Local efforts won’t magically add up to an adequate regional response to sea level rise, which threatens people, property and the local environment. To fill this gap, the SF Bay Conservation and Development Commission (BCDC), in concert with others, is developing a platform of shared actions to get clarity and consistency on the top priorities. Over 30 regional and local agencies, and non-governmental organizations including an environmental justice caucus, are all weighing in. "Planning at a regional scale is extremely challenging, because adapting to sea level rise lays bare tensions between competing priorities, neighboring cities, and visions for the future”, says BCDC Planning Director Jessica Fain. “No single agency is responsible for solving our future flooding problem so a joint action platform is our best bet.” Actions being considered include creating frameworks for more consistency and transparency across agencies, empowering communities to lead in planning for equitable adaptation, new easy-access science and regulatory hubs, progress tracking and metrics, alignment to reduce duplication, and more. The joint Bay Adapt platform is now being reviewed by several focus groups, with more opportunities for public feedback on the horizon. For a quick glance around the Bay of adaptation progress in 13 counties see this June 2020 issue of Estuary News. ARO
Photo: King tide 2020 in Redwood City.
Small landowners the North Bay will be eligible for incentives to invest in forest health and resilience projects under two new programs being developed by local Resource Conservation Districts and the Rebuild North Bay Foundation (RNBF). The North Bay Forest Improvement Program is providing $1.5 million in Cal Fire Proposition 68 matching grants to landowners in Lake, Mendocino, Napa and Sonoma for activities including forest management planning, site preparation, tree planting and protection, forest thinning and pruning, and supervision by Registered Professional Foresters. Over the next three years, the program aims to support 40 forest health and resilience projects in the participating counties, with at least 15 percent of the program dollars benefiting disadvantaged communities.
A final assessment of the multiple hazards confronting San Francisco’s waterfront, including quakes and storm surge, and how this urban shoreline might become more resilient, is being presented to the community and the Port Commission this winter. Feedback welcome.
(Image: Flood infrastructure types courtesy PortofSF)

Local high school students explored San Mateo County’s Community Climate Action Plan in October 2020, at a workshop with Youth Climate Ambassadors and Heirs to Our Oceans. Participants considered renewable energy, water conservation, public transportation, recycling and composting, and resilient agriculture.

November found Hayward seeking public feedback on a draft adaptation plan for the sea level rise expected to swamp the regional shoreline by 2-6 feet. The plan aims to integrate protection of an array of water treatment facilities, flood-control pump stations, closed landfills, energy plants, industry, and a small airport, as well as preserve natural habitat and relocate the Bay Trail and other amenities. 

Racial equity and climate-resilient infrastructure are highlighted by the San Francisco Climate Resilience Coordination Team in post-COVID-19 economic recovery plans. The paper describes the challenges faced and their recommended solutions.
New research indicates that domoic acid, a toxin present in harmful algal blooms, makes southern sea otters nearly twice as likely to develop heart disease. Animals with diets high in crab and shellfish were most at risk, as were older otters. The discovery is bad news for sea otter recovery, as the climate crisis warms ocean waters and makes algal blooms more frequent. (Photo Rick Lewis)
The Sentinel-6 Michael Freilich satellite, launched by SpaceX on November 21st, will be monitoring sea level rise from low earth orbit. Similar to the way an oceangoing vessel would use sonar to gauge the ocean depth, Sentinel-6 bounces radio pulses off of the ocean’s surface to measure sea level.
Ten future reconfigurations of a Marin City lagoon, park and highway site subject to flooding came from UC Berkeley students last fall. The students from Dr. Kristina Hill’s class shared their plans with the community and entered a national competition. “Marin City residents want access to nature for their kids, protection from flooding and safe travel in and out of their community. Communities like Marin City should get resilience investments first, because they've been underserved historically,” said Hill. "They have the worst current flooding in Marin, even without sea level rise." The class is also coordinating with Kevin Conger at the landscape firm CMG, who worked with Hill to support East Oakland in the Resilient by Design Bay Area Challenge, to help local residents develop a community-driven vision for the park and lagoon that considers comprehensive stormwater and tidal flood planning.

