Another set of King Tides are coming on February 8-9. Please join our King Tide Photo Initiative to help document rising sea levels around Humboldt Bay!
Photo: Jackson Ranch Road in the Arcata Bottoms, Dec. 13, 2012 (Ted Halstead).
According to the latest projections, sea level in the Humboldt Bay area will rise 1 foot by 2030, 2 feet by 2050, and 3 feet by 2060. The primary impacts from sea level rise are increases in flooding and erosion. Sea level rise will expand the area vulnerable to flooding during major storms, as well as in the rare but catastrophic event of a major tsunami.
The term 100-year flood is used as a standard for planning, insurance, and environmental analysis. People, infrastructure, and property are already located in areas vulnerable to flooding from a 100-year event. Sea level rise will cause more frequent—and more damaging—floods to those already at risk and will increase the size of the coastal floodplain, placing new areas at risk to flooding.
As scientists throughout the world describe the mounting impacts from climate change and the accelerating timeline in which they’re expected, KEET sits down with three local experts to discuss what Humboldt County can expect in the decades ahead. The county, these officials warn, will be among the worst hit in the state.
Tune in to this week's Podship Earth, hosted by Jared Blumenfeld, California Secretary for Environmental Protection, and Sara Aminzadeh, California Coastal Commissioner and former Executive Director of the California Coastkeeper Alliance.
Baykeeper's Jen Kalt talks about the Humboldt Bay area, which is experiencing twice the rate of sea level rise as the state average.
The city has annexed its first piece of property since the 1980s, but there may be issues with flooding on the property down the line.
After years of talking about it, the city of Eureka has extended city limits to include about 100 acres just north of the city along U.S. Highway 101 known as the Brainard site. The area is currently the home to property owned by the California Redwood Company, which is zoned for industrial uses; a portion of a Highway 101 right-of-way; and a railroad right-of-way owned by Northwestern Pacific Railroad Company.
“This was driven by the property owner because right now they’re not connected to water or wastewater systems,” said Robert Holmlund, Eureka’s director of development services. “The city cannot really connect to properties outside of city limits.”
There are no current plans to extend water or wastewater service to the property, but that would likely need to happen if new development was proposed on that land. At that time, the Coastal Commission would need to approve any changes, but the commission expressed concern that the area is going to become inundated as the sea level rises.
“I fundamentally disagree with the Coastal Commission,” Holmlund said. “We’re talking about 80 years from now. That’s generations of businesses.”
One local sea-level rise expert, Aldaron Laird, has speculated there could be as much as a foot of sea-level rise by 2030, two feet by 2050 and more than five feet by 2100.
Sunday night will bring what is called a super blood wolf moon, the last lunar eclipse of the decade.
The king tides will occur Sunday and Monday and Arcata is urging local residents to take pictures of areas around the bay as the king tides move in an effort to document the water level at high tide.
“The initiative is to get people thinking about what the high tide will look like in the coming years as the ocean rises,” said Jennifer Kalt, director of Humboldt Baykeeper. “Humboldt Bay is experiencing twice the rate of sea level rise as the rest of the state and Jay Patton and his fellow geologists at Cascadia GeoSciences have found that the ground beneath the Humboldt Bay area is sinking due to tectonic subsidence at the same rate that sea level is rising — meaning that this area has twice the rate of relative sea level rise as the state average. Conversely, the coast in the Crescent City area is uplifting due to tectonic activity at the same rate as sea level rise — meaning that there, the rate of relative sea level is essentially zero.”