(Arcata, CA) – The California Coastal Conservancy awarded the City of Arcata an $86,000 Climate Ready Grant on Wednesday. The grant will fund design and permitting of fringe salt marshes or “living shorelines” to protect vulnerable City facilities including the wastewater treatment plant, Klopp Lake and coastal access at the Arcata Marsh and Wildlife Sanctuary. Arcata is one of 20 cities, counties and nonprofit organization awarded funds to reduce risks from the warming climate and rising sea levels.
As part of the Arcata project, about 22 acres of protective salt marsh will be constructed on the bay side of the rock levees around the waste water treatment plant’s oxidation ponds and Klopp Lake at the Arcata Marsh. The proposed new salt marsh will provide “living shore protection,” creating habitat for birds and eliminating the need for future sea wall construction.
The project will also find out the combined carbon sequestration potential of the proposed 22 acres of protective salt marsh, the City’s recently completed McDaniel Slough Wetland Enhancement Project and the Arcata Baylands/Jacoby Creek Estuary Enhancement Project areas, a total area of over 900 acres.
The sea level in Humboldt Bay is anticipated to rise between 16 and 55 inches due to the effects of climate change. Large swaths of Humboldt Bay’s lowlands face increased risk of flooding and erosion from extreme weather events. The City’s staff identified the waste water treatment facility at the Arcata Marsh and Wildlife Sanctuary as the most vulnerable vital infrastructure within the City limits that could be affected by sea level rise. Moving the facility is not an option in the next few decades.
The Coastal Conservancy is a state agency that works with the people of California to protect and improve the coast and San Francisco Bay. Wednesday’s first Climate Ready Program grant round awarded $3 million to projects from San Diego to Humboldt County that address protecting public facilities in vulnerable shoreline areas, saving storm water for later use in areas with changing rainfall patterns and water shortages, and reducing greenhouse gas emissions and removing global warming gasses from the atmosphere.