January 2017: Sea Level Rise Effects Becoming More Apparent Throughout Santa Barbara

1967 Flooding of the Santa Barbara Aiport. Source: edhat.com user beachbummer

1967 Flooding of the Santa Barbara Aiport. Source: edhat.com user beachbummer

Along with being an exciting thing to witness, the heavy rains, storm surges, and abnormal high tides of winter serve as an important educational tool. They can give us a glance of what our region will look like as the sea level rises and climate change influenced extreme weather events become more common. 

This past weekend's heavy rains and high tides gave Santa Barbara residents a preview of what will undoubtedly become problem areas in Santa Barbara County as extreme weather and high tide events become more common. Click here to read coverage by the Santa Barbara Independent on the effects of high water events on the Goleta Slough.  Other at-risk sites include low-lying parts of downtown Santa Barbara, Summerland, and Carpenteria. 

Heal the Ocean is no stranger to the threats to Santa Barbara's coastal infrastructure by sea level rise and climate change. We have advocated for the movement of important city infrastructure out of high-impact and low lying zones. One of our primary targets has been the Santa Barbara Airport, which sits directly in the Goleta Slough, making it especially susceptible to flooding. To read our most recent comment letter on the vulnerability of the Santa Barbara Airport to sea level rise, click here.

We will continue to work closely with city and county officials to ensure that adequate planning measures are taken to prepare for the realities of sea level rise and extreme weather events. As we say, the 100 year storm may not wait 100 years to arrive.