generally identify current understandings of coastal hazard impacts and adaptation strategies along California’s heterogenous coastline.
While communities have made significant progress beginning to address coastal vulnerabilities and adaptation strategies, efforts face multiple challenges going forward. This study identified some overall trends in adaptation planning and identified 7 guiding questions and 33 key needs and gaps for actionable science that could help advance adaptation:
1) What is projected to happen? Targeted coastal science to (i) support prediction of climate change and related oceanographic forcing (sea level rise, wave energy, extreme conditions, etc.) prediction at the local level; and (ii) improve the characterization of climate change impacts on the coastal zone, such as changes in groundwater elevations and cascading impacts.
2) How can we better communicate this change? Integrate and convey existing and future sea level rise guidance for practitioners.
3) How can we center environmental justice, equity, and communities in adaptation investments? Improve community engagement with adaptation planning, and how to achieve more equitable outcomes in adaptation decisions.
4) What works? Evaluate adaptation interventions to inform pathway planning is needed, such as social cost-benefit analysis and cost-effectiveness of different strategies.
5) How can we effectively implement adaptation pathways, and avoid maladaptation? Integrate understanding of coastal change and engagement with community values, over different and varied time horizons and geographic scales.
6) Monitoring and technology: when interventions should be implemented and how to measure their performance? Integrate monitoring of coastal change and interventions to support improved planning, and address feedback in the adaptation decision process to support connected pathway adaptation and implementation.
7) How can we better integrate researcher and practitioner objectives to better support actionable adaptation plans? Align academic incentives and practices with the practical needs and timing of community and governmental decision processes.
The report also includes extended technical annexes with a review of existing data and tools relevant for coastal adaptation, policy, and guidance notes, and details of identified needs and gaps (see organization summary).