Climate and Adaptation

Brian Crawford, Community Development Agency
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During Earth Week of 2002, the Board of Supervisors adopted a resolution that recognizes both the gravity of global warming and the responsibility for local action. In the County's first Greenhouse Gas Reduction Plan, adopted in 2006, the County set greenhouse gas reductions target of 15% below 1990 levels by 2020 for community and municipal emissions. By 2012, the County had met its community emissions target by reducing emissions to 15% below 1990 levels - eight years ahead of schedule. In November 2014, the Board of Supervisors adopted an updated community emissions target of reducing emissions to 30% below 1990 levels by 2020 when it adopted the Climate Action Plan Update 2015.  

While we are working hard to mitigate the effects of climate change through our emissions reductions programs, the County is also investigating the potential impacts of climate change and possible adaptation plans for addressing them. According to the California Adaptation Planning Guide, "current and projected climate changes include increased temperatures, sea level rise (SLR), altered precipitation patterns and more frequent storm events. These changes have the potential for a wide variety of impacts such as altered agricultural productivity, wildfire risk, water supply, public health, public safety, ecosystem function and economic continuity."

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Planning Staff:

Dana Armanino, Planner (415) 473-3292

Updates 

The Marin County Board of Supervisors adopted the Final Climate Action Plan (Update 2015) and updated emissions reduction target of 30% below 1990 levels by 2020 on November 10, 2015.  

The Final Climate Action Plan (Update 2015) released 7/31/15 (due to the large file size of the document, it has been broken up into chapters):

Addendum to the 2007 Marin Countywide Plan Final Environmental Impact Report (CWP FEIR) 

Thank you to everyone that attended the public workshops and/or submitted comments on the Public Draft CAP released in August 2014. All of the comments were reviewed and considered as the Final CAP was drafted. The County has also drafted a Master Responses to Key Public Comments to specifically address several comments that were common among multiple submittals.

Background Reports and Documents

 

Local Jurisdictions' Climate Action Planning Efforts

Marin Climate and Energy Partnership

Marin Climate and Energy Partnership 

The Marin Climate & Energy Partnership (MCEP) is made up of representatives from all eleven Marin cities/towns, the County, the Transportation Authority of Marin (TAM), the Marin Municipal Water District (MMWD) and the Marin General Services Authority (MGSA). MCEP's mission is to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emission levels to the targets of Marin County and local municipalities, consistent with the standards set by AB32.

 

 

Climate Action Plans

As of 2014, almost all of Marin's cities and towns have either drafted a Climate Action Plan (CAP) or have incorporated Climate Action planning into their General Plans. You can view each city's CAP and get tips on what you can do to help with the emissions reduction efforts at the MCEP website.

In addition, some cities have specific Climate Change and Sustainability Pages:

Sustainability Tracker

The interactive Sustainability Tracker, launched in January 2015 by MCEP, illustrates progress being made by local jurisdictions, residents and businesses in Marin County toward reducing emissions and increasing sustainable practices. The Tracker includes twelve metrics gauging a community's level of consumption and implementation of sustainability measures related to energy, waste, transportation, water and greenhouse gas reductions. The interactive map allows a user to see how a city or town is doing in comparison to other local jurisdictions over time and provides additional information on how each member of the community can take further action to help reduce emissions and meet the State's greenhouse gas reduction targets.

2010 Greenhouse Gas Inventories

In 2012, the MCEP developed GHG inventories for many of the cities and towns in Marin County for the year 2010. Marin countywide emissions fell 5% between 2005 (the base year for most cities/towns) and 2010. MCEP Climate Inventories

Local Adaptation Projects and Studies

County Vulnerability and Adaptation Planning Efforts

The County currently has a number of sea level rise projects in the works including the Collaboration: Sea-level Marin Adaptation Response Team (C-SMART) project, which will run from March 2014 through April 2016. C-SMART will evaluate the vulnerabilities to sea level rise along Marin County's western coast, define adaptation strategies that will increase that resiliency of the coastal resources there, and share lessons learned with others. Funding is provided by the Ocean Protection Council and the California Coastal Commission. Projects have also been launched along the Bay as well. Learn more at: http://www.marincounty.org/depts/cd/divisions/planning/sea-level-rise/home

City of San Rafael "Climate Adaptation - Sea Level Rise" White Paper

In January 2014, the City of San Rafael's Community Development Director Paul Jensen prepared a report on potential sea level rise in San Rafael. The paper a) identifies the key agencies that have been involved in studying and planning for sea level rise; b) presents the most current information and studies on sea level rise, particularly in the Bay Area; c) identifies potential funding sources to pursue for next steps; d) summarizes the studies underway in Marin and the North Bay; e) describes techniques and tools that have been developed for adaptation; f) identifies the San Rafael shoreline and levees areas to study, as well as potential opportunity areas for studying adaptation; and g) presents suggestions for next steps in moving forward with preparing a vulnerability assessment and long-term planning for sea-level rise.

