Santa Cruz Is Sinking Into The Pacific – Famed California Beach Town At Risk From Climate Change·
On a recent overcast October afternoon, yet another section of West Cliff Drive, the premier seafront street in Santa Cruz, California, was roped off as workers toiled to prevent it from crumbling into the Pacific Ocean.
The erosion gnawing away at this prized road, and the famed surfing beaches it overlooks, is emblematic of the relentless threat that climate change poses to California’s coastline. As the sea level rises and storms of growing strength smash into the coast, the golden sands and beach properties that have come to define the state are at risk.
“I think with every coastal road in California, you’re going have to think about relocating it,” said Gary Griggs, an earth sciences professor at the University of California, Santa Cruz.
West Cliff Drive, which sits on an elevated bluff, hugs the coast near Santa Cruz’s 111-year-old boardwalk en route to a nature reserve thick with eucalyptus. The street’s beach houses and towering villas are regularly valued beyond $2m, with some vacant plots of land fetching $1m.
Photo: Parker Amstutz/Unsplash
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