State and local agencies responding to an anticipated rise in sea levels in California will be required to submit monthly reports to a public database under a new bill that has become law.
Gov. Jerry Brown on Monday signed Assembly Bill 2516 as he prepared to address the United Nations Climate Summit in New York.
Authored by Assemblyman Rich Gordon, D-Menlo Park, the bill establishes a statewide online database focusing on sea-level rise planning that will be overseen by the California Natural Resources Agency. The database, which is believed to be the first of its kind, is intended to serve as a resource for cities and counties across the state to utilize data collected by other communities and share methods for how to adequately prepare for rising sea levels.
“California has produced an abundance of sea-level rise planning information, but lacks a consolidated location for this information,” Gordon said. “AB 2516 creates an accessible, centrally located tool for local and state governments to share information and coordinate their efforts, allowing us to be far more efficient in our work to address the growing threat of sea-level rise.”
The legislation was initiated as a result of work conducted by the Select Committee on Sea Level Rise and the California Economy, which Gordon chairs. After receiving testimony from scientists and stakeholders at a series of hearings, the committee issued a comprehensive report, which urges Californians to prepare for the seas to rise by an average of 3 feet during this century.
The report additionally cited that California is “woefully unprepared” for the challenge of accelerating sea-level rise and could potentially lose billions of dollars in revenue due to related impacts.
“Sea-level rise is already happening,” Gordon warned. “This legislation enables California to become a national model for sea-level rise planning and continue to lead the country in addressing climate change.”
According to Gordon, information such as studies, modeling, inundation maps and cost-benefit analyses will now be readily available for communities through the new database.
The legislation is set to take effect Jan. 1.