Southern Marin Pilot Project

The project, sponsored by Supervisor Sears with support from Marin County Public Works, the Community Development Agency and the San Francisco Bay Conservation and Development Commission, addresses how the climate change impacts of sea level rise will affect the future of Southern Marin communities, infrastructure, ecosystems and economy, and what strategies the County can pursue to reduce and manage these risks. The project area encompasses the Richardson Bay shoreline, from the Sewerage Agency of Southern Marin treatment plant in Mill Valley to Marin City. One product of this project is a local sea-level rise GIS application that includes NOAA sea-level rise and local infrastructure data.

Marin County Watershed Programs

The Marin County Watershed Program, which is sponsored by the Marin County Department of Public Works provides a framework to integrate flood protection and environmental restoration with public and private partners to protect and enhance Marin's watersheds. The program has several on-going studies in many of Marin's watersheds that include analyses of potential sea level rise impacts.

Adapting to Sea Level Rise Along the North Bay Shoreline

The North Bay Watershed Association (NBWA) funded this study by PRBO Conservation on the shoreline of eastern Marin north to the Petaluma River. The study addressed the ecosystem value of tidal marshes by estimating the amount by which they attenuate incoming waves; analyzed tidal marshes and other sites of interest in the North Bay region by calculating projected marsh composition, wave attenuation, and tidal marsh bird abundance; and produced more detailed vulnerability assessments (including estimates of adaptive capacity) for three case study areas selected as being of high interest to workshop participants: Inner Richardson Bay, Gallinas Creek and Novato Creek. Link to the Full Report.

Innovative Wetland Adaptation Techniques in Lower Corte Madera Creek Watershed

The Innovative Wetland Techniques in Lower Corte Madera Creek Watershed project was one of the first Bay Area projects to examine how to reduce the vulnerability of tidal wetlands to sea level rise. Project partners include the San Francisco Bay Conservation and Development Commission, Marin County Flood Control District, USGS, UNESCO and private consultants.

Adapting to Rising Tides (East Bay - Bay Bridge to San Mateo Bridge)

The San Francisco Bay Conservation and Development Commission and the NOAA Coastal Services Center lead this major sub-regional undertaking. Adapting to Rising Tides - the ART Project -   is a collaborative planning effort that is working with Bay Area communities to increase their preparedness and resilience to sea level rise and storm events while protecting critical ecosystem and community services.

The Horizontal Levee

The Bay Institute's groundbreaking study about the economic value of tidal marshes, demonstrates that nature performs critical functions for society. During the era of sea level rise, the marshlands of San Francisco Bay have become a critical adaptation tool. The Horizontal Levee study shows that restoration of San Francisco Bay's tidal marshes is one of the best and most inexpensive ways to protect valuable shoreline development from sea level rise during the next several decades. By using tidal marshes in combination with earthen levees, construction and maintenance costs can be reduced by almost 50%.

Additional Links and Resources

  • Cal-Adapt - Great website that tracks California's climate change research and has excellent interactive mapping tools.
  • California Climate Change Portal -This is the state's general website on climate change including information on current research and resources for individuals, businesses and local governments wanting to take action.
  • Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change - Organization established by the United Nations Environment Programme & World Meteorological Organization in 1988 to provide the world with a clear scientific view on the current state of knowledge in climate change and its potential environmental and socio-economic impacts.
  • Sonoma County's Climate Protection Program -A collaboration of public and private partners in Sonoma County working to reach the County's greenhouse reduction targets. 
  • Bay Area Air Quality Management District Climate Program - BAAQMD's page on climate protection includes information on their programs and information on their work related to AB32.
  • 350BayArea.org - a grassroots movement striving for deep greenhouse gas emissions reductions. The site includes information on how residents can take action and includes an up to date calendar on climate events throughout the Bay Area.