Climate Change Adaptation Committee

Climate Change Adaptation Committee

Climate Change Adaptation

Adapting to Sea Level Rise:  The Bay Area Starts New Projects

The Bay Area will start seeing communities build structures to help protect them from rising ocean levels.

  • Concerned that rising waves will flood runways and buildings in the coming years, officials at San Francisco International Airport are moving ahead with a $587 million plan to build a major new sea wall around the entire airport.  The sea wall should guard against 3 feet of sea level rise, plus another 2 feet for big waves during storms. The project will be funded with bonds and paid off through higher fees on airlines that fly in and out of SFO.
  • Oakland International Airport is set to begin construction on a $46 million project to raise a 4-mile earthen dike by 2 feet to guard runways against rising bay water. 
  • San Francisco is beginning to work on a 30 year $5 billion project to rebuild the 3-mile-long sea wall along the city's Embarcadero which was built in the 1800"s and is crumbing. 
  • Faced with significant increases in flood insurance costs from existing sea levels, Foster City is set to increase the height of its berms to protect the city from existing sea levels and have the ability to increase protection for future sea levels.

According to ride gauges, San Francisco Bay has risen 8 inches since 1900. Scientists project it will rise another 1 foot by 2015 and another 3 feet or more by 2100.

The San Mateo County Leagues have established climate change adaptation related to sea level rise as one of its priorities. San Mateo County is the most vulnerable to sea level rise in the state of California. Citizens will need to confront tough land use policy as well as funding decisions to reduce the vulnerability risk. 

**** Information in this article was derived from a story in the October 20, 2019 San Jose Mercury News, entitled" SFO to build sea wall around airport" by Paul Rogers. 

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