County of Santa Barbara Long Range Planning Division

Santa Barbara County Coastal Resiliency Project


The County of Santa Barbara's Coastal Resiliency Project is a multi-year effort to evaluate the impacts of sea level rise and related coastal hazards along the County's entire 110-mile coastline. The County, in collaboration with staff from UCSB and the Cities of Carpinteria, Santa Barbara, and Goleta, has worked with a consultant to model sea level rise and other coastal hazards along Santa Barbara County’s coastline.  The modeling effort  identifies planning-level changes in coastal erosion, coastal flooding, and fluvial flooding extents looking at Carpinteria Creek. Ultimately, the results from this project will be used to promote policies and programs that mitigate impacts from coastal hazards.

The project approach is based off of The Nature Conservancy’s Building Coastal Resilience for Disaster Risk Reduction and Climate Adaptation project and modeled after the Coastal Resilience Ventura project. It has been funded by grants from the California Coastal Conservancy, the Ocean Protection Council, and the California Coastal Commission, with matching funds provided by the County of Santa Barbara.


Program Structure

Phase I

Phase I of the project was a technical component that included modeling future coastal hazard scenarios,visually mapping these zones, and drafting a Vulnerability Assessment for the unincorporated county. All modeling was based on the best available science on sea level rise and included three sea level rise scenarios ( low, medium, and high) and three planning timescales (2030, 2060, and 2100). The sea level rise projections were derived from the National Research Council's 2012 publication "Sea Level Rise for the Coasts of California, Oregon, and Washington."

Projected Sea Level Rise for Santa Barbara County

The coastal hazards modeling will provide useful information for making high resolution community planning level decisions. Hazard zone maps created from the models will illustrate potential future conditions and uncertainties associated with the projections. The hazard zone maps for Jalama Beach County Park south to Rincon Point are available on The Nature Conservancy’s Coastal Resilience webpage here. The hazard zone maps for the Santa Maria River south to Jalama Beach County Park will be available on The Nature Conservancy’s Coastal Resilience webpage in Summer of 2017.

Results from the coastal hazards modeling along with stakeholder engagement will help with the creation of the vulnerability assessment and enable staff to analyze impacts to the County’s coastal zone under different climate scenarios. Critical habitats, endangered species, at-risk populations, and important resources and infrastructure will be identified within the County.

Additionally, a Policy and Planning Tool database will combine different policies and planning tools utilized by many jurisdictions into one catalogue for the entire Santa Barbara County.  The database will include existing, proposed, and innovative coastal hazard planning policies and planning tools utilized around the state by the California Coastal Commission and other state agencies. Planners, decision makers, and stakeholders will be able to rank policies and tools within the Database. This can be utilized by County staff and staff from the County’s incorporated cities to help them to make informed decisions. 

The County received funding from the California State Coastal Conservancy’s Climate Ready Grant Program and the Ocean Protection Council, Coastal Commission, and State Coastal Conservancy’s Local Coastal Program Sea Level Rise Adaptation Grant Program in order to implement the first phase of the Coastal Resiliency Project.
Phase II

Phase II will involve adaptation planning and a coastal hazards Local Coastal Program (LCP) amendment. Maps of future scenarios and vulnerable resources will prove invaluable when incorporated into long-term policy decisions and short-term permit decisions by staff, decision-makers and stakeholders. The project’s databases will help develop scientifically sound and robust qualitative adaptation strategies and identify appropriate management options for dealing with coastal hazards.  These qualitative adaptation strategies and management options will provide climate information needed to develop new or enhance existing LCP policies and implementing ordinances. County staff will engage stakeholders to develop these new and enhance LCP policies that will  update the Coastal Land Use Plan and future Community Plan efforts. Additionally, the County’s Coastal Zoning Ordinance will be updated to include development and land use regulations in a proposed Coastal Hazard Overlay Zone to guide the form and intensity of new and remodeled projects to moderate coastal hazard risks.

The County received funding from the State of California Coastal Commission’s Local Coastal Program (LCP) Local Assistance Grant Program and the Ocean Protection Council, Coastal Commission, and State Coastal Conservancy’s Local Coastal Program Sea Level Rise Adaptation Grant Program in order to implement a portion of Phase II of the Coastal Resiliency Project. The County will pursue grant funding for the quantitative Adaptation Plan.





South Coast Modeling Kick-off Meeting # 1

July 28, 2014

Meeting Agenda

Meeting PPT

Meeting Minutes

Initial Coastal Hazard Results Workshop # 2

February 10, 2015

Meeting Agenda

North Coast Modeling Kick-off Meeting #3

August 11, 2015, 9 am to noon

Meeting Agenda

South Coast Modeling Final Hazard Results and Vulnerability Assessment #4

August 11, 2015, 1 pm to 5 pm

Meeting Agenda


Vulnerability Assessment Results and Policy Discussion #5

September 26, 2016, 1:30 pm to 4:30 pm

Meeting Agenda


Join Our Mailing List

Join our mailing list to receive information about the Coastal Resiliency Project activities.



Dan Klemann, Deputy Director:
Selena Evilsizor, Planner:


Useful Links


State of California Sea Level Rise Policy Guidance

The Nature Conservancy - Coastal Resilience

Coastal Resilience Ventura County

City of Goleta Coastal Hazards Vulnerability & Fiscal Impact Report

Goleta Slough Management Plan

Santa Barbara Area Coastal Ecosystem Vulnerability Assessment

Recent News Articles and Media

Santa Barbara Independent - "King Tides Give Glimpse of Future Sea Level Rise"

Noozhawk - "Storms, Powerful Waves Have Eaten Away Santa Barbara County Coastlines to Historic Levels"

KEYT - "New study puts California beach erosion in the spotlight"