• Bay Area Adopts Draft Sea-Level Platform

  • For the past two years, BIA|Bay Area has participated in a Leadership Advisory Group (LAG) established by the Bay Conservation and Development Commission (BCDC) to advise BCDC on developing a regional strategy to adapt to sea-level rise. 
    In June 2021, the LAG voted to release for additional public review and outreach a draft platform establishing a road map for how the region should develop such a strategy.  Because residential development projects in and near the shoreline invariably must contend with public concern about sea level rise issues during the entitlement process, it is important that there be a clear reference point for projects to be able to show that the adaptation issues have been considered responsibly and in accord with prevailing best practices.
    BIA has actively participated in the LAG with the goal of working with regional and local governmental agencies and stakeholders to develop principles and an outline for what a regional adaptation strategy will look like.  BIA has worked to ensure that any regional strategy that is developed complements rather than overrides local planning for much needed housing in the region.  BIA has also been committed to ensuring that adaptation policies that are regulatory in nature be grounded in feasibility and balance with other important priorities.
    The draft platform describes its fundamental purpose as laying the groundwork for the creation of a long-term regional vision rooted in communities:
    "Engage communities and stakeholders in envisioning a resilient future shoreline, relying on grassroots input from start to finish. The vision must be built on a deep understanding of local needs to reflect their unique social, cultural, economic, and physical needs and be integrated with regional environmental, housing, transportation, economic and other priorities The vision should use Bay Adapt’s guiding principles to explore what adaptation looks like at ground level, and around the Bay, beginning in the most at-risk frontline communities

    Develop the vision using a transparent and iterative process The resulting guidance document should include:

    • Regional and sub-regional objectives, tied to measurable metrics (such as safety, equity, a functioning and thriving ecosystem, shoreline access, and economic growth)

    • An assessment of the suitability of locations around the Bay for different project types and timelines

    • Guidelines, evaluation methodologies, and technical modeling capacities for evaluating local plans and projects for funding and other incentives 

    Importantly for BIA members, among the guiding principles are explicit references to housing needs and the importance of flexibility:
    • Prioritize adaptation actions that maximize regional risk reduction to flooding and sea level rise and minimize trade-offs within the context of other regional priorities such as housing, economy, social equity, habitat protection, and other climate risks Sea level rise and flooding is just one of several regionally interconnected crises facing the Bay Area.
    • Ensure that local and regional investment strategies to address flooding and sea level rise are grounded in local needs, conditions, and plans, and are phased to allow for uncertainty, flexibility, and iteration The Bay is a collection of distinct places with unique physical and social conditions and there is no “one size fits all” solution – or timeline - to address climate-related impacts.

    Click HERE to read the draft platform.