Point Cabrillo Light Station State Historic Park


Sea level rise adaptation planning and project implementation at State Parks is ongoing work that requires and benefits from many types of partners throughout the state. We’ve listed a few examples of current and recent projects and initiatives that State Parks is working on.

Map of locationsTogether with our nonprofit partner Coastal Quest, State Parks has initiated a local and regional planning and coordination project in the San Diego Coast District of the State Park System. The project, supported by grant funding from the California Ocean Protection Council, will assess the risk and vulnerability of San Diego’s individual coastal park units. At the same time, the project will catalyze State Parks’ sea level rise adaptation work statewide by providing a model for how to perform these assessments for all other coastal parks.

The project will conduct sea level rise vulnerability assessments and develop adaptation pathways for nine San Diego Coast District park units.  The assessments will lead to feasibility studies for a subset of the parks assessed. Importantly, the vulnerability assessments will be performed using State Parks’ holistic approach to vulnerability and adaptation planning that includes unique State Park assets -- access, recreation, cultural and natural resources, and facilities -- that are not typically addressed in other assessments.


Cardiff beach and tower imageCardiff State Beach is located in the City of Encinitas, San Diego County, California. It is bounded by the Pacific Ocean to the west and Highway 101 to the east, with an average beach width of 100 feet. Historically, the beach was backed by a natural cobble berm and non-engineered riprap, which provided some structural protection for the western edge of Highway 101. Despite the protection, the highway has been damaged and flooded on numerous occasions as the result of extreme wave events and high tides- with damage only expected to increase due to sea level rise. To protect this critical piece of transportation infrastructure while maintaining public access to quality coastal recreation, a living shoreline was proposed to test an innovative method of shoreline stabilization and increase coastal resilience to sea level rise.

Status of Project

Construction of the Cardiff Living Shoreline was completed in June 2019. The new living shoreline spans approximately 2,900 linear feet in length (~0.5 mile) and 60 feet in width. Approximately 30,000 cubic yards of sand were used to construct the sand dunes, which were seeded with a suite of native plants to assist with stabilizing the newly placed sand. Set between the highway and the living shoreline is a new footpath that provides connectivity between the cities of Encinitas and Solana Beach and improves access along Cardiff State Beach. Now that the living shoreline is complete, monitoring is being conducted to measure the performance of the living shoreline as a shoreline stabilization technique, to inform maintenance needs, and to evaluate the ecosystem benefits of newly created habitat.

Watch this video to listen to California State Coastal Conservancy staff discuss the Cardiff State Beach Living Shoreline Project.