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Nearly Half Of California Coast Is Vulnerable To Erosion, Report Finds

SAN DIEGO (KPIX 5) -- A new report from UC San Diego highlights three locations around the Bay Area that have seen major cliff erosion: Daly City, Point Reyes and Martins Beach.

Sitting atop a towering and crumbling sea cliff in Daly City, the Korean Central Presbyterian Church highlights the beauty and vulnerability of California's coastline.

"Even though it's beautiful, safety comes first for me," said homeowner Joann Babcock. "People come first - not just the view. I think they need to be more careful about where we build. Safety is the most important thing."

Babcock has reason to be concerned. She lives across the street from the church, which has already lost its lower parking lot.

The new study from UC San Diego that found nearly half -- 44 percent -- of California's coast is vulnerable to erosion.

The erosion is only expected to be made worse with global warming and rising sea levels.

City of Santa Cruz spokesperson Tiffany Wise-West said, "It's time to continue to reduce emissions so potentially we can slow climate change, but also to become aware of what the impacts are in the community."

Santa Cruz is already using the results of its pioneering study looking at the likely effects of rising sea levels over the next century to determine which vulnerable properties can be saved and which ones may have to sacrificed.

"They should start being careful about building homes -- or building anything -- too close to a bluff," Babcock said.

It's the difficult decision that countless communities are facing where a fragile coastline and tough choices collide.

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