The original Sea Level Rise Policy Guidance document was unanimously adopted for use by the Coastal Commission on Wednesday, August 12, 2015. It provides an overview of the best available science on sea level rise for California and recommended methodology for addressing sea level rise in Coastal Commission planning and regulatory actions. It is intended to serve as a multi-purpose resource for a variety of audiences and includes a high level of detail on many subjects. Since the document is not specific to a particular geographic location or development intensity, readers should view the content as a menu of options to use only if relevant, rather than a checklist of required actions.

On Wednesday, November 7, 2018, the Coastal Commission unanimously adopted a Science Update to the Sea Level Rise Policy Guidance. The science-focused changes reflect recent scientific studies and statewide guidance that update our understanding of best available science on sea level rise projections relevant to California. Other sections of the Guidance remain unchanged.

Please note that the 2018 CCC SLR Policy Guidance is currently in the process of being updated, with a public review draft anticipated in August 2024. Updates will address three main topic areas: 1) evolving best available science, consistent with the OPC California Sea Level Rise Guidance update (2024) that is also currently in progress; 2) integration of environmental justice principles and planning considerations related to sea level rise; and 3) guidelines related to SB 272 (Laird, 2023), which requires local governments to incorporate sea level rise plans as part of new or updated LCPs. This website will be updated as more information and a draft document becomes available. Information will also be shared via the Sea Level Rise mailing list linked below.

Changes in the Science Update

November 2018 Adopted Science Update

The Ocean Protection Council recently released two reports that update our understanding of sea level rise science and best practices for planning for and addressing anticipated impacts. The first of these reports, Rising Seas in California: An Update on Sea-Level Rise Science, synthesizes recent evolving research on sea level rise science, and forms the foundation for the second report, the State of California Sea-Level Rise Guidance: 2018 Update. The 2018 OPC State SLR Guidance provides higher level recommendations for how to plan for and address sea level rise impacts, notably including a set of projections recommended for use in planning, permitting, investment, and other decisions.

A set of focused updates for the Coastal Commission SLR Policy Guidance was developed to reflect the updated best available science. These updates include the following.

  • References to best available science throughout the document, including SLR projection tables, which formerly referenced the 2012 NRC Report, have been updated to reference the 2018 OPC SLR Guidance.
  • Sections of the Guidance that provided extensive details about the NRC report and/or how to use the information provided within the NRC report have been replaced with summaries of the Rising Seas science report (2017) and the 2018 OPC SLR Guidance (Chapters 3, 5, and 6, and Appendices A, B, and G).
  • Some updates have been made to tables of resources meant to assist interested parties in addressing sea level rise (e.g., SLR mapping and modeling tools, grant funding sources, and agency and other stakeholder guidance). However, these tables have not been exhaustively updated, and additional resources may be available.

Contact Us

Commission staff will be organizing a number of training events related to the adopted Sea Level Rise Policy Guidance in the future. Details will be posted on the Sea Level Rise page under the News, Important Dates, & Upcoming Events section as they become available. Announcements will also be shared via the Sea Level Rise Mailing List, which can be subscribed to by completing the form below.

To request specific training or a copy of previous drafts of the Guidance document, please email Commission staff at Subscribe to the SLR Mailing List below.