C-SMART: Sea Level Rise and Marin's Ocean Coast

Brian Crawford, Community Development Agency
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Climate experts estimate that by 2100, sea level could rise by around 70 inches and that the frequency, intensity and flood-effects of storms will increase. People in coastal areas need to understand how sea level rise may affect their homes, schools, roads, public facilities, natural resources and habitat areas, and how to prepare for them. Marin County's "Collaboration: Sea-level Marin Adaptation Response Team" (C-SMART) is an intergovernmental/public-private partnership that is working to develop this understanding for Marin’s ocean coast, so that together, we can prepare to meet the challenge of sea level rise. Please use this page to learn about and contribute to this effort.

King Tide Marsh C-SMART Workshop Stinson Beach


About The Project

"Collaboration: Sea-level Marin Adaptation Response Team" (C-SMART) is an effort led by the Community Development Agency to understand the potential impacts of sea level rise and work together with communities to prepare for a resilient future. The project’s Stakeholder Advisory Committee is made up of representatives from each of the West Marin communities - Muir Beach, Stinson Beach, Bolinas, Point Reyes Station, Inverness, Marshall and Dillon Beach. The Technical Advisory Committee is made up of resource managers, utility providers, conservation scientists and other local and regional experts. Members of the public joined the conversation through a series of community workshops, providing valuable input to the study process. Findings from the C-SMART project inform the Local Coastal Program.

•    Program Description (video and slide show)
•    C-SMART Work Program
•    Study Area Map

News and Events

C-SMART Stakeholder on KWMR

C-SMART stakeholder advisory committee member Jeff Loomans gave a radio interview about the Local Coastal Program and the importance of the community rallying to support it at the April 19th BOS hearing. Listen to Jeff’s interview, beginning halfway through the broadcast, at KWMR.org.

County Supervisors complete approval of Local Coastal Program Amendments

After seven years of community input, amendments to the Local Coastal Program (LCPA) received the OK from the Marin County Board of Supervisors on April 19 and are one step away from approval by the California Coastal Commission. Policies around Environmental Hazards drew heavily from the intensive effort invested in the “Collaboration: Sea Level Marin Adaptation Response Team” (C-SMART) program. A key approach includes requiring homeowners’ to elevate or otherwise retrofit homes to withstand flooding to meet the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA) requirement for development in flood-risk areas and to provide for protection from three feet of sea level rise (SLR), a median estimate for SLR over the next 50 years. Additionally, new development must disclose and assume personal responsibility for longer-term risks over at least 100 years. The Plan also commits the County to undertake long-term research and monitoring, and to update policies over time to reflect the best available science.

County staff will continue to work closely with Coastal Commission staff and members of the public leading up to a Coastal Commission hearing on the LCP later this year. All the documents approved by the Board are located here.  For updates, subscribe to receive emailed updates or check www.MarinLCP.org.

Hundreds of Thousands in Bay Area Will be Displaced by Sea Level Rise

A new study predicts a grim future for people living in low-lying coastal areas of the Bay Area and across the nation as sea levels rise. By the end of this century, researchers predict 13.1 million people could be displaced by rising waters.  The study was done at the University of Georgia and published online in the journal Nature Climate Change.  It is the first to couple the risk of sea level rise (SLR) with projected population growth, and warns that preventative strategies that don’t take both into account, will fail.

Vulnerability Assessment

The C-SMART project team gathered information from technical advisors, utility managers, and coastal residents about potential sea level rise impacts. The resulting Marin Ocean Coast Vulnerability Assessment summarizes the expected timing and extent of impacts, laying a foundation of knowledge to guide adaptation planning. CDA staff presented the assessment to the Planning Commission on November 9  and to the Board of Supervisors on November 17. Thank you to everyone who submitted public comments . We are currently processing them and making improvements to the Vulnerability Assessment.
Marin Ocean Coast Sea Level Rise Vulnerability Assessment Public Review Draft (October 2015):
•    Draft Executive Summary and Introduction
•    Draft Asset Profiles
•    Draft Community Profiles
•    Draft Conclusion and Appendices
•    Draft Vulnerability Assessment Maps

Adaptation Planning

Building on information gathered through the Vulnerability Assessment and public outreach efforts, the project team is currently drafting an Adaptation Report and Local Coastal Program Amendments.
Game of Floods was developed as a public education activity on sea level rise adaptation, including traditional flood protection measures such as levees and seawalls; green infrastructure approaches including horizontal levees, wetland restoration, and beach nourishment; and policy/zoning changes. C-SMART community workshop participants played the Game of Floods in spring 2015.
Over 200 people participated in the West Marin Sea Level Rise Adaptation Poll between November 2015 and January 2016, helping the project team to understand which adaptation strategies might receive public support in the future. View the Poll Results . Below is more information about adaptation strategies considered through the C-SMART.
Presentation on Adaptation Strategies
Community Maps Strategy Posters
East Shore Strategy Key
Marshall Beach Nourishment
Inverness Coastal Armoring
Point Reyes
Green Infrastructure
Stinson Beach
Land Use Policies
Bolinas FEMA IBC V Zone Construction Requirements
FEMA_IRC V Zone Construction Requirements

Get Involved