Dr. Michael Graham of Moss Landing Marine Laboratories and San Jose State University says that despite bull kelp being “historically resilient to individual stressors,” a perfect storm of environmental conditions including a mass sunflower seastar die-off and an extreme El Niño event has resulted in a 96% reduction in bull kelp forests along the Northern California coast within the last few years. The Joint Committee on Fisheries and Aquaculture held its first-ever forum on kelp reforestation earlier this year.
Jennifer Kalt, director of the nonprofit group Humboldt Baykeeper and a member of the Cal Poly Humboldt Sea Level Rise Institute, says that Humboldt Bay is “taking back what we have been borrowing.” This area of the Pacific Ocean is expected to rise 1 foot by 2030, threatening neighborhoods, wastewater treatment plants, an historic highway, and a nuclear waste storage facility. Solutions, both long- and short-term are underway, but the small coastal towns of Arcata and Eureka lack the funding necessary for major action against climate change.
The island of Maui has lost 13 miles of shoreline over the last 30 years due to sea level rise and coastal erosion. The recent collapse at the iconic Ka'anapali Beach in West Maui has residents worried for future generations. San José State Geologist Dr. Kimberly Blisniuk warns that sea level rise threatens coastal communities everywhere, and that our only option is to move buildings back from the shoreline.
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