SAN FRANCISCO—Climate change has caused rising tides to pose a threat for the San Francisco Bay Area. As a result, a new report shows that in order to reduce flooding, 54,000 acres of the Bay Area’s wetlands will need restoration within the next 15 years.
Local politicians and environmental scientists are working together to create a platform advocating a tax measure that will fund the restoration effort.
According to biologist Letitia Grenier, if nothing is done, “bigger waves will come in with high tides and storms, and cause more flooding.” Grenier says, the wetlands will be gone, and our wildlife will be threatened.
According to a study done by the National Academy of Sciences, the 10 hottest years on record have occurred within the last 20 years. As a result, the Pacific Ocean off the coast of California will rise about one foot in the next 20 years, and 2 feet by 2050.
Scientists are saying cities like San Francisco, Oakland, and Foster City, will need protective seawall barriers in order to prevent flooding. As more time passes, severe sea level rises will make wetlands restoration more difficult and costly.
Nearly 15 years ago, a report was written by the Baylands Ecosystem Habitat Goals, which detailed the necessity for 100,000 acres of wetlands to be maintained in order to restore the natural process of the bay. Since the report in 1999, Save the Bay has been advocating “Greening the Bay,” an initiative “to achieve this vision of 100,000 acres of healthy, thriving wetlands around the Bay.” Save the Bay says, “the lack of steady, reliable funding to implement wetland restoration opportunities already in hand is the greatest obstacle to success.”
Since the report was published, $1.5 billion has been spent to restore 26,000 acres, and 28,000 acres has been purchased for restoration. Local environmental activists are hoping the remaining half of restoration efforts will be supported in upcoming ballots and tax initiatives.