With both ocean and bay shorelines, Marin County will get hit hard by sea-level rise and climate change. County agencies are now looking ahead to plan for a flood-prone future. Central to this effort is the Marin Bay Waterfront Adaptation and Vulnerability Evaluation assessment, which predicts sea-level rise impacts under various scenarios for 27 towns and other jurisdictions along the bay shoreline through 2100. Published in June 2017, the BayWAVE report includes flood maps, estimates of acres and structures likely to be inundated within each jurisdiction, and lists of key at-risk infrastructure and properties.

Housing on the San Rafael Canal.
Photo: Douglas Mundo

Elements of Marin’s shoreline communities could be nearly unrecognizable by the middle of the century due to the rise in Bay water levels, according to the assessment. Current models suggest a 10-inch rise is highly likely by 2050, if not years sooner. That’s enough to impact 5,000 acres of land, 1,300 property parcels, and 700 existing buildings along Marin’s bayshore alone.

A similar assessment is available for Marin’s coastal areas in the form of the Marin Ocean Coast Sea Level Rise Vulnerability Assessment,
or C-SMART