Example 2 

Describe the site location:

This site is a large area of low-lying connected baylands and salt ponds that serves as important nesting grounds for endangered species and supports diverse wildlife communities, clean water, flood protection and recreational open space.  Large creeks prone to major flooding pass through this site, making it an important point of connection between the watershed and the Bay. This site is regularly inundated by shallow Bay water and buffers commercial buildings and critical infrastructure (e.g., wastewater treatment facilities, pumping stations, major highways) from the Bay. In addition, this site is adjacent to an important economic hub for the Bay Area, the region and the nation as a whole.

 

What would make this site a good fit for the design challenge?

Sea level rise currently threatens the ecological integrity of this area, and since this site serves as the only buffer between an important economic hub and the Bay, there will likely be large economic implications in addition to ecological ramifications if nothing is done. The average suspended sediment concentration in this part of the Bay is high and the average wave energy is low, creating an optimal environment to implement green infrastructure approaches to keep pace with sea level rise. In addition, opportunity exists at this site to improve flood control measures along the major creeks that drain to this site which could allow increased sediment delivery to the baylands to foster higher accretion rates. Pockets of open space exists behind some wetland habitats, making it easier to acquire and design transition zone space to allow wetland migration with sea level rise. Because of this site’s location at the edge of the Bay, large extent, and connection with major creeks, opportunity exists for this site to become a critical habitat linkage between the Bay and the upper watersheds.

 

What are the potential vulnerabilities that threaten the site?

The potential vulnerabilities that threaten this site include flooding, seismic activity, sea level rise, storm surge and critical infrastructure.

 

What’s threatened at this site (i.e. homes, highways, public transportation, wildlife habitat, recreational areas)?

Wildlife habitats, corporate headquarters and critical infrastructure such as highways and wastewater treatment plants are the main elements threatened at this site.

 

What local partners would need to be involved for it to be successful; what has their involvement been to date?

Necessary local partners include California Department of Fish and Wildlife, CalTrans, Coastal Conservancy, BCDC, the local city planning commission, county representatives and local citizens. Most of these partners have been involved in piecemeal efforts to restore portions of the baylands on this site, but few efforts have focused on sea level rise adaptation measures for this large of an area.

 

What local plans exist or are underway in this area?

The only relevant projects known are the Adapting to Rising Tides project by the Bay Conservation and Development Commission (BCDC) and various salt pond restoration efforts.