Sen. Ted Lieu law results in $3 million in coastal-improvement grants, including $340,000 for West Los Angeles County projects

January 28, 2014
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Law the result of 2012 measure signed by Gov. Brown  

SACRAMENTO – Three coastal-preservation groups in West Los Angeles County will share about $340,000 of $3 million in grant funding to fight climate change thanks to a law pushed by Sen. Ted Lieu, state officials confirmed.

“These projects will help our coastal communities better prepare for climate change, including effects such as rising sea levels and less availability of drinking water,” Lieu said Tuesday, barely one year after his 2012 pro-environment measure became law. “The California Coastal Conservancy sought the best and brightest ideas to address climate change. Judging by their results, these grants will focus on needed climate change adaptation strategies.

“Given the alarming trends and proven science that climate change is getting worse, it’s hard to imagine a more urgent environmental issue facing policymakers.”

CCC’s grants program, called Climate Ready, funds 20 projects statewide and was enabled by Senate Bill 1066 by Lieu. These projects are designed to immediately spur climate-change preparations by helping communities adapt to rising seas, more severe storms, increased risk of fires, changing rainfall levels and reduced water availability. The projects seek also to promote reduced emissions of greenhouse gases that contribute to climate change and examine ways to remove those gasses from the atmosphere.

Specifically, the goals of the three projects in West Los Angeles County are:

     City of Hermosa Beach, $100,000: This will allow the city to assess the vulnerability of its infrastructure to sea level rise and identify adaptation strategies. The assessment will include monitoring of shallow groundwater levels and salinity to determine how future levels are likely to affect sewage systems and storm water management, water lines, utilities and below-grade structures. Results of the assessment will be used to develop plans to prevent and manage floodwaters, protect against rising groundwater levels and protect ocean water quality.

     Heal the Bay, $169,000: Working with Green LA Coalition, Santa Monica-based HTB will compile information on the benefits, costs and feasibility of three Living Streets programs in Los Angeles that address causes and expected effects of climate change. The three programs are Complete Streets, which encourages use of streets by bicycles, pedestrians, and public transit vehicles to reduce greenhouse gas emissions; Green Infrastructure, by which street designs and materials help capture rainwater for reuse and prevent its runoff; and Cool Streets, through which reflected materials embedded in asphalt reduce the absorption of solar heat and lower the surrounding temperature. The information will inform the city of the costs and benefits of Living Streets programs and help guide street maintenance and utility policies. 

     Los Angeles County Department of Beaches and Harbors, $69,815: The county Department of Beaches and Harbors will assess the vulnerability of coastal beaches to sea level rise and plan for their protection. The world-renowned beaches are immensely important to the region’s culture and economy, but rising seas and storm surges resulting from climate change threaten their continued existence. The county manages 17 beaches between Malibu and San Pedro that attract more than 50 million residents and visitors annually. The ultimate goal of the project is to prepare an adaptive management plan for those beaches with a range of strategies for their preservation.

“Billions of dollars of economic activity are at stake,” Lieu said about the looming threat that climate change poses to the region’s infrastructure. “With the coastal economy contributing $40 billion annually to the state and with 80 percent of California's 38 million residents living within 30 miles of the coast, we must act now to ensure our coastal economy weathers climate change.”

Sam Schuchat, executive officer of the Coastal Conservancy, agreed. “Climate change is happening and its effects will be catastrophic if we’re not prepared,” Schuchat said. “Today’s efforts to prepare for climate change will pay massive dividends in the future.”

Ruskin Hartley, chief executive officer of HTB, said the Coastal Conservancy has long been an invaluable partner in helping protect local beaches, the ocean and neighborhoods.

“Thanks to new funding provided by the Conservancy and supported by Sen. Lieu, our policy team will soon convene local coastal municipalities and conduct a vulnerability assessment to help them better prepare for climate change impacts,” Hartley said. “Our staff will be working with our community partners and the City of Los Angeles to provide cost-benefit analysis and recommendations for ‘greening’ local infrastructure, such as increased green streets that capture and help treat urban runoff before it hits our shorelines.”

Descriptions of all funded projects can be found at the Coastal Conservancy’s website, http://scc.ca.gov

For more, including Lieu’s op-ed on this issue, click HERE or visit his Web site at the address below.
Ted W. Lieu chairs the Senate Business, Professions and Economic Development Committee and represents the more than 1.3 million residents of Senate District 28, which includes the cities of Beverly Hills, Carson, El Segundo, Hermosa Beach, Lomita, Manhattan Beach, Redondo Beach, Santa Monica, Torrance, West Hollywood and the Palos Verdes Peninsula as well as portions of Long Beach and Los Angeles including, Beverly Glen, Brentwood, Cheviot Hills, Harbor City, Hollywood Hills, Marina del Rey, Mar Vista, Pacific Palisades, Playa del Rey, San Pedro, Venice, Westwood and Wilmington. See a district map HERE: For more, visit www.senate.ca.gov/lieu.

MEDIA CONTACT: Ray Sotero
Communications Director
Sen. Ted W. Lieu, Senate District 28
Capitol Building, Room 4061
Sacramento, Calif. 95814
(916) 651-4028 office; (916) 834-1128 cell
www.sen.ca.gov/Lieu