Your Toolbox for Understanding Marin County Risks & Options
Marin County, with both ocean and bay shorelines, will get hit hard by sea level rise and climate change. Locals are already well-acquainted with flooding creeks, landslides, and low spots on the highway that morph into lakes. Steps to prepare for the extremes ahead will sound familiar, but with a climate change twist. Marin County’s public agencies are taking the lead on preparing for a flood-prone future. These involve assessing vulnerabilities along both coasts, launching platforms for community input, and getting creative about flood control. The latest forecasts for Marin’s 85,840-acre bay shoreline suggests a 4.7- to 24-inch rise in sea level by 2050 could flood 5,000 acres (8,000 when combined with a storm surge), impact 200,000+ residents and commuting employees, and threaten 4,500 homes, businesses, and institutions on the Marin shore. A sampling of some resources are below.
Game of Floods challenges four to six participants to develop a vision for “Marin Island 2050,” a hypothetical landscape that highlights conditions that climate change will bring to Marin in coming years. Players wrestle with issues such as sea level rise and its increased storm impacts, which will cause the loss or deterioration of homes and businesses, community facilities and roads, agricultural lands and beaches, wetlands and lagoons.
Use smartphones and social media to document “king tides.” These highest of high tides today will be the average water levels of the future. Everyone is welcome to participate. Our shores are constantly being altered by human and natural processes; sea level rise will exacerbate these changes. King tides images record such changes to our coasts and shorelines and offer a glimpse of what low-lying spots may look like in the future .
Regional agencies charged with protecting us from rising sea levels have their eye on the San Rafael canal. This finger of deeper water pokes right into the heart of downtown San Rafael, transportation hubs, highway onramps, and higher density housing for renters, the elderly, and many non-English speakers. Several studies specific to the San Rafael Canal area’s vulnerabilities have already been published.
Zoom in for a closer look at how multiple hazards — earthquakes, liquefaction (when the earth rolls), and sea level rise — could affect housing, transporation and businesses in downtown San Rafael and its canal district. Check out these links.
Raising the Bar on Regional Resilience, BARC Draft 2017: Case Study: San Rafael Canal (see pp.47-58)