We’ve been supporting the San Francisco Bay Conservation and Development Commission’s (BCDC) Adapting to Rising Tides (ART) program to enhance climate resilience of the Bay Area since 2011 through contracts totaling US$1 million with the Metropolitan Transportation Commission (MTC).
Most recently, we assisted the BCDC in creating a regional vulnerability assessment framework to facilitate decision making around regional prioritization for adaptation strategy implementation. The framework is primarily intended to be used by state and regional funding agencies to prioritize regional funding for sea level rise adaptation strategies.
Our team led a charette process with a series of regional stakeholders to ideate the content and structure of the framework. Based on the results, we developed an Excel-based tool that enables users to explore the vulnerability of assets in different regions of the Bay Area under different scenarios such as sea level rise and storm surge. The tool summarizes the outputs of a series of GIS models that incorporate over 50 datasets to rate assets based on their vulnerability and the consequence of Sea Level Rise (SLR) inundation to the Bay Area’s residents, economy, and environment. Assets considered include transit lines, highways, dense urban areas, natural areas providing ecosystem services, and disadvantaged communities. Through easy to visualize graphic outputs, users can see how the vulnerability of different areas around the Bay changes over time and how priorities need to shift geographically.
Over one year, a series of regional working groups were held to get user input and make sure the output met the needs of the multiple jurisdictions of those using the framework.
We also piloted adaptation planning guidance material on an area prioritized through the framework for adaptation and developed medium and long-term adaptation strategies using an adaptation pathways approach. We worked with project stakeholders to use the framework to select particularly vulnerable regions of the Bay Area to pilot BCDC’s sea level rise adaptation planning guidance. Once we’d selected the site, we tested the guidance and developed a series of phased adaptation strategy alternatives. Rather than selecting a single alternative based on uncertain future conditions, we developed an adaptive implementation diagram indicating the points at which strategic decisions should be made.
This vital work will protect the coastline and key community transportation assets across Bay area for future generations.
Metropolitan Transportation Commission, Bay Conservation and Development Commission
- Sea level rise mapping
- Region wide GIS based vulnerability assessment
- Stakeholder facilitation
- Excel tool development
- Adaptation pathways and adaptation strategy development