Integrated Highway and Ecosystem Monitoring and Adaptation to Sea Level Rise

Sea level has already risen 8" on the coast of California and is projected to rise another 1-2 feet by mid-century. Planners, conservationists, and elected officials are scrambling to figure out how to adapt to these changing water elevations. Typically they rely upon models of future inundation and flood risk. However, these model predictions have not been verified and they map out change over very long time scales. This National Center for Sustainable Transportation-funded project measures actual inundation and shoreline change over time in built and natural coastal environments on the Central California coast (primarily San Francisco Bay) and around a coastal island off Georgia. A standard approach has been developed that can be used to monitor actual sea level rise impacts at time-frames (years) and with spatial resolutions (meters-hectares) closer to those used in decision-making.