(San Francisco Bay, CA) – Sea levels are expected to rise in San Francisco Bay by at least three feet over the next 80 years. Many people around the Bay Area, including those working for local governments responsible for shoreline adaptation, don’t know what that will mean.
ShoreView, a new way of viewing the Bay using Google StreetView technology, provides a glimpse into how sea level rise will affect the Bay’s shoreline and Bay Area communities.
The ShoreView website, launched by San Francisco Baykeeper, was developed after collecting imagery of the Bay shoreline using a locally manufactured autonomous boat. In partnership with Google, through its Impact Challenge Program, Baykeeper collected imagery from over 200 miles of Bay shoreline from our patrol boat, using a remote-controlled, mounted Google Trekker camera.
The website highlights imagery from key shoreline areas threatened by sea level rise in the Bay and provides in-depth analysis of many of the impacts expected from sea level rise. It’s designed to help residents, urban planners, developers, and other stakeholders assess vulnerabilities and plan for the future.
As climate change causes sea levels to rise and storms to become more severe, the Bay ecosystem faces new, complex hazards. Essential infrastructure like roads, sewer lines, and housing, as well as thousands of toxic sites along the shoreline, are at risk of being damaged or flooded. Low-lying wetland habitat and recreational areas along the shore will also become increasingly vulnerable.
Most critically, the website outlines adaptation steps needed to prevent widespread urban and ecological damage. Baykeeper’s recommendations to prepare the Bay for sea level rise include:
- unified regional planning to prepare Bay shorelines for sea level rise;
- wiser use of Bay sediment to prevent flooding and protect habitat;
- broader adoption of green infrastructure measures, such as natural flood plains;
- more flexible zoning regulations to allow for creative adaptation to rising tides; and
- expedited cleanup and containment of toxic sites along the Bay shoreline.
“Rather than the piecemeal or head-in-the-sand approaches we’ve witnessed so far, ShoreView is designed to empower residents and decision-makers to envision the best ways to prepare for sea level rise in the Bay,” said Sejal Choksi-Chugh, Baykeeper Executive Director. “We’ve pinpointed proactive steps that are necessary to help protect the Bay and Bay Area communities.”
Baykeeper has defended San Francisco Bay from the worst threats and held polluters accountable since 1989. For more information, visit www.baykeeper.org. ShoreView is funded in part by a grant from the Google Bay Area Impact Challenge program to support innovative projects to improve the Bay Area.