The State of California anticipates that relative sea level rise projections stemming from greenhouse gas emissions and related climate change pose significant economic, environmental and social risks to communities along the San Francisco Bay Shoreline, including the City of Palo Alto. Research shows that these projections may worsen if greenhouse gas emission trajectories continue unabated. Greenhouse gases and thermal expansion are the primary cause of Antarctic and Greenland ice melt which in turn are the primary source of sea level rise globally and in San Francisco Bay. San Francisco Bay sea level rise projections range between 1-3’ in 2050, and 3.4’ to more than 10’ in 2100.
To prepare for rising tides in the years ahead, the City Council adopted a Sea Level Rise Adaptation Policy in March 2019 which bridges the high-altitude general policy statements in various City plans (such as the Comprehensive Plan and sea level rise components of the Sustainability and Climate Action Plan) to an eventual nuts-and-bolt Sea Level Rise Adaptation Plan and timeline which staff aims to complete in 2023. Project milestones are listed below.
Sea Level Rise Plan Development Timeline and Milestones
January 13, 2022 webinar Wildfires and Sea Level Rise City of Palo Alto Sustainability Ad Hoc Committee Meeting (Sea Level Rise starts at 1:22:51).
September 9, 2020 Zoom Webinar on City of Palo Alto Sea Level Rise Projects and Planning Efforts
For more information on the Sustainability and Climate Action Plan webinar series, visit our Community Engagement webpage.
City of Palo Alto Sea Level Rise Adaptation Policy
Staff Report for March 18 City Council Meeting (background and proposed policy adoption)
February 27 Meeting Presentation
Study Session on Sea Level Rise (May 31, 2016)
Sustainability and Climate Action Plan
City of Palo Alto Sustainability and Climate Action Plan.
State of California Ocean Protection Council Sea Level Rise Guidance
USGS predicts impacts of Sea level Rise greater than anticipated
San Francisco Estuary Institute Adaptation Atlas
Adapting to Rising tides (interactive maps for local sea level rise)
Planning for Rising Waters: Sea Level, Groundwater and the Bay Edge (video) U.C. Berkeley’s Dr. Kristina Hill discusses the impacts of sea level rise on groundwater and the impacts to communities.
Naturalist Talk: The Dynamic Nature of the Salt Marsh Webinar
Naturalist Talk: King Tides and Our Changing Shorelines Webinar
South San Francisco Bay Shoreline Phase II Feasibility Study (Valley Water project). This project is a partnership with the California State Coastal Conservancy, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE), and regional stakeholders to provide tidal flood protection, restore and enhance tidal marsh and related habitats, and provide recreational and public access opportunities. For more information contact Roxanne Grillo at firstname.lastname@example.org, (408) 630-2925 or use the Access Valley Water customer request system.
Julie Weiss, Policy and Public Education Manager for City of Palo Alto Public Works–Watershed Protection
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Last updated on July 20, 2022