County of Humboldt “visioning” a future where you’re not allowed to live by the beach

Today, the County of Humboldt pushed out this press release about their efforts to prepare for sea-level rise on their website earlier this month:

County to address sea level rise in vulnerable areas

On August 9 the Coastal Commission awarded a $50,000 grant to Humboldt County to develop collaborative strategies to address sea level rise for some of the county’s most vulnerable areas – King Salmon, Fields Landing, and Fairhaven/Finn Town.

In the Humboldt Bay region, sea level is anticipated to rise faster than anywhere else in California due to the combined effects of land subsidence and sea level rise.  The grant funding will support public meetings to discuss potential effects of sea level rise, and develop policies and regulations in the Humboldt Bay Area Plan to adapt to the challenges associated with sea level rise.

Allow us to run that through the THC translation machine, and this is what it boils down to:

The county is going to spend $50K for some “collaborative visioning” to develop policies to make it too expensive to build or maintain your residence in the affected areas.

See, at THC, we think the appropriate role for a government in this particular situation would be to just advise people that, hey, if you build along the coastline, you might have some problems with water in the future. Maybe a tsunami, or even rising sea levels if you’re lucky enough to live that long.

From what we’ve read of the County’s sea-level rise materials, the worst projections put us at an extra six feet of water in 80 years. Which sucks, because our Manila vacation property might have some issues. But we came up with a policy years ago when we were considering moving into one of the derelict industrial buildings which we think the County could use, and do could so free of charge. Take a look at a map – maybe even the tsunami hazard zone map that was so painstakingly put together – and, if it’s in the tsunami zone, you should move, build a dike, or take your chances.

Such a policy also wouldn’t make it impossible for people comfortable with that level of risk from pursuing their dream of living by the water.

Problem solved!

But of course, we all know that the County isn’t good at listening to reason. Or looking at their maps.


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21 Responses to County of Humboldt “visioning” a future where you’re not allowed to live by the beach

  1. Arcatan says:

    Perhaps an industrious County worker could make an app that would let the millions of members of the public who are petrified that the sea might rise to the level of their ankles know where they will be able to keep their toes dry. It shouldn’t be much different than the one that showed all the county emergency equipment being stored in a tsunami zone.


  2. Uri Driscoll says:

    Seems like the predictions are all over the map.
    Would seem to make sense to make changes based on actual sea level changes every 15 years. By establishing benchmark points it would make it clear each year exactly how much change is actually happening.
    If there is an attempt to devalue property based on such wide ranging projections it will not only piss a lot of coastal land owners off it will radically alter property tax revenue.


    • Fogbound says:

      I see your point about benchmarks but I wonder if waiting is an appropriate approach. Can’t recall exact article but I believe a few weeks back data showed that estimates on sea level rise were for most part underestimating it. By not acting early tax payers run serious risk of being burdened with enormous bills addressing the after effects of disasters as opposed to expenditures to halt/limit disasters.


      • Welcome Fogbound,

        You make the excellent point that waiting too long to find solutions to problems often leads to an exacerbation of costs and unintended consequences. Would you agree that the same logic could be used to address the massive unfunded pension liabilities that our elected officials have their heads in the sand about? We agree that ignoring a problem doesn’t often lead to it going away and good logic is just that, regardless of the issue at hand

        Thanks for dropping by!


      • Rusty says:

        The key word here is underestimated. Translates to we have absolutely no freaking idea what we’re talking about.


      • Uri Driscoll says:

        I am not saying sit on our hands and do nothing. Not at all. What I do think we can to is get our levies and spits re-secured. The work on where specifically that needs to be done is already available. Admittedly, it would be a short range insurance IF Sea level rise goes to 6 feet in 50 years. But if it doesn’t and we only have moderate rises then we haven’t sold out our coastal lands and have only spent a moderate amount of money to re-secure levies and spits that need some help anyway.
        In ten -15 years we will know what projections are more valid.
        Of course the wild card is whether the land forms go up or down.


  3. sandserat says:

    There is a wealth of information dealing with coastal resilience, thanks to FEMA
    (our ONLY source for flood insurance) and NOAA (FEMA’s science arm).
    A priority, in order to develop resilience is wetlands and wetland functions;
    “Wetlands help improve surface water quality by
    filtering and retaining residential, agricultural, and
    urban wastes. [Think Clam Beach.]
    They also buffer coastal areas against storm and
    wave damage and help stabilize shorelines. ” EPA

    When vegetation is removed from dunes the dunes lose their ability to function as wetlands, they deflate, wildlife disappears and what was an emergent wetland is now a desert moving inland.
    In Manila alone we have already lost a 30′ primary dune, four federally delineated ponds, acres of marshland and a paleo-dune forest. All this under a Negative Declaration to an EIR.
    What the grass removers are doing is creating habitat that is scheduled to be underwater
    while destroying habitat in the process..
    Wetlands alternatively will outpace Sea Level Rise, stabilize, create habitat and satisfy the Migratory Bird Treaty (Pacific Flyway).

    This is what passes for “coastal restoration” in Humboldt County;
    Pages 10 and 11 for before and after. 550 acres of ESHA annihilated.

    Someone belongs in jail.


