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An integrated approach for physical, economic, and demographic evaluation of coastal flood hazard adaptation in Santa Monica Bay, California

November 24, 2022

The increased risk of coastal flooding associated with climate-change driven sea level rise threatens to displace communities and cause substantial damage to infrastructure. Site-specific adaptation planning is necessary to mitigate the negative impacts of flooding on coastal residents and the built environment. Cost-benefit analyses used to evaluate coastal adaption strategies have traditionally focused on economic considerations, often overlooking potential demographic impacts that can directly influence vulnerability in coastal communities. Here, we present a transferable framework that couples hydrodynamic modeling of flooding driven by sea level rise and storm scenarios with site-specific building stock and census block-level demographic data. We assess the efficacy of multiple coastal adaptation strategies at reducing flooding, economic damages, and impacts to the local population. We apply this framework to evaluate a range of engineered, nature-based, and hybrid adaptation strategies for a portion of Santa Monica Bay, California. Overall, we find that dual approaches that provide protection along beaches using dunes or seawalls and along inlets using sluice gates perform best at reducing or eliminating flooding, damages, and population impacts. Adaptation strategies that include a sluice gate and partial or no protection along the beach are effective at reducing flooding around inlets but can exacerbate flooding elsewhere, leading to unintended impacts on residents. Our results also indicate trade-offs between economic and social risk-reduction priorities. The proposed framework allows for a comprehensive evaluation of coastal protection strategies across multiple objectives. Understanding how coastal adaptation strategies affect hydrodynamic, economic, and social factors at a local scale can enable more effective and equitable planning approaches.

Citation Information

Publication Year 2022
Title An integrated approach for physical, economic, and demographic evaluation of coastal flood hazard adaptation in Santa Monica Bay, California
DOI 10.3389/fmars.2022.1052373
Authors Klaus Schroder, Michele A. Hummel, Kevin A. Befus, Patrick L. Barnard
Publication Type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Series Title Frontiers Earth Science Journal
Index ID 70238557
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse
USGS Organization Pacific Coastal and Marine Science Center