San Mateo County Times: More Bay, less Area Sea level rise will threaten residents but Bay Area has no comprehensive protection strategy


From Antioch to North Richmond to Redwood City, a slow rising sea level could endanger the properties of as many as 270,000 Bay Area residents and cause some $56.5 billion in damage by the end of the century unless measures are taken to protect them, experts say.

But is anyone doing anything about it?

Cities typically aren't prepared to tackle the issue, so it has been left in the hands of developers, and some are acting: The ground on Treasure Island would be raised — at a cost of more than $1 billion — to keep future neighborhoods high and dry under one developer's solution to possible rising sea levels. And developers of Redwood City's Saltworks property plan to build up earthen levees.


Even incremental changes in sea level can affect tidal patterns and wetlands ecology, and undermine the strength of older levees, experts say. Here in the Bay Area, lower-lying areas without shoreline protection, such as Alameda and Hunters Point, would see the effects before better-protected zones or those built much higher than the Bay.

But cash-strapped cities are not inclined to spend millions of dollars on solutions to prevent future flooding problems from rising sea levels when the severity of the threat is difficult to predict. No agency has the authority to require cities to take into account rising sea levels when planning a development.