This Coastal California City Offers a Path to Dealing With Rising Sea Levels

More paradise. Less parking lots.

As many coastal cities combat rising sea levels, one small town in central California offers a model for the future. Marina, about 10 miles north of Monterey, doesn’t look like many other seaside towns up and down the state. Favoring nature over development, here you won’t find concrete, harbors or parking lots cozying up to the shores. And that’s by choice.

According to the Los Angeles Times, “Sea walls are forbidden, and sand replenishment projects seem unnatural in a city so proud of its native environment. Officials instead are embracing ideas that have been political suicide elsewhere: Require real estate disclosures for sea level rise, move infrastructure away from the water, work with the private resort in town to relocate its oceanfront property — a policy known as managed retreat.

“This small but lively town of 23,000 says it’s fought enough coastal issues over the decades to know that bad ideas must be stopped sooner than later. A controversial sand mine on the beach is finally shutting down after a century of dredging away the coast. Residents are still fighting a large water company trying to build a desalination plant.

“With sea level rise, the mere suggestion of making room for the ocean and turning prime real estate into open space has upended other cities up and down the coast — at least one mayor has been ousted. But Marina is different, a city report declared, and instead will show the state and country how to adapt to a changing planet.”

You can read more about Marina’s approach here.

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