Sea levels are rising, and, to get a clear sense of the impact that it will have on the Coastside in the coming decades, a trip to Poplar Beach may be in order for this Saturday. 

From 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. on June 9, representatives from the San Mateo County Office of Sustainability along with Half Moon Bay city staff will be taking part in “Shrinking Shores.” It is a statewide campaign currently in its second year. 

Last year the event was reportedly so successful organizers determined that it should be held again. 

“We had an amazing turnout,” said Hilary Papendick, climate change program manager with the San Mateo County Office of Sustainability. “We had people waiting before we even started and a steady stream of people throughout the day.”

Temporary signs indicating the forecasted sea levels will be placed on the beach and bluff tops in the area. City and county staff will be available to take questions from the community and provide additional information about the science and the work being done to address the expected changes. 

Since last year’s event, the county released its finalized San Mateo County Sea Level Rise Vulnerability Assessment, which identifies that millions of dollars worth of homes, roads and other infrastructure — including the Sewer Authority Mid-Coastside plant— are at risk. 

The county has brought awareness to the issue by supporting other programs such as the Bay Area’s Resilient by Design and continuing to run some of its own, such as the Youth Exploring Sea Level Rise Science Program.

“There’s been a groundswell of efforts and attention on the issue,” Papendick said. 

At the event, county officials will provide tips on how to ease personal environmental impact such as by switching to 100 percent renewable energy sources through Peninsula Clean Energy. 

Half Moon Bay city staff will be providing information at the event about the city’s plans to address erosion issues at Poplar. That is expected to be addressed in an upcoming project known as the “Poplar Gateways Plan.” 

“The gateways plan will consider sea level rise and bluff erosion for an improved Poplar Beach experience,” wrote Half Moon Bay Community Development Director Jill Ekas in an email to the Review. 

“Realignment of the California Coastal Trail inland and incorporation of erosion control measures will be critical aspects of the plan.”


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