The city of Long Beach is telling its residents that rising sea levels are not only going to increasingly flood parts of Long Beach but could leave the most vulnerable neighborhoods uninhabitable within a generation or two.
That was the thrust of a city presentation Monday night that drew more 300 residents concerned about the city’s future and their own, the Long Beach Press-Telegram reported Wednesday.
“Residents can continue living on Naples and the Peninsula for several decades as long as you’re willing to experience occasional flooding,” said Jerry Schubel, a marine scientist and CEO of the Aquarium of the Pacific, according to the newspaper. But “over the next few decades, you need to think about moving. Sea-level rise is accelerating. It will continue to rise throughout this century and beyond no matter what we do. I think we need to make an orderly exit from the coast in these areas like the Peninsula and Naples.”
Schubel says that while a long-term trend of sea-level rise has slowed in the last few thousand years, it is again accelerating.
A state law passed in 2013, AB 691, requires coastal communities and ports to produce a sea-level rise adaptation plan for the State Lands Commission. Long Beach is also holding an open house Saturday, Jan. 26 from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Michelle Obama Neighborhood Library to discuss its plans and answer questions.
“We want to be a leader on this work,” said Alison Spindler, a Long Beach city planner who shared the podium Monday at the Best Western Golden Sails hotel ballroom.
Not everyone in the ballroom was prepared to accept Schubel’s warning that some homeowners may need to simply move to higher ground. Architect Bob Murrin has lived for 18 years in Del Lago, a neighborhood between Pacific Coast Highway and northern Alamitos Bay — an area that maps indicate will eventually flood.
“I’m an optimist and think there might be some other way,” he said.
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