Central Coast Highway 1 Climate Resiliency Study

The Highway 1 corridor near Elkhorn Slough presents significant challenges to the future of transportation in the Monterey Bay region under conditions of climate change and sea level rise that must be addressed. This project will provide a comprehensive assessment of the threats and options available to respond to those threats including the transportation, environmental and economic dimensions. It will develop a risk assessment process grounded in formal analysis and conducted through a stakeholder engagement process. The end result will be a considerably more detailed understanding of the risks and options for adaptation in this critical stretch of Highway 1, as well as an adaptation management strategy to ensure updated scientific information is integrated into the project planning process.

The eight-mile stretch of Highway 1 near Elkhorn Slough is already constrained and will be increasingly impacted by coastal storm flooding and sea level rise. Driven by a need to sustain this critical transportation corridor and to protect the iconic coastal habitat in the face of the unique challenges posed by climate change, a diverse partnership has formed in the Monterey Bay area to join together to find innovative ways to address this complex transportation adaptation problem by exploring creative transportation solutions and the use of natural infrastructure approaches to promote transportation, habitat and economic resilience for the region.

This study will evaluate and identify the transportation needs, including the ultimate corridor concept in the Central Coast Highway 1 corridor near Elkhorn Slough area while protecting and integrating the environmental needs of this unique corridor. There is currently a deficiency in this critical corridor between the adjoining freeway segments to the north and south; existing demand greatly exceeds the limited capacity and numerous intersections and conflict points, causing long delays. Highway and railroad infrastructure are prone to flooding and vulnerable to sea level rise, and are adjacent to valuable wetland habitats of an estuary of noted regional and national significance. Much of these valued habitats are also vulnerable to sea level rise. Here we have an opportunity to increase the resilience of transportation infrastructure and habitat to sea level rise and climate change.

AMBAG will work with a team from Environmental Science Associates (ESA), The Nature Conservancy and the Center for the Blue Economy on the development of nature based adaptation strategies to preserve Highway 1 in preparation for forecasted increases in flood risk associates with climate change and, in particular, sea level rise.

Sub-recipients and Consultants

The Nature Conservancy:

• Link to The Nature Conservancy: https://www.nature.org/en-us/

The Center for the Blue Economy:

• Link to The Center for the Blue Economy: https://www.middlebury.edu/institute/academics/centers-initiatives/cente...

Environmental Science Associates (ESA):

• Link to ESA: http://www.esassoc.com

CalTrans Adaptation Planning Grant Program

On April 28, 2017 Governor Edmund G. Brown Jr. signed into law Senate Bill 1 (SB 1) - The Road Repair and Accountability Act of 2017, a transportation funding bill that provides a reliable source of funds to maintain and integrate the State’s multimodal transportation system. Per Section 16321 of the bill, $20 million in climate change adaptation planning grants has been allocated to local and regional agencies for adaptation planning. Seven million dollars were allocated for the Fiscal Year (FY) 2017-18 of which, AMBAG was one of 21 grant award winners.

Climate change adaptation aims to anticipate and prepare for climate change impacts to reduce the damage from climate change and extreme weather events. Adaptation is distinct from, but complements, climate change mitigation, which aims to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. This funding is intended to advance adaptation planning on California’s transportation infrastructure, including but not limited to roads, railways, bikeways, trails, bridges, ports, and airports. Eligible projects must have a transportation nexus per Article XIX Sections 2 and 3 of the California Constitution. Applicants who have adaptation planning efforts underway as well as those who have not yet started adaptation work are encouraged to apply.

Links to Caltrans Adaptation Planning Grant Program:

• Grants Website: http://www.dot.ca.gov/hq/tpp/grants.html

• FY 17/18 Award List http://www.dot.ca.gov/hq/tpp/grant_files/FY_17-18/sb1/FY17-18SB1Adaptati...

Meetings and Materials