If you want to see an example of how climate change is impacting San Diego County, ask someone who lives along the coast in Imperial Beach.
Seacoast Street, just steps from the shore, is one of the most flood-prone streets in IB. If a big storm hits, it could go underwater.
"The sea level is definitely rising,” said Steve Prothero who owns a condo on Seacoast. “It's an issue to be concerned with."
According to a city assessment, the flooding is only going to get worse. In a few decades, sea-level rise and coastal flooding will impact 30 to 40 percent of the city.
Everyone agrees something needs to be done but exactly what still needs to be figured out.
That’s why the city held an open meeting Monday to discuss plans for “managed retreat” project, a possible solution to the problem that’s been met with skepticism from some in town.
“Potentially you can mitigate it with seawalls but if it continues to rise to eight feet, IB is in a lot of trouble and managed retreat means there will be a lot of houses under water and abandoned,” Prothero said.
IB Mayor Serge Dedina says the concept of managed retreat, physically moving property and infrastructure inland, worries people who are uninformed about what it actually entails.
"I think unfortunately in the connotation for some of the public, they've confused that with impacts to private property,” Dedina said.
Dedina says the concept of managed retreat only applies to public infrastructure. The city would move sewer lines and some public schools inland, for example, not private property.
"In terms of coastal flooding and sea level rise, we have decades and decades and decades and decades to address this, so we're getting a jump start on that process,” he said.
Dedina says the city is expecting little to no state or federal assistance with a future project.