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Bay Area Regional Shoreline Resilience Program

Project URL link
Sponsoring Agency State Coastal Conservancy
Subregions ('North Bay', 'East Bay', 'South Bay', 'West Bay')
Counties Contra Costa, Alameda, Santa Clara, San Mateo, Marin, Sonoma
Watershed Tributary
Public or private land? ()
Location (lat/lon) 37.8446558,-122.3795184
Start Date 07/01/2015
End Date 06/30/2020
Location Description Center of Bay Area Region - see map attachment for particular project locations.
Bay Area Regional Shoreline Resilience Program
The Bay Area Regional Shoreline Resilience Program

(Resilience Program) is an innovative and integrated suite of multi-benefit shoreline flood protection, habitat restoration, wastewater and sediment reuse projects that will demonstrate proactive solutions to climate change in the region.

The 2014 BAIRMWP highlights climate change, and in particular sea level rise, as one of the region’s key challenges, along with environmental management and use of recycled water (Sec. 1.4); the plan prioritizes sea level rise and coastal flooding as the highest priority vulnerabilities for the region to address (Sec. 16.4).  The Resilience Program will address these vulnerabilities at a regional scale by: 1) providing tangible examples of integrated flood management, shoreline habitat restoration and creative reuse that are responsive to sea level rise, 2) building capacity among key regional actors to expand their response to climate change, and 3) building community support around a proactive response in addressing regional sea level rise resilience.

Drinking Water Supply
Water Quality Improvement
Water Reuse/Recycling
Stormwater Improvements
Groundwater Benefits
Habitat Protection and Restoration
Flood Protection
The Program proposes groupings of projects in all four IRWM subregions that integrate three of the four IRWM functional areas (Watershed/Habitat, Flood Protection/Stormwater, Wastewater/Recycling). The habitat and flood elements of several projects include ties to stormwater improvements and potential re-use of wastewater.

Part 2 - Detail

The Program proposes groupings of projects in all four IRWM subregions that integrate three of the four IRWM functional areas. The Program is highly collaborative, involving a diverse partnership of flood protection, habitat restoration, and wastewater entities.  All projects are currently included in the 2014 plan (with two updates), and the partners are prepared to provide an equitable share of the consulting cost of an application.  The Program is expected to provide a significant non-state match (at least 25%).

Grant management, project monitoring and evaluation plans, reporting and data management will be performed by SCC in collaboration with SFEI. The Program is scalable, with numerous options for optimally configuring projects within each subregion:

North Bay – Novato Creek Area and Environs

The Novato Creek Phase I Fluvial-Tidal Wetlands Restoration Project and the Bel Marin Keys Wetland Restoration Project meet complementary goals of flood management, adaptation to sea level rise and habitat restoration on lower Novato Creek in Marin County.  Both projects are included in the BARIWM Plan, are working with the Novato Sanitary District to incorporate reuse of treated wastewater, and can involve community-based restoration (through STRAW).

Novato Creek Phase I would restore approximately 80-plus acres of former tidal marsh along the freshwater/saltwater mixing gradient and reestablish important ecological function and fluvial processes with the historic floodplain.  The project will demonstrate multi-objective benefits for both habitat enhancement and flood control by combining urban flood protection for downtown Novato with shoreline and habitat adaptation to sea level rise.  

The Bel Marin Keys Wetland Restoration project will construct flood protection necessary to restore a mix of wetlands habitats on the 1576-acre Bel Marin Keys property, preparing the site for seasonal and tidal marsh restoration.  It will construct a new flood management levee to separate tidal and non-tidal areas, assist in the protection of the adjacent Bel Marin Keys residential community from flooding, and develop approximately 360 acres of seasonal wetlands.

 East Bay – Eden Landing/Hayward Marsh Complex

The Eden Landing portion of the South Bay Salt Pond Restoration (SBSPR) project and the Hayward Marsh Restoration Project are both included in the Bay Area IRWM Plan. These projects can involve community-based restoration in partnership with Save the Bay.

