Adaptation Planning

*Adaptation Land Use Planning Document Now Available*

As part of the BayWAVE program, this document explores appropriate adaptation land use planning and guidance for Marin County local governments.
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Highway 1 Corridor in Tam Valley (Caltrans SB1 grant)

Date: January 2020

Marin County Department of Public Works has been awarded a grant from the SB1 funds through Caltrans to study adaptation to climate change addressing sea level rise and current flooding at Highway 1 in Southern Marin. The focus of the project will be increasing resilience for the area in conjunction with other complementary efforts addressing sea level rise, tidal flooding, and habitat restoration at Bothin Marsh.

The project objectives are:

  • Utilize a track record of successful partnerships and public engagement strategies to advance short-, medium-, and long-term sea level rise planning
  • Fill critical gaps in the data and knowledge to provide the resources to develop conceptual ideas
  • Develop an engagement effort to bring the community into planning for their future. Identify the interests of each stakeholder group and their feedback in the process. Engage the public to incorporate their input within the overall project area should additional funding be identified. Support state and local goals to protect and enhance multi-modal transportation and key infrastructure assets
  • Support state and local mandates for adaptation and resilience including reduction of GHG emissions, updates to general plans, and regional planning for our transportation network in the face of climate change and sea level rise
  • Develop a plan of action that captures the conceptual approaches and identifies next steps to move ideas forward

2020 scope of work updates:

We have hired Anchor QEA to model lower Coyote Creek and Bothin Marsh. The goal is to assess a more historical alignment that could also reduce flooding from tributaries that connect water from the lower creek to uphill areas. The modeling parallels efforts from One Tam (Marin County Parks and Parks Conservancy) on work to develop conceptual designs for wetland adaptation and restoration.

This spring, staff will work with the public to better communicate the risks and gather input on types of adaptation options that are feasible for the project reach. We will use the Game of Floods to work with stakeholders and the public to understand the risks. Field work is under way to supplement new topography data to produce an accurate rendering of the conditions.

The grant began in October 2018 and ends date February 2021.


Image of Map

*Map of sea level rise adaptation efforts in Marin County


Sea Level Rise Adaptation Framework

Webinar Release a Success!

Hosted by Point Blue Conservation Science, the San Francisco Estuary Institute, and the County of Marin. Listen to the recording. 

Planning with Nature

Point Blue Conservation Science and the San Francisco Estuary Institute, in partnership with the County of Marin, developed the Sea Level Rise Adaptation Framework. It is a user guide to help planners and others to include nature-based strategies to address sea level rise hazards. The framework helps planners determine which nature-based measures are suitable given specific site conditions, and offers an approach for evaluating which combination of measures are the most appropriate to achieve desired outcomes. Nature-based solutions to sea-level rise include measures like restoring coarse beaches where appropriate to reduce wave energy, conserving and restoring wetlands that can act as buffers, and preparing “migration spaces” that marshes can transition into as sea levels rise.

The resources in the user guide are intended to help coastal decision-makers (1) efficiently identify a range of natural and nature-based, landscape-scale adaptation strategies that can address coastal climate change vulnerabilities, and (2) evaluate how well these adaptation strategies achieve coastal community and stakeholder objectives, and prioritize their implementation. We demonstrate the application of the framework by illustrating the decision-making process with examples from two regions of the Marin County shoreline.

The framework, case studies, and resources presented in our user guide are a step toward addressing the challenges in transitioning from community vulnerability assessment to action. The adaptation phase of Marin County’s Bay Waterfront Adaptation and Vulnerability Evaluation (BayWAVE) project was used as a test case with the intent that the framework developed be applicable around the entire San Francisco Estuary and beyond.

Download our 2-pager

Download the Framework document

Explore Resources

  • County of Marin BayWAVE: sea level rise planning on Marin’s bayside
  • San Francisco Estuary Institute and San Francisco Bay Area Planning and Urban Research Association’s San Francisco Bay Shoreline Adaptation Atlas: for more on Operational Landscape Units and suitability of a variety of adaptation measures (green/grey, structural and non-structural) for San Francisco Bay.



Chris Choo,
Watershed Planner
County of Marin