The Baylands and Climate Change: What We Can DoScience Update 2015


The Facebook campus sits next to the Menlo Park Baylands amid the rich colors of the drying mud flats in Ravenswood Slough in this aerial view taken Wednesday afternoon, Sept. 2, 2015, in Menlo Park, Calif. (Karl Mondon/Bay Area News Group) ( Karl Mondon )

San Francisco Bay: Race to build wetlands is needed to stave off sea-level rise, scientists say

By Paul Rogers Posted:   10/18/2015 06:00:00 PM PDT

San Francisco Bay is in a race against time, with billions of dollars of highways, airports, homes and office buildings at risk from rising seas, surging tides and extreme storms driven by climate change. And to knock down the waves and reduce flooding, 54,000 acres of wetlands — an area twice the size of the city of San Francisco — need to be restored around the bay in the next 15 years. That’s the conclusion of a new report from more than 100 Bay Area scientists and 17 government agencies that may help fuel a regional tax measure aimed at addressing the looming crisis. The other alternative, the report found, is to ring large sections of the bay with seawalls and levees in the coming decades. But that would destroy many of the marshes and probably cost taxpayers more in the long run. “If we don’t change our approach, we’ll see the marshes and mud flats start to drown,” said Letitia Grenier, a biologist with the San Francisco Estuary Institute, a scientific research organization in Richmond. “They’ll start to erode,” said Grenier, one of the report’s main authors. “We’ll have bigger waves coming in on high tides and storms — and more flooding. We’ll lose our wildlife. And eventually the wetlands will be gone. You’ll see levees and concrete seawalls. The water in many places will be higher than the land, like it is in New Orleans.” San Francisco Bay already has risen 8 inches since 1900, according to the tidal gauge at Fort Point, underneath the Golden Gate Bridge….


Report: Bay Area Infrastructure, Communities at Risk Without Wetlands Restoration

Wed, Oct 21, 2015 — 9:30 AM
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Hundreds of acres of salt evaporation ponds, in the background, are being restored to tidal wetlands, as seen in the foreground of this scene from Eden Landing in Hayward, California.

A new report reveals that 42,000 acres of wetlands in the Bay Area must be restored over the next 15 years to mitigate the effects of climate change. Rising sea levels, swelling tides and strong storms threaten billions of dollars worth of businesses, homes and infrastructure. The report, from 100-plus Bay Area scientists and 17 government agencies, warns that wetlands either need to be repaired or buffered with seawalls and levees.

Host: Michael Krasny


  • Letitia Grenier, co-director & senior scientist of the Resilient Landscapes Program, San Francisco Estuary Institute
  • Sam Schuchat, executive officer, The California State Coastal Conservancy

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