Coastal Planning for the City of Eureka

09.25.2013

Storm surges occurring atop rising sea levels will cause extreme water levels to occur more frequently over the next few decades, increasing the frequency and depth of potential flooding. This has the potential to significantly impact coastal communities such as the City of Eureka located adjacent to Humboldt Bay along the Northern California Coast.
 
Much of Downtown Eureka, including its industrial and other coastal land uses, port activities, transportation links and utilities, is within low-lying areas threatened by sea level rise. As part of the comprehensive update of Eureka’s General Plan and Local Coastal Program (LCP) that ESA will begin in October, we will be working with the community to analyze the City’s vulnerability to sea level rise and determine appropriate adaptation responses. Our work will help to define critical weak points in existing defenses and develop timelines over which risk will increase and adaptation measures will be needed, allowing appropriate actions to be incorporated within the City’s planning documents and capital improvement programs. ESA will also be exploring the role that natural ecosystems can play in adaptation, including the wave attenuation benefits of wetlands, which provide other environmental co-benefits. 
 
In addition to climate adaptation, ESA will be working with the City to develop a Climate Action Plan to reduce GHG emissions, update the LCP to provide additional flexibility within the Coastal Zone, explore annexation and new growth opportunities, identify strategies to diversify the local economy and ensure its long term viability, address significant pass-through vehicle trips along US 101, enhance the City’s commercial corridors and optimize retail and services, and identify alternative financing tools to promote revitalization and balance costs and revenues given the loss of redevelopment. ESA will also be updating the City’s Housing Element to protect the City’s character while providing for expanded housing opportunities, and will prepare a homelessness strategy to address Eureka’s higher than average rate of homelessness. A robust community outreach program will be conducted, including innovative web-based virtual town halls, a general plan advisory committee, focus group meetings, community workshops and housing roundtables, City Council working sessions, stakeholder interviews, and a press and media campaign.
 
For more information contact Dan Dameron, ESA's Community Development Director at ddameron [at] esassoc [dot] com or Harriet Lai Ross, Community Planning Program Manager at hross [at] esassoc [dot] com or by calling 916.564.4500.