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Exploring how nature-based solutions might be added to sea-level rise adaptation strategies in the Bay Area.

Climate Adaptation & Resilience (San Francisco Bay, CA, USA)

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Project summary:

To explore how nature-based solutions might be added to sea-level rise adaptation strategies in the Bay Area, the Natural Capital Project focused our work at two different scales — regional and local. At the regional scale, we worked primarily with the Bay Area Conservation and Development Commission (BCDC) on their regional vulnerability assessment called Adapting to Rising Tides (or ART-Bay Area). Specifically, we mapped and modeled some of the benefits that natural areas throughout the nine-county region provide to people and explored how the provision of those services is vulnerable to sea-level rise. Also at the regional scale, we examined how grey infrastructure (such as seawalls) can exacerbate flooding in both neighboring regions and in remote parts of the bay's shoreline. 

We highlighted the need for regional coordination to minimize flooding and associated damages throughout the region through strategic placement of grey infrastructure and the use of nature-based adaptation strategies. Finally, we explored the impacts of different development and management strategies on urban flooding and highlighted urban greening (i.e. the reduction of pervious surfaces) as a key strategy.

At a more local scale, we partnered with San Mateo County's Office of Sustainability to co-create "guiding principles" for sea-level rise adaptation, summarized exposure of different regions of the county to sea-level rise, outlined nature-based adaptation strategies that are feasible along different stretches of the shoreline, worked with stakeholders to co-create alternative adaptation strategies, and compared multiple benefits that would flow to people from each of those scenarios. We created and distributed fact-sheets to help inform adaptation strategies throughout the County.

Partners: Stanford University,  The Nature Conservancy.  Collaborators:  Bay Area Regional Council (BARC), Bay Area Conservation and Development Commission (BCDC), San Mateo County, the San Francisco Estuary Institute, UC Berkeley. Funding: The Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation

We used the Urban Stormwater Retention InVEST model, the Recreation InVEST model and the Blue Carbon model.

Explore San Mateo County’s webpage on the project.

Read BCDC’s report, which the Natural Capital Project helped develop.

Use The Nature Conservancy’s GreenPrint tool, which incorporates some of NatCap’s results.

Project Category: Sustainable, Livable Cities 
Project Status: Completed 
Research Area: Sustainable, Livable Cities

Longitude: -122.442 
Latitude: 37.7699

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