Humboldt Bay Area Plan: Strategic Sea Level Rise Adaptation Planning Report

Aldaron Laird
Posted on: 10/29/2020 - Updated on: 10/29/2020

Posted by

Rachel Gregg



Located in the area of unincorporated Humboldt County covered by the HBAP are three communities that are vulnerable to and at risk from sea level rise of 3.3 feet (1.0 meter) and are the focus of this adaptation planning report: King Salmon, Fields Landing, and Fairhaven (which includes the area referred to as Finntown). Potential sea level rise impacts these communities could be exposed to include: shoreline erosion, tidal inundation, flooding from rising groundwater in response to sea level rise, backwater flooding during stormwater runoff and high tides, and salt water intrusion of individual septic/wastewater systems.

Humboldt County’s general approach to sea level rise adaptation is to protect critical assets for as long as it is physically and economically feasible, and to simultaneously and incrementally plan for future retreat if and when protection is no longer an option. Overarching sea level rise adaptation goals and strategies generally include protecting assets from sea level rise impacts, modifying assets to accommodate these impacts, relocating existing assets to areas that will not be impacted, and avoiding siting new assets in areas that will be impacted by rising sea levels. Education of the potentially affected public, businesses, and agencies is an important component of any sea level rise adaptation strategy. The County anticipates the need for a mix of protection, accommodation, and retreat strategies, and hybrids thereof, in order to implement the County’s general approach to sea level rise adaptation.

This adaptation planning report describes the characteristics of each of these three HBAP communities directly at risk from sea level rise, the sea level rise impacts they may be exposed to, a range of suitable adaptation goals, strategies, and solutions, and recommended adaptation strategies and solutions.