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As San Diego County spends tens of millions of taxpayer dollars to prevent coastal erosion, concerns have ramped up about how best to slow the potential loss of beaches, homes and highways.

Long before people built along the California coast, ocean waves slowly chewed away at shorelines. As sea levels rise with climate change, powerful storms such as those driven by this year’s El Niño weather system threaten to speed up this erosion.

While elected officials, scientists, environmentalists and property owners all agree that something needs to be done, they don’t always agree on what. Amid the friction, some cities are searching for new fixes that will be more effective, long-lasting and widely supported.

“I’ve come to realize that we have to be more flexible, smarter, innovative and honest about rising seas and coastal storms if we are going to adequately manage our coastline,” said Imperial Beach Mayor Serge Dedina.

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