  4. Bushytails says:

    The Coastal Commission has been trying to prevent anyone living near a beach for many years now… If you want proof, just try getting a permit!


  5. Rusty says:

    The sea level at the intersection of Indianola and 101 has been static for over 70 years that I know of. 50 Grand for something that is not even happening is 50 K wasted. According to Al Gore we all should have drowned two years ago, and he would know right?


  6. Uri Driscoll says:

    It is hard to understand why there is such double speak going on regarding sea level rise and what to do/not do about it. On one hand some are suggesting we knock down our 100 year old levies and give up our precious agriculture land to grow oysters. Yet the sewage treatment ponds in Arcata will be armored to the teeth.
    On the spits you have organizations like Fiends of the dunes and BLM tearing out a grass they don’t like. The result is the dunes collapse. While others like Wild Lands Conservancy are trying desperately to rebuild their collapsed dunes to protect their lands.
    Several of us tried to repair dunes eroded by grass removal in Manila only to be told that even rearranging driftwood on the beach would require a Coastal Development permit by a County planner.
    Who is actually in charge anyway?


    • run don't walk says:

      Meanwhile people strolling on the beach are rearranging (or just burning up) driftwood and pallets willy nilly. No permit required if you simply ignore the laws. Or just claim ignorance. How long would it take F&G to get out there to hand out citations anyway?


  7. Rusty says:

    Warning: I’m Highjack this thread.
    Recreational fires ie: roasting marshmallows, hot dogs, are totally legal. Next time you want to do some backyard burning use this simple loophole, just sit there with your dogs on a stick. If the Air Resources Board was anything other than a joke of State Revenue enhancement arm they would make the coffee roasters and laundromats put filters on the smoke and stench they unleash on us everyday. A roaster in Mckinleyville opened up a spent 50K on a system and you would never know the roasting is happening, thank you for doing the right thing. It’s way past time for enforcement of all air pollution. Redway has the same issue with Coffee Roasters. There is a Roaster near Redwood Acres ruining property values there also. Brewing coffee smells great, roasting coffee is burning coffee beans and it is extremely horrid smelling and triggers asthma attack’s in many unsuspecting people who walk or drive into these invisible clouds of stench. It’s time to do the right thing Roasters and stink-o mats, or maybe the air resources board will do it for you…. Doubtful, but maybe?


    • Cousin Eddiie says:

      I love roasting hot dogs over my tire fire. Tasty.


    • run don't walk says:

      Uh….a coffee house and roaster is dropping your property values? The same property that’s located to a very popular (and loud) race track? Sure. The struggle is real bro (eyeroll). Also, a cookout on the beach may be OK, but I’m sure that burning up a bunch of free pallets full of hundreds of nails constitutes littering and creating a health and safety hazard for others. Not to mention all that campfire smoke blowing your way, further reducing your property values.


  8. Rusty says:

    Had to walk the Levy from Arcata Marsh to the lumber mill in Manila 25 year’s ago for a job estimate it was impassable to our equipment then and only emergency repairs have ever been done. Your on the right track with that idea. That’s where the money’s need to go…to the here and now deferred maintenance.


  9. Just Watchin says:

    We’re already past All Gore’s 10 year “point of no return”. All is lost…..


  10. Rusty says:

    During the last ice age the lce Sheet was a mile high and stretched nearly to the Gulf of Mexico it was so heavy it submerged what are now the Gulf States and Florida. There are actually Coral Reefs high and dry inland in Florida form this event. When the ice receded ” melted ” where did all the water go?? And why are we not under water from all that ice melting?? Stop listening to “Climate Scientist” If you want the facts talk to a Geologist. Climate Scientist are weather forecaster’s good for a couple of months prediction at best and damn good at it too. We are warming have been for thousands of years, thinking that we puny human can change that is laughable. Sea level rise was a political scare tactic to frighten tax payers to pony up so left could save the Planet. Al Gore, inventer of the internet “not “, Nobel Peace Prize Winner for a Inconvenient Truth, and now for his Epic Fail prediction of sea level rise.
    Give the money and the medal back Al.
    The in CON venient truth got TRUMP’T by the truth of real science and common sense.


    • run don't walk says:

      Nowhere near the gulf states, buddy.

      Also, you got your oceanic volumes and geology backwards. If An ice sheet could reach to the Gulf, which would make for a far lower sea level than it was as the time, how is it you could have coral reefs further inland and higher in elevation, thus OUT of the ocean?


  11. Rusty says:

    Most areas that were covered with thick continental ice sheets are still rising in elevation, due to what’s called ‘rebound’.
    It was so heavy it SUBMERGED “billions of tons of ice” what are now the Gulf States and Florida. There are actually Coral Reefs high and dry inland in Florida form this event. Submerged means under water….this was not a two week period…. Under the ocean the coral reefs formed, when the ice melted the weight of the ice was relieved and ” over thousands of years” the land rose back out of the water thus leaving the coral high and dry.
    Throughout most of its history, Florida has been under water. Portions of the Florida peninsula have been above or below sea level at least four times. As glaciers of ice in the north expanded and melted, the Florida peninsula emerged and submerged.

    That’s how.


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