South Coast Sea Level Rise Risk and Solutions Study

Sea Level Rise Will Impact Our Communities
The San Mateo County South Coast is known for its iconic beaches, agricultural areas, and small coastal communities. Many of these areas, including coastside beaches and bluffs, roads, agricultural land, businesses and residences are already at risk from flooding and erosion, and these impacts will get worse as sea level continues to rise. Our communities need to know what to expect and what we need to start doing today to protect ourselves from these impacts. The South Coast Sea Level Rise Vulnerability Assessment can help us do just that.

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Click here to see the full report

This study evaluates the impacts of sea level rise right now, at .8 feet, at 1.4 feet and at 4.9 feet,  from the southern edge of Half Moon Bay to the county line south of Pescadero. The vulnerability assessment provides projections of the extent of coastal hazards and of the physical and economic impacts to community assets like buildings, roads, farmland, and coastal access infrastructure. The adaptation report provides an overview of adaptation measures that may be appropriate for the South Coast, as well as guidance for planning and implementing adaptation pathways in an equitable and community-oriented way. Click here for the Executive Summary




Study Results and Next Steps
The vulnerability assessment found significant sea level rise exposure in the agricultural community of Pescadero and at Martin’s Beach, which sits directly on the coast. Also at risk are the cultural areas and materials of Native Peoples, particularly in the areas of Pescadero, Año Nuevo, and Franklin Point. State Route 1, a critical corridor to the South Coast region, is already impacted by sea level rise but will be increasingly exposed to erosion and flood over time. Impacts to coastal trails and coastal access infrastructure like parking lots and restrooms may reduce public coastal access in the future.

Now that we better understand the specific impacts that sea level rise will have on our South Coast communities, we need to develop solutions to protect communities from worsening flooding and erosion.

The results of the report are intended to help county and city officials, government agencies, community-based organizations, community members, and other stakeholders understand what is at risk, prioritize areas for adaptation actions, understand the tradeoffs between different strategies, and present a roadmap for future actions.

This study, done in collaboration with Integral Consulting, the San Mateo Resource Conservation District and South Coast Sustainable, contributes to resilience planning in the San Mateo County South Coast area through achieving the following goals:

  • Map assets and future risk scenarios
  • Identify exposed assets
  • Identify feasible adaptation strategies
  • Build community awareness
  • Facilitate collaboration

Full report: SMC South Coast Sea Level Rise Study



Virtual Community Meeting on Sea Level Rise and Adaptation in the South Coast | March 9, 2022, 6:00-8:30pm

COASTSIDE LAND TRUST Webinar | September 25, 2021

Click here to view the event recording. Click here to view the event recording. Dr. David Revell shared the County’s findings about the impacts of sea level rise in the South Coast region. Watch to learn what is at risk and ideas for adaptation strategies.


Watch this recording to learn how sea level rise will affect the San Mateo County South Coast. Flooding and erosion from sea level rise have the potential to affect our beaches and bluffs, roads, farms and ranches, businesses and residences.

If you are interested in learning about sea level rise impacts for another area of San Mateo County, please see the 2018 Sea Level Rise Vulnerability Assessment.

For questions, please contact us at