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Study: Rising sea level could cost California

September 13, 2011 12:00:00 AM PDT
California's stretches of pristine beaches and oceanfront real estate draw in tourists from all over the world and provide livelihoods for locals.

More than 80 percent of people in the state live in coastal communities.

But a new San Francisco State University study is putting a price tag on the predicted sea-level rise on the California coast over the next century.

It calculates the total economic impact of accelerated erosion, beach loss, tourism-spending losses and the impact of more severe coastal storms that cause flooding.

"Beach erosion translates into loss of tourist dollars," said Dr. Philip King, the study's author. "They're also going to have other issues, in terms of loss of infrastructure, in terms of loss of residences."

At Zuma Beach and Broad Beach in Malibu, a sea-level rise of 4.6 feet would cost $500 million, with a total projected cost of $629.5 million, according to the study.

Animation shows what neighboring Santa Monica and Marina del Rey would look like with just a 10- to 20-foot sea-level rise.

In Venice Beach, the study projects $51.6 million in flood damage; $439.6 million in tourism and tax revenue losses; and $38.6 million in recreation and habitat losses.

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