Rincon Leads Coastal Walkabout Demonstration for Sea Level Rise in Carlsbad


In partnership with American Planning Association’s (APA) San Diego Chapter, Bill Figge, San Diego APA Program Co-Chair, Rincon’s Kimiko Lizardi, Principal and San Diego APA Program Co-Chair, and Frederico Scarelli, PhD, Climate & Adaptation Resilience Specialist, recently developed and led an interactive walkabout for APA members to learn about local efforts and project implementation to address negative impacts due to sea level rise at Ponto State Beach in Carlsbad. 

The focus of the walkabout was for participants to see up-close Phase 1 of the Coastal Adaption Ponto Dune Restoration Project funded by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service which aims to 1) restore coastal dune habitat at Ponto State Beach using nature-based solutions and low-cost methods; 2) enhance public access; 3) reduce sand transport towards Highway 101; and 4) provide protection for the beach and Coast Highway 101 from Sea Level Rise in the short term.

    Event photos

    The project has been systematically monitored and surveyed using drones, which allows the team to obtain high-resolution Digital Elevation Models and aerial images that have been used to quantify sand accumulation and track vegetation growth.

    Notably, participants learned about the many successes this project has seen so far as it was one of the few coastal projects that survived California’s recent heavy winter storms; and within six months of implementation, Ponto Dunes saw a significant accumulation of sand and new vegetation increasing the site resilience against sea level rise. Additionally, the project’s unique implementation methods and stakeholder collaboration have allowed Ponto State Beach to remain comfortably open to beachgoers during the project, which complies with California resource agencies goals to preserve and enhance beach access– an important facet of the project that is inspiring other coastal projects in Oceanside to follow suit.

    A special shout out to Bill and Kimiko, who spearheaded the development of this walkabout for participants to interactively learn and discuss this effort, rather than another panel discussion presentation! And a special thanks to all of the guides for sharing their knowledge and experience.   

    The walkabout was guided by: 

    • Frederico Scarelli, PhD, Climate Adaptation & Resilience Specialist, Rincon Consultants, Inc. 
    • Darren Smith, State Parks Senior Environmental Scientist and manager of natural resources for the state parks department’s San Diego region 
    • Carolyn Lieberman, Coastal Program Coordinator, U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service’s Carlsbad Fish and Wildlife Office. 
    • Laura Engeman, Coastal Climate Resilience Specialist at California Sea Grant and Program Director for the Center for Climate Change Impacts and Adaptation at Scripps Institution of Oceanography.