Southern California coastal cliffs could retreat 135 feet in 80 years as erosion rates potentially double

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USGS scientists combined a series of computer models to forecast cliff erosion along the Southern California coast.

House perched above the ocean on a cliff.

Cliff and cliff-top development in Isla Vista, southern California. Photo by Patrick Limber, USGS

The research showed that for the highest sea-level rise considered by the paper (2 meters, or about 6 ½ feet), bluff tops along nearly 300 miles of Southern California coast could lose an average of 135 feet by 2100—and much more in some areas. Coastal managers could be faced with a difficult decision to prioritize bluff-top property or public beaches by permitting or prohibiting armoring.  Learn more in a USGS news release posted July 9.