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.
The City of Palo Alto’s Sea Level Rise Vulnerability Assessment documents potential sea level rise hazards to City and community assets from increments of sea level rise between 12 to 84 inches. This is representative of what may occur through the year 2100 based on the estimates from the State of California Ocean Protection Council Sea Level Rise Guidance (2018). Palo Alto’s Assessment will inform the development of a Sea Level Rise Adaptation Plan which will address potential hazards caused by sea level rise and related rising shallow groundwater levels. The goals of the Plan are to preserve and expand habitat, and protect and adapt the City and community. The Adaptation Plan will serve as the Sea Level Rise chapter of the City of Palo Alto Sustainability and Climate Action Plan. Community meetings to discuss the Plan will be held throughout 2023.
Review Palo Alto’s Sea Level Rise Vulnerability Assessment(PDF, 32MB)
Sea Level Rise Plan Development Timeline and Milestones
Utilities Advisory Commission Presentation, Palo Alto Sea Level Rise Vulnerability Assessment and Adaptation Plan, August 3, 2022 (begins at 27:30)
City of Palo Alto Sustainability and Climate Action Plan
City of Palo Alto Comprehensive Plan
City of Palo Alto Sea Level Rise Adaptation Policy
State of California Ocean Protection Council Sea Level Rise Guidance (2018)
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 (Grassroots Ecology, November 2020)
Naturalist Talk: King Tides and Our Changing Shorelines Webinar (Grassroots Ecology, December 2020)
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 email@example.com, (408) 630-2925 or use the Access Valley Water customer request system.
Julie Weiss, Watershed Protection Program Manager
Last updated on October 06, 2022