California Ports hear sea level defense could cost SF Bay $110 bn

California ports heard a report that the cost of defending the San Francisco Bay from sea level rise could cost $110 billion while the City of San Francisco may need an additional $13 billion to defend itself.

Even more ominously Brian Garcia, Warning Coordination Meteorologist, National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) noted that ice sheet losses in Antarctica and Greenland will add 13-14 feet to global sea level rise and is a certainty to occur. The only question is how soon.

The reports were presented at the Storms, Flooding & Sea Level Defense 2023 conference, a co-production of the Propeller Club of Northern California (PCNC) and the Society of American Military Engineers (SAME).

Rachael Hartofelis, Project Manager, Metropolitan Transportation Commission/ABAG and Dana Brechwald, Assistant Planning Director for Climate Adaptation at the Bay Conservation and Development Commission (BCDC) discussed findings of the report: “Sea Level Rise Adaptation for S.F. Bay Area Could Cost $110 Billion.”

Warner Chabot, Executive Director, San Francisco Estuary Institute, urged developing a strategy to pay for the $110 billion. He also urged more nature-based shore protections, that should include nearshore reefs, beaches, tidal marshes, green stormwater infrastructure and more.

Chabot urged that regulatory upgrades include zoning:

  • Setbacks, buffers
  • Building code changes
  • Rebuilding restrictions
  • Conservation easements
  • Tax incentives
  • Geologic Hazard Districts
  • Buyouts

Brad Benson, Waterfront Resilience Program Director, Port of San Francisco confirmed a San Francisco Chronicle report that sea level defense could cost the City and County of San Francisco an additional $13 billion. Benson added: “One of the big challenges with building coastal flood defenses is how you’re going to manage storm water … when we have a hundred-year storm event in San Francisco, the streets convey storm water to low points on the shoreline. When you raise the shoreline, you’re trapping storm water. And so, we’re working with […]

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