For the SBSPR portion of this project, large-scale tidal wetland restoration (over 2,000 acres) will be implemented in conjunction with an innovative bayside berm approach (a FEMA-compliant feature that functions like a natural barrier island) to provide flood protection for thousands of homes and businesses. Restored interior wetlands would be used to dampen the incoming tides, allowing inner levees within the ponds to be subject to much lower water levels and wave heights, thereby providing multiple layers of tidal flood protection and vastly improved habitat values. 

For the Hayward Marsh portion of this project, rehabilitation of the capacity and functions of the bayside ponds would result in the rehabilitation of wetlands that reduce the ammonia load in San Francisco Bay, improve habitat for critical species such as the California Least Tern, improve the resiliency of the local shoreline, the wastewater distribution system, and flood control features to assist with sea level rise.

Peninsula – SAFER Bay and Ravenswood Restoration

The San Francisquito Creek JPA’s SAFER Bay project and the SBSPR project’s Ravenswood complex in Menlo Park will provide critical flood risk management infrastructure and facilitate large-scale tidal marsh restoration.  Though new to the plan, the SAFER Bay project is coupled with the SBSPR Project and can be integrated through an update. 

The SAFER Bay project will provide tidal flood protection to East Palo Alto, Menlo Park, and Palo Alto homes, private businesses, public lands, and facilities of the State with the objective of protecting these communities against tidal surges and the impacts of 50 years of projected sea level rise.   Habitat protection and restoration are primary objectives, through direct restoration design elements (such as horizontal levees and increased transitional ecotone habitat), and by providing flood protection measures to ensure future restoration in adjacent SBSPR Project Ponds R1, R2 and R3 do not increase tidal flood risk to the community.

Resilience features include: upland fill material that may be used to create a levee with an outboard slope ratio up to 30:1 (horizontal: vertical), enhancing transition zone between the ecosystems of the restored wetlands and the adjacent upland infrastructure. Public access enhancements may include upgrades to the Bay Trail.

South Bay - Mountain View Shoreline

The South Bay Salt Pond Restoration project in Mountain View includes large-scale tidal marsh restoration, while providing critical flood risk management infrastructure for adjacent residences and businesses. The project area consists of  a cluster of former salt ponds (Pond A1, Pond A2W, Charleston Slough), the levees surrounding each pond, some of the fringe marsh outside of the pond and slough levees, Permanente Creek, and Mt. View Slough. 

Restoration activities include breaches of levees at various locations, creation of wildlife habitat features, and other levee alterations to improve the overall ecological conditions of Pond A1, Pond A2W, and Charleston Slough. Resilience features include: upland fill material that may be used to create upland transition zones, slope ratios of up to 30:1, to buffer ecosystems and provide resiliency to sea level rise by providing wetland migration accommodation space and reducing wave run-up impacts for adjacent levees.

Viewing and interpretative platforms and trails would be established to improve recreation and public access to the pond cluster.

Alternative projects that could be integrated if desired include the Richardson Bay Engineered Bay Beach Shoreline Demonstration project to develop alternatives to shoreline armoring by using coarse grain bay beaches ($500K to $2.2 million).  Ecotone transition slope revegetation could be implemented for the Sears Point Wetland Restoration Project ($350K).  The East Bay Regional Park District’s Albany Beach and Bay Point Restoration and Public Access projects ($500K-$1.2 million and $500K-$1.1 million), are both in later stages of design and have significant non-state matching funds available. More information on these is available upon request.

The historic loss of wetlands in the region, along with the multiple water quality, flood protection and habitat benefits they provide, presents one of the greatest ecological and economic challenges the region faces.  In addition, climate change and in particular sea level rise present risks to tens of billions of dollars of infrastructure.  This proposal will develop site-specific solutions to paired flood control, habitat, water quality and re-use challenges while developing and testing regionally-relevant techniques necessary to address the future impacts of sea level rise. The Program responds to four of the Regional Priorities, including: Climate Change: The Program fits all the criteria for a Shoreline Sustainability Climate Change Project.  It is the outgrowth of several regional vulnerability assessments, including work by the Pacific Institute and BCDC, and directly builds on the Baylands Ecosystem Habitat Goals’ recommendations regarding climate change; demonstrates an ability to reduce shoreline vulnerability to climate change, addressing potential future sea level rise and documenting metrics of benefit; demonstrates innovation in testing new resilience strategies; provides data and proof of concept for regional strategies; and includes ecosystem adaptation and re-use of sediment and wastewater. Health of the Bay and Creeks: The Program provides direct water quality benefits to the bay, reducing pollutants and enhancing fisheries and native and endemic wildlife populations around the bay margin.  It protects, restores and rehabilitates watershed and bay processes, reintroducing more natural sediment and freshwater flows, improving floodplain connectivity, and reducing shoreline (and marsh edge) erosion. Sediment Management: The Program helps address conflicting goals with sediment management, in particular regarding re-use of dredged material in the bay; integrates habitat concerns through beneficial sediment re-use; and anticipates being able to determine the incremental costs of beneficial re-use in these settings. Invasives Management: The Program assists with the management of invasive spartina, a species of regional concern.

