Thankfully, Marin is doing many things, enough that regional planners such as Joe LaClair, the chief planning officer for the San Francisco Bay Conservation and Development Commission (BCDC), see it as a pioneer in preparation for climate change.
"Marin County led the way with its general plan, and San Rafael adopted a climate action plan," says LaClair
, the BCDC planner, agrees, but also points out that current levees won't be much match for seas at the end of this century.
"Fifty-five inches tends to overwhelm any of those shoreline protection devices," he
"When we look at neighborhoods, job centers and transportation infrastructure, the biggest effects will be having to spend more money on adaptation," says LaClair of BCDC.
"It will cost money; it will cost a lot of money," says LaClair
"Humans by nature have a difficult time taking action to prevent future bad things from happening," says LaClair
"We're good at buying insurance, but investing in public works or private works to protect against future negative events is not something we do commonly."
Sea-level rise, he
says, "has to become a priority for people in order to elevate the level of concern to the point where [they] are willing to commit funding to it.
In the Bay Area, LaClair
thinks that will happen as the earliest significant impacts of climate change appear.
"What will happen first is increased storminess," he
Much of the land in projected flood zones in Marin and elsewhere in the region, says LaClair
, "was diked or filled just high enough to get it out of the bay.
If you look at a map of the bay in 1849 and a map of the bay in 2100 as it would be under sea-level rise, they look pretty much the same.
It's not the future we're predicting; it's the future we're trying to prevent."
This entry was posted in On the Job and tagged BCDC
, Bothin Marsh, climate change, Greenbrae Boardwalk, Joe LaClair
, Kate Sears, Marin, Marin Magazine
, Pacific Institute, Sausalito
, sea level rise, Tam Valley.