Environmental Stewardship

Board of Supervisors

Climate Change and Sea Level Rise: Our Local Responsibility

We all want a cleaner, healthier future. It’s up to us to both mitigate climate change and to adapt to those effects we won’t be able to forestall. In Southern Marin, we already see the effects of rising seas with increasing incidents of King Tides flooding our roads and highways.

Preparing for the effects of climate change and resulting sea level rise will be one of the most difficult and important issues for our local communities. The time to make progress on this issue has arrived.

I am convening a Southern Marin study group focused on the Tamalpais Valley and Marin City areas to map out expected sea level rise for this area, to build awareness of the issue, to identify strategies to mitigate impacts of sea level rise and protect vulnerable lowlands, and to devise adaptation strategies.

Contact my office if you would like to be placed on an e-mail list to receive notices for public meetings we expect to convene in 2013. All are welcome. We need everyone to help frame up a local sea level rise plan.

Fostering Community Conversation About Marin’s Future

On Wednesday, September 19th, a number of community groups including the Marin Environmental Housing Collaborative (MEHC), Sustainable Marin, Sustainable San Rafael, Marin Conservation League, the League of Women Voters, and Marin TV/Channel 26 hosted a panel of speakers who engaged with the audience in a wide ranging dialogue about Marin’s future.

With a full house of 170 residents in attendance, the panelists offered thoughtful insights on climate change, environmental values and constraints, our housing needs, and creative liveable communities. I then moderated a robust discussion among the panel and audience. It was an outstanding dialogue with ideas shared, explained, questioned and considered by all attending.

Bob Brown, former Planning Director for the City of San Rafael, spoke about reducing carbon pollution and curbing climate change through good land use and transportation patterns.

The Rev. Betty Pagett, California native and former Education and Advocacy Director for Ecumenical Association for Housing addressed our need to deliver housing choices that meet equity, economic and environmental needs.

Longtime environmentalist and wetlands ecologist, Nona Dennis cautioned that our way ahead must respect environmental constraints while conserving and restoring natural resources.

Finally, John King, the San Francisco Chronicle’s Urban Design critic, described creating vital, livable communities that express architectural richness of place.

Missed it? Fortunately, with our local public station covering the event, you may watch and experience this engaging evening.

Here is the link for the online video of Choosing the Future We Want: http://marintv.mirocommunity.org/video/11324/choosing-the-future-we-want

This works too (shorter): http://marintv.mirocommunity.org/video/11324

Check online with Marin TV for future cablecast dates/times as well.

Parks, Open Space and Farmland Preservation

Preserving Marin County’s parks, open space and farmlands is a top priority for my office. Current funding for Marin County Parks (nearly $12 million in fiscal year 2012-13) is insufficient to maintain the facilities and programs our residents expect. The staff of Marin County Parks has been working over the past several months to develop an expenditure plan based on a proposed temporary one-quarter cent sales tax increase to fund our local parks. The plan has been developed in a public process that included a poll of more than 600 likely Marin County voters, three Parks and Open Space Commission public meetings, written public comments, and three Board of Supervisor meetings. The Board of Supervisors voted to put the sales tax measure on the November 2012 ballot.

You can read the full staff report on this issue by visiting: http://marin.granicus.com/MetaViewer.php?meta_id=643015&view=&showpdf=1

You can read the full ordinance imposing the sales tax, and the proposed expenditure plan by visiting: http://marin.granicus.com/MetaViewer.php?meta_id=643222&view=&showpdf=1

Learn more about Measure A, the ballot measure on the November 6 ballot, by clicking here: http://www.marincountyparks.org/depts/pk/about-us/main/ballotmeasure

Agriculture’s Contribution to Carbon Sequestration in the Marin Carbon Project

The Marin Carbon Project aims to use agricultural soils as a carbon sink to lower atmospheric carbon by converting atmospheric carbon dioxide into organic soil matter. Along the way, it is advancing scientific knowledge and economic initiatives and incentives to support and protect agricultural and range lands.

According to the Marin Carbon Project: "Reducing greenhouse gas emissions is not enough to reverse global warming and the impacts of climate change; protection also includes reducing the concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. That’s why carbon sequestration and the Marin Carbon Project are vital to Marin’s local plan."

The Marin Carbon project is a collaboration between UC Berkeley, UC Davis, UC Cooperative Extension, Marin Organic, Marin Agricultural Land Trust, Marin Resource Conservation District, the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service, and Nicasio Native Grass Ranch. It is also supported by the Marin County Agricultural Commissioner and the Environmental Defense Fund.

Read here for more detail on this exciting local agricultural initiative. http://www.marincarbonproject.org/

Safe Routes to School Program Helps Reduce Greenhouse Gases

The Transportation Authority of Marin (TAM) includes representatives from each city in Marin as well as our County Supervisors. One of TAM’s key projects is Safe Routes to School. Marin County was one of four communities nationwide to receive federal funding to reduce car trips and create healthier communities by promoting biking, walking and rolling to school and work.

The Southern Marin Task Force for Safe Routes To School, chaired by Mill Valley Councilmember Stephanie Moulton-Peters, is particularly active. Parent volunteers from each of our local public schools work tirelessly with the school staff and the families and school children to promote safe biking and walking.

TAM’s Safe Route to School Coordinator, David Parisi, reports that the Safe Routes to School program has reduced CO2 emissions by 561 metric tons from participating schools in 2011/2012.

Check out these links for details:
http://www.tam.ca.gov/index.aspx?page=94br> www.epa.gov/cleanenergy/energy-resources/calculator.html

Electric Vehicle Charging Stations in Marin

We recently cut ribbons on three new Electric Vehicle charging stations at the Marin Civic Center, Exhibit Hall and Health & Wellness Campus. For information on future sites planned throughout Marin, visit: http://www.tam.ca.gov/index.aspx?page=251