The Los Angeles County Department of Beaches and Harbors (DBH) operates and maintains 18 public beaches along the Pacific Ocean coastline (mostly in Santa Monica Bay), between the City of Malibu and San Pedro, a coastal community within the City of Los Angeles.  The unique urban setting of Los Angeles County’s shoreline is one of the most valuable coastal resources in California.  Its regional beaches provide recreation and enjoyment for more than 70 million visitors annually.

Due to forecasts of rising sea levels caused by climate change, LA County initiated a process of proactive preparedness by assessing the potential threat that its public beach assets may face through the year 2100.  The Sea-level Rise Vulnerability Assessment (2016) presented an overview of existing LA County beach settings, assessed the potential threat that future sea-level rise may pose to recreational assets, and introduced appropriate strategies to be considered to begin a dialogue on how best to address the forecasts.  Such strategies consist of continued use of a temporary sand berm program for short term management, beach nourishment for future management, and possible natural dunes, elevated foundations or even retreat as long-term management.

In 2023, DBH completed the Los Angeles County Coastal Resilience Study, which builds upon the 2016 Sea Level Rise Vulnerability Assessment and represents a proactive step in the overall effort to increase the resilience of our coast to the impacts of extreme erosion from high tides and huge surf as well as predicted sea level rise. The study focuses on several prototype sites to demonstrate how the latest techniques can be implemented to protect and enhance public access to our coast as sea levels rise and erosion occurs.  This proposed integrated approach to adaptation planning and design will benefit the community and the broader region for decades to come.

DBH has initiated collaborative efforts with other agencies and aims to include a public information education effort as we advance towards implementation of adaptation strategies that will protect and enhance access to and management of our coastal resources.

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