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New Film Highlights Coastal Flooding Risk in Our Changing Climate

January 3, 2017 – San Diego, CA – Furthering the work of the report, “San Diego, 2050 Is Calling. HOW WILL WE ANSWER?” – a first-ever collaboration among community leaders and world-renowned scientists – the movie highlights efforts for maintaining San Diego’s regional quality of life by addressing the impacts of a changing climate on coastal flooding.

Working with policymakers, business and community leaders, environmentalists and climate scientists, Climate Education Partners released Coastal Flooding Risk in Our Changing Climate, a new movie connecting the efforts of local scientists and regional leaders who are working together to maintain San Diego’s quality of life and strong economy by addressing the impacts of coastal flooding frequency and intensity due to the region’s changing climate.

Serge Dedina, mayor of Imperial Beach and long-time resident, shares his perspective in his opening comments in Coastal Flooding Risk in Our Changing Climate, “We actually saw the worst coastal flooding we’ve ever had in the history of Imperial Beach. We had days where literally the ocean reached a certain level and started pouring into our streets, something that residents who’ve been surfing here for more than 50 years have never seen.” Imperial Beach is just one of the many communities in the San Diego that will be affected by rising tides and will have to decide what plan of action to take.

Leaders in at-risk utilities, such as the trains that service the San Diego region, understand their precarious position. While the train ride is a beautiful one right next to the coast, bluff erosion due to large waves from storms has put tracks at risk of being compromised. North County Transit CEO, Matt Tucker adds, “We have no choice but to be prepared and to take action to protect the bluff and looking at what we can do from a long-term infrastructure point of view to keep it serviceable for at least the next 50 years.”

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) meteorologist, Alex Tardy says, “It’s a big threat. We have a lot of population, a lot of property, a lot of infrastructure on the immediate coast.” He adds, “Let alone all the tourism and recreation that goes on in those areas that get affected too.” According to a NOAA Tides & Currents Station analysis, sea level in our region is expected to rise nearly three times faster between now and 2050 than it did in the prior half century.

Dr. Dan Cayan, Research Meteorologist at Scripps Institution for Oceanography at University of California, San Diego, and Oceanographer at the U.S. Geological Survey Water Resources Division, comments on the impact on the San Diego region. “Largest sea levels and impacts will probably occur when large winter storms coincide with high astronomical tides, especially during El Nino conditions,” Cayan says. “Low-lying areas such as Imperial Beach, Coronado, downtown San Diego, La Jolla Shores, Del Mar and the Oceanside Harbor appear to be particularly vulnerable. To enhance coastal resilience will require sustained monitoring and scientific investigation along with strong coordination that includes our local jurisdictions and public agencies.”

California’s 52nd District U.S. Congressman Scott Peters shares his perspective in Coastal Flooding Risk in Our Changing Climate regarding the importance of San Diego region’s role as a national leader with the type of collaborative built by working together to protect the region’s quality of life in light of the changing climate. “Climate Educations Partners is an example of a collaboration that is happening in the San Diego region that really could teach some lessons to other places around the country,” states Peters.

“There’s a genuine desire to understand the challenge we are up against for our region and a great opportunity to work together and take action now. And I have seen incredible strides with cities taking more concerted action, working together to grapple with sea level rise and coastal flooding,” states former Vice President of Community Impact for The San Diego Region, Emily Young, also featured in the movie. San Diego Regional Climate Collaborative Manager, Laura Engeman works with several of San Diego region’s cities to understand regional challenges and develop innovative creative solutions to protect our coast and shoreline. She along with Coastal Management Specialist, Dani Boudreau, (also featured in the movie) have seen the shift in frequency and intensity of coastal flooding and are focusing on being proactive through educational outreach and leveraging resources to facilitate climate change planning.

Coastal Flooding Risk in Our Changing Climate continues the work reported in “San Diego, 2050 Is Calling. HOW WILL WE ANSWER?” This report was released by Climate Education Partners and The San Diego Foundation in June 2014. Using a practical, solutions-oriented approach to the impacts of the region’s changing climate, Coastal Flooding Risk in Our Changing Climate and the 2050 Report balance up-to-date local climate science with thoughts and perspectives from leaders across a wide diversity of communities and sectors.

Climate Education Partners has a website dedicated to its signature 2050 Report, which includes a downloadable copy of the 2050 Report, as well as more information and research supporting the science included in the report. The site also includes a wide range of options for community leaders to consider in their climate planning and actions including other resources and economic briefs with focuses on health and water. Print copies of CEP’s reports are available by contacting Lia Bruce at 619-260-4600 ext. 2536 or lbruce@sandiego.edu.

