Graduation Date

Spring 2024

Document Type



Master of Science degree with a major in Natural Resources: option Environmental Science and Management

Committee Chair Name

Dr. Laurie Richmond

Committee Chair Affiliation

HSU Faculty or Staff

Second Committee Member Name

Dr. Daniel Lipe

Second Committee Member Affiliation

HSU Faculty or Staff

Third Committee Member Name

Jennifer Marlow J.D.

Third Committee Member Affiliation

HSU Faculty or Staff


Equitable coastal management, Sea level rise, California coastal management, Equity

Subject Categories

Environmental Science and Management


Scholars along with national and state governments have increasingly made calls to incorporate an equity lens into climate adaptation processes and into sea-level rise planning specifically. However, the language used in these high-level policies remains vague. There remains a need to learn from practitioners on the ground about the challenges and opportunities for effectively incorporating an equity lens into sea-level rise adaptation and planning efforts. I conducted interviews with 17 individuals who are working within their agencies or organizations to advance equity across the California coast along with a review of 17 California coastal policy documents to gain insights into experiences and best practices for incorporating equity into sea-level rise planning. Practitioners identified several best practices including meaningful, consistent, and funded collaboration with communities; centering people – rather than assets or infrastructure – in SLR vulnerability assessments; and making strategic investments to build community capacity to engage in planning processes. They also highlighted several barriers to advancing equity including the absence of diversity in coastal professions and the lack of funding, training, and community capacity to support effective community engagement. I distilled the findings from this work into an accessible equity guide that coastal professionals can use to forward equity within their coastal planning efforts.

Citation Style




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