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Report: Sea Level Rise to Affect Low-Lying Communities

The USC study says low-income areas like San Pedro and Wilmington would be affected.

Waves crash over rocks off the Palos Verdes Peninsula. Photo credit Ivy Faulkner / Palos Verdes Pictures.
Waves crash over rocks off the Palos Verdes Peninsula. Photo credit Ivy Faulkner / Palos Verdes Pictures.

Residents of Los Angeles' low-lying communities, such as San Pedro and Wilmington, as well as those with older buildings and high numbers of renters, such as Venice, would be most affected by flooding stemming from a rising sea level, according to a report released today by USC.

The Abbot Kinney corridor and Ballona wetlands would be particularly at risk. However, the region’s wide sandy beaches, if maintained, can provide a valuable bulwark against higher waters.

Current projections say a sea level rise of as much as two feet will occur in Los Angeles by 2050 due to climate change.

Other key findings from the report include:

  • The city’s wastewater management, storm water management and potable water systems are highly vulnerable to sea level rise.
  • The Port of Los Angeles and the city's energy infrastructure would be mostly unaffected by the rise in sea level due to a replacement schedule that will allow the city to prepare for future needs to change infrastructure.
  • Projected flooding and erosion damage to roads along the coast could impede emergency services.
  • Many cultural assets located along the coast, including museums, historic buildings and the Cabrillo Marine Aquarium, could face damage.

A study by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration released toward the end of 2012 indicated that if sea levels were to rise up to 6.6 feet higher than they currently are, only one home in Rancho Palos Verdes would be affected. Nevertheless, the Palos Verdes Peninsula would see many of its narrow beaches disappear completely.

—City News Service.

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