County of Marin - News Releases - Sea-Level Rise Grant

For Immediate Release
February 13, 2015

Sea-Level Rise Project for Teens Gets Go-Ahead

Coastal Commission grant to benefit Marin high school students

San Rafael, CA - Upwards of 200 teens in Marin County will get to participate in an eye-opening project on climate change now that the County’s Community Development Agency (CDA) has secured an educational grant.

Students at Tamalpais High sit around a table and look at a map showing future sea-leve rise patterns.On Wednesday, the California Coastal Commission (CCC) approved a Whale Tail grant worth $28,900 to fund the County’s collaborative Youth Exploring Sea-Level Rise Science project that’s planned to launch in April.

The grant, one of 22 approved out of 114 applications statewide, will allow local students to create and disseminate a curriculum on climate science, sea-level rise, mapping and hands-on data collection. The project will serve a model for Bay Area communities and all other areas addressing the concerns of sea-level rise.

Students at Redwood and Tamalpais high schools recently piloted the project with CDA staff. At Redwood, students photographed the effects of king tides not far from the Larkspur campus.

County planners, led by Planning Manager Jack Liebster, have worked to educate the public about the importance of king tides, the highest tides of the year that give a preview of possible average water levels in the future.

“It is particularly important for us to engage young people in this work,” Liebster said, “because they, their children and their children’s children unfortunately will inherit the growing problem of sea-level rise.” 

Youth Exploring Sea Level Rise Science is a partnership between local high schools, Marin County CDA, the California King Tides Project, Coravai LLC and Shore Up Marin. Under the plan, the King Tides Project would create a curriculum on climate science, sea-level rise, mapping and data collection. Student participants from ethnically and economically diverse high schools in low-lying areas would document where shorelines are inundated by king tides now, foretelling more frequent future flooding.

All data and observations would be collected and shared, used to verify projections from a coastal sea-level rise mapping tool and help planners visualize and communicate the risks of local flooding in the future. In a second phase, students would develop a toolkit to be shared and used by other schools so that more young people become real-life partners in helping their own communities adapt to sea-level rise.

Liebster was the founder of the CCC’s Coastal Cleanup Day and Adopt a Beach program and the concept designer of the original Whale Tail license plate that raises funds to protect and restore the priceless resources of California's coast and ocean.

The total project budget is $48,500. An estimated 150-200 students and about 25 researchers and planners will participate between April 2015 and June 2016.

To learn more about the County’s work on sea-level rise, check


Jack Liebster
Planning Manager
Community Development Agency

3501 Civic Center Drive
Suite 308
San Rafael, CA 94903
(415) 473-6278
Email: Jack Liebster
Community Development website