Bay Area Council Helps Plan Sea Level Rise Defense

How will the Bay Area pay for defending its shoreline from rising sea levels? How can we speed projects to ensure action isn’t bogged down by decades of process? How can we make sure under-resourced communities aren’t left behind? These were among the critical questions the Bay Area Council helped answer as part of BayAdapt, a regional initiative launched by the Bay Conservation and Development Commission to develop basic principles for how to defend the region from sea level rise. BayAdapt recently finalized a Joint Platform which lays out shared goals and principles for action, including speeding regulatory approval processes for adaptation projects, aligning local and regional adaptation plans, and improving access to science and technical expertise.

The Council’s participation ensured the Joint Platform acknowledged the region’s planned jobs and housing growth and the need to speed projects and reduce costs. BayAdapt is currently open for public comment; please use this link to provide feedback. The Council is also helping the region adapt to rising sea levels by directly funding research into how rising seas will interact with groundwater basins to possibly cause inland flooding. This research, conducted by the Aquatic Science Center, received funding from the Bay Area Council Foundation’s California Resilience Challenge, which is currently accepting proposals through September 13 for its 2021 grant program.

Addressing sea level rise and its potential impacts on the Bay Area will require taking many different approaches. San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo recently proposed a study of building some form of barrier at the Golden Gate to blunt the impact of rising seas. Such barriers have been constructed in other parts of the world to reduce the impact of extreme storms, tidal surges and rising seas. The Council supports such a study. Jeff Heller, CEO of Council member Heller Manus, has also been closely involved in leading the discussions about how to proceed with a study. To learn more about the Bay Area Council’s climate resilience work, including supporting the California Resilience Challenge, please contact Senior Vice President of Public Policy Adrian Covert.

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