Climate Education Partners has focused its efforts on regional leaders so they can work together with scientists to discuss potential solutions and strategies to address the regional impacts from our changing climate. Climate Education Partners includes scientists and educators from the University of San Diego (USD) and Scripps Institution of Oceanography at UC San Diego, social and behavioral psychologists from the University of California San Francisco and California State University San Marcos, strategic community planners from The San Diego Foundation and strategic communication experts from The Steve Alexander Group. More information on Climate Education Partners is available at www.sandiego.edu/climate. Coastal Flooding Risk in Our Changing Climate is available on YouTube. Additional movies created on this effort are available on YouTube here.

About Climate Education Partners

Climate Education Partners is a collaboration of professors, scientists, researchers, educators, communications professionals, and community leaders who think San Diego is a special place and believe that future generations deserve to enjoy the San Diego we know and love, with its natural beauty and ideal weather. The group works with local civic, business, government, and education leaders to communicate the causes of climate change, its impacts in our region, and options for how to adapt to or prevent those impacts. For more information about this project, visit www.sandiego.edu/climate.

About the University of San Diego

The University of San Diego is a Catholic institution of higher learning committed to teaching the liberal arts and preparing students to be ethical leaders and compassionate citizens. Chartered in 1949, the university enrolls approximately 8,300 undergraduate and graduate full-time equivalent students. The University of San Diego has a long history of public service and is one of only 36 universities in the world recognized as a Changemaker Campus by Ashoka, the global association of the world’s leading social entrepreneurs. USD is one of just ten Ashoka Changemaker campuses also classified by the Carnegie Foundation as a “Community Engaged” university. The university’s eight academic divisions include the College of Arts and Sciences, the School of Business, the Shiley-Marcos School of Engineering, the School of Law, the School of Leadership and Education Sciences, the Hahn School of Nursing and Health Science, the Joan B. Kroc School of Peace Studies, and the Division of Professional and Continuing Education. USD launched Leading Change, the $300 million Campaign for USD earlier this year.

About The San Diego Foundation

The San Diego Foundation maximizes the impact of your charitable giving. We mobilize philanthropic resources to advance quality of life, increase social impact and champion civic engagement. For more than 40 years, The Foundation and our donors have granted more than $1 billion to grow a vibrant San Diego region. Learn more on our website, and consider a donation to the Fund for the Future Endowment which supports San Diego community needs now and forever.

About California State University San Marcos

California State University San Marcos is a new kind of CSU — fully engaged in the community, technologically sophisticated, and dedicated to teaching future generations through a relevant curriculum with a global perspective. CSUSM includes high quality, close instruction at three colleges and a school of nursing, a technology-rich campus, more than 80 student clubs and organizations, the Clarke Field House and an active Associated Students, Inc. and 304 rolling acres nestled into the foothills above the city of San Marcos, and a short distance to the beaches of the Pacific Ocean and the Mexican border. For more information on California State University San Marcos, visit www.csusm.edu.

About Scripps Institution of Oceanography

Scripps Institution of Oceanography (SIO) is one of the oldest, largest, and most important centers for ocean and earth science research, education, and public service in the world. Research at SIO encompasses physical, chemical, biological, studies of the earth system: ocean, atmosphere and land. For more information on SIO, visit www.sio.ucsd.edu.

About The Steve Alexander Group

The Steve Alexander Group includes the talented professionals who bring decades of award-winning experience in creative strategic planning, strategic communications, board and leadership development, conflict resolution, collaborative problem solving and team-building, facilitation and mediation and media training and crisis communications. For more information on The Steve Alexander Group, visit www.alexanderpa.com.

About UCSF

UCSF is the nation’s leading university exclusively focused on health. Now celebrating the 150th anniversary of its founding as a medical college, UCSF is dedicated to transforming health worldwide through advanced biomedical research, graduate-level education in the life sciences and health professions, and excellence in patient care. It includes top-ranked graduate schools of
dentistry, medicine, nursing and pharmacy; a graduate division with world-renowned programs in the biological sciences, a preeminent biomedical research enterprise and top-tier hospitals, UCSF Medical Center and UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospitals. For more information on the University of California San Francisco, visit www.ucsf.edu.

Contacts

Lia Bruce, Climate Education Partners, 619-260-4600 ext. 2536, lbruce@sandiego.edu
Justin Nunez, The San Diego Foundation, 619-235-2300, justin@sdfoundation.org
Vince Heald, Beck Ellman Heald, 858-453-9600, vheald@behmedia.com

This project is funded by National Science Foundation award DUE-1239797. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation.

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