Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Planning for sea-level rise in San Francisco Bay raises eyebrows

Jeff Quackenbush in the North Bay Business Journal (California): A regional agency tasked with managing environmental restoration and the built environment along the San Francisco Bay shoreline plans to adopt an updated sea-level-rise forecast this fall, but some agriculture and construction groups are concerned those predictions jeopardize major tourism and commerce thoroughfares as well as their properties.

With relatively little public notice, four Bay Area regional bureaucracies, the Association of Bay Area Governments, the Metropolitan Transportation Commission, the Bay Area Air Quality Management District and the Bay Conservation and Development Commission have come together under the Orwellian sounding OneBayArea.org. [read more]

The San Francisco Bay Conservation and Development Commission, a state body made up of representatives from county governments ringing the Bay, in early 2009 floated an amendment to the San Francisco Bay Plan that would update two-decade-old sea-level predictions to account for estimates of ice cap and glacier melting blamed on human activities.

The Bay is forecast to rise 11 to 18 inches by 2050 and 23 to 55 inches by 2100, according to commission staff. In early May, a group called San Francisco Planning and Urban Research Association, or SPUR, released recommendations for government agencies to deal with what the group calls unavoidable sea-level rise from climate change. Based on new BCDC sea-level rise forecast maps, the group estimated 99 miles of major Bay Area roads and highways could be flooded from a 16-inch rise, and 186 miles from a 55-inch rise. Affected could be interstates 680 and 880 plus highways 12, 37 and 101. SPUR said Highway 37 should be rerouted via Highway 121.

… Some winery owners in the Carneros region straddling Highway 121 between Sonoma and Napa counties also are concerned. Ceja Vineyards President Amelia Ceja said that many of the visitors to the property historically have come north through from San Francisco via highways 101, 37 and 121. Napa Valley Vintners is preparing a comment on the amendment, according to Rex Stults, industry relations director….

San Francisco Bay salt ponds, shot by Grombo, Wikimedia Commons, under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license

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