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

For Immediate Release
June 26, 2015

County Secures Grants to Address Sea-Level Rise

Community Development Agency, Open Space District projects to begin

San Rafael, CA – The State Coastal Conservancy has awarded the County of Marin $415,000 to support a major sea-level rise vulnerability assessment for Marin’s San Francisco Bay shoreline and conceptual designs on wetland restoration at Bolinas Lagoon.

A pedestrian walks on a flooded paved pathway near the bay.The bay shoreline project, called Marin Bay Waterfront Adaptation Vulnerability Evaluation (aka Marin BayWAVE) will be fueled by a $250,000 grant approved by the conservancy on June 25. Marin BayWAVE will engage staff in the County’s Community Development Agency (CDA), other municipal jurisdictions, elected officials and the public as the groups collaborate on developing action plans to address sea-level rise. The funding will help CDA map areas that are expected to experience temporary flooding as well as permanent inundation in the future.

“Marin is a perfect case study for grappling with sea-level rise and related climate change issues,” said County Planning Manager Jack Liebster, who leads CDA’s program on sea-level rise. “The potential risks to our homes, developed areas and diverse biological resources posed by rising seas and intensified storms present challenges that will need to be faced all around the bay and along the California coast. By starting now, we will be better able to understanding our options and to prepare in a well-thought out and less costly way.”

In addition, the Marin County Open Space District (MCOSD) will receive a $165,000 grant to develop conceptual designs for restoration of 25-35 acres of wetlands at the north end of Bolinas Lagoon on Marin’s Pacific coast to restore wetland, riparian, creek, and other resource values, and to improve the lagoon’s resiliency to rapid rise of sea level.

MCOSD staff is working with the Gulf of Farallones National Marine Sanctuary, Golden Gate National Recreation Area and Point Reyes National Seashore and the community through the Bolinas Lagoon Advisory Council to plan a wetland restoration and sea-level rise adaptation project. That portion of the lagoon is threatened by rising seas and adjacent roads are frequently inundated by flooding. The goal will be to enhance the creeks, floodplain, and wetlands to rehabilitate key habitat and adapt to future sea-level rise. Planners will develop metrics to measure and evaluate the project’s success and will complete a report on opportunities and constraints.

Marin CDA and MCOSD were among 11 agencies and nonprofits receiving Coastal Conservancy grants to address climate change. The conservancy authorized the disbursement of $1,974,579 for “climate ready” projects that sequester greenhouse gases or address the effects of climate change on coastal resources. Along with $325,000 going to the Marin Resource Conservation District for a study on greenhouse gas emission reduction on North Bay farms, Marin as a whole secured more than one-third of the conservancy’s statewide “climate ready” grant funding.

Marin County is often described as a leader in planning for a future of equity and environmental and economic sustainability. The threats and impacts of climate change do not stop at city, county or agency boundaries. The County’s various sea-level rise projects all point to the need for a coordinated, countywide effort to evaluate where more detailed assessments of vulnerability and potential responses are needed.


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