Youth climate activist Isha Clarke wants us to think bigger than damage control for the environmental rollbacks, social inequities, and pandemic grief of the recent past. “These crises are a result of a corrupt foundation of slavery, capitalism, and patriarchy. At this moment we’re experiencing a crumbling of that foundation and an opportunity to build a new one,” says Clarke, who delivered the keynote speech alongside Atekpatzin Young at Mycelium Youth Network’s November Apocalyptic Resilience Conference. According to Clarke, this opportunity is precious, and a reason to imagine anew. “I want you to feel optimistic. We are not just doing damage control—we are doing regenerative, lasting work,” she says. She also hopes the climate justice coalition will expand, and more adults will join youth in the movement. “We need adults to recognize their responsibility for fighting this fight with us,” she says. AMYB (Ilustration Amy Tam)
Scholar Melinda Adams is reclaiming fire. “When you look at migration patterns of Indigenous peoples, we led with fire. It’s related to our subsistence diets, it’s what kept us healthy,” says Adams, a UC Davis scholar who identifies as Apache and researches “Indigenous Epist(e)cologies,” or the merge of ecological knowledge with Afro-Black Indigenous epistemologies. “What we’re now seeing is the effects of post gold rush fire regimes and fire management, which was to not burn,” she says, referring to the wildfires that razed the West Coast this year. Adams does field work to regenerate plants for basket weaving materials. When fire is applied to redbud, a plant that provides basketry materials, the redbud grows taller, doesn’t have as many breaks in its spindly branches, and gains brighter coloration compared with plants that do not experience fire. The field study class is open to the community at nas.ucdavis.edu AMYB
Scientist Julie Beagle tells "wicked scary" sea level rise stories on this Science-in-Short podcast. She breaks adaptation actions up into manageable units of landscape around San Francisco Bay, whether it’s a creek, cover, or canyon. She troubleshoots ways to use beaches, wetlands, and natural barriers to stop the rising Bay from creeping inland. Listen to the Podcast.
UC Berkeley Student Ally Daly is Meatless and Happy - Here's how she describes her transformation: About four years ago, I committed to a vegetarian diet. The choice to drastically reduce my carbon footprint seemed like a no-brainer, given that I already wasn’t a huge fan of most meat. I’ll admit at first it was pretty difficult to resist a nice cheeseburger, but after a month or so those cravings completely disappeared. Since then, in a quest to be even more environmentally friendly, I’ve made some easy switches with reducing my consumption of dairy products, like putting almond milk instead of half and half in my coffee and skipping the cheese in my eggs every now and then. I’ve also started to become much more conscious of where my food comes from. Daly's story of her individual act of resilience can be found with others on the fledgling California Climate Quilt. Find us on Instagram @dare25by2025. AD
Resilient meal. Chef & photo: Ally Daly
Climate resilience was a clear winner in the fall elections. Within days of taking office, President Joe Biden announced a suite of executive actions and policy proposals aimed at curbing greenhouse gasses and helping governments, communities and businesses adapt to climate change. The executive orders include the establishment of a White House Office of Domestic Climate Policy—led by the National Climate Advisor, a newly created Cabinet-level position—and a National Climate Task Force charged with enabling a whole-of-government approach to combating the climate crisis. In the Bay Area, Albany voters approved an increase in the city’s utility users’ tax on gas and electricity, and expanded it to apply to water use as well. The increase will add to what tax provides to the General Fund, with one-third of the total earmarked for implementation of the city’s Climate Action and Adaptation Plan. Richmond voters re-elected long-time Chevron critic Gayle McLaughlin to the City Council; she has called for decommissioning the oil giant’s waterfront refinery there. In Benicia, Steve Young, who has called for more regulation of Valero’s refinery, was elected mayor. CHT
Cloud show over inland California 2020.
Photo: Robin Meadows
Oak acorns. Photo: Robin Meadows
This pilot bi-monthly review covers planning, science, resources, and community voices, and is produced in collaboration with the Bay Area Regional Collaborative, Bay-Adapt, Bay Area Climate Action Network, Mycelium, San Francisco Estuary Partnership, and Acclimatewest. Views expressed are independent of all collaborators. If you would like to join our project or have ideas for improving it, please email us.

Publisher: Ariel Rubissow Okamoto. Managing Editor: Michael Adamson. Writers: Audrey Mei Yi Brown, Cariad Hayes Thronson, Allison Daly. Design: Afsoon Razavi
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