Without the proposed projects, progress in reversing the historic loss of baylands habitats, called for by the BAIRWMP, the Baylands Ecosystem Habitat Goals, Basin Plan, CCMP and other regional plans, will be greatly slowed, and in places, halted.  In addition, the impacts of sea level rise are projected to be most greatly felt along shorelines without established, integrated shoreline solutions that can jointly achieve habitat goals while providing shoreline protection; these projects represent the most significant currently-planned contributions to ensuring that resilience in the region. 

The projects all include testing of key design and engineering questions crucial to future shoreline sustainability, including: restoring multiple components of diverse, complex baylands, facilitating improved re-use of in-channel and bay sediment, incorporating re-use of treated wastewater into restoration designs, effectively constructing and enhancing terrestrial transition zones and high-tide refugia, and designing self-sustainability into marsh and planting designs.

Without the implementation of these projects, the region’s ability to move forward quickly with shoreline resilience measures at a significant scale will be reduced and delayed.  Restoration sites will not be able to establish as quickly as they need to ensure their best chance of keeping up with sea level rise.  And crucial technical, permitting and management questions will remain unanswered, further delaying similar action around the region.

The Resilience Program will provide tangible and measureable benefits to the region:

  • critical flood protection for four regions of the bay, including thousands of commercial, transportation and residential assets, through approximately 7 miles of climate resilient structural solutions,
  • restoration of approximately 3,700 acres of baylands to a diversity of natural tidal and shallow water habitats, improving freshwater inflow and natural sediment transport processes and providing habitat for rare and endangered tidal marsh species, as well as rearing and nursery habitat for anadromous and bay fisheries,
  • appropriate transitional habitat and buffers to sea level rise through creation of high-tide refugia, gently sloping transition-slope levees, natural flood protective structures, and living shorelines,
  • reuse of sediment and freshwater in innovative ways, demonstrating technical capacity to scale shoreline solutions up throughout the region. 

Based on initial analysis and similar proposals in the past, the program is expected to demonstrate at minimum a greater than 1:1, and likely higher than 3:1, Benefit/Cost ratio.

Particular project outcomes include:

Novato Creek: construction of 4,500 linear feet of new SLR adaptive set-back levees designed with eco-tone transition habitat; restoration of approximately 80 plus acres of tidal wetlands and floodplain in Deer island reconnected to Novato Creek; creation of complex habitat along the freshwater/saltwater salinity gradient and restoration and enhancement of seasonal wetlands; flood protection for City of Novato; beneficial reuse of dredged sediment; relocation and consolidation of existing storm-water pumping facilities to respond to sea level rise conditions.

Bel Marin Keys: 1.7-mile long “ecotone” levee; assist in protection of 700 homes from flooding; potential reuse of up to 5 MGD of treated wastewater to restore wetlands; beneficial reuse of dredged sediment from regional dredging projects; eventual creation of 1,450 acres of salt marsh, brackish marsh, mudflat and sub-tidal habitats; ¾ mile of new Bay Trail.

Eden Landing: Restoration of over 2,000 acres of tidal marsh implemented in conjunction with an innovative bayside berm approach to providing flood protection for thousands of homes and businesses; new connections between the Alameda Creek anadromous fishery and the bay, and improved alignments of the Bay Trail spine.

Hayward Marsh: Enhanced function and sustainability for 145 acres of wetlands; up to 20 MGD of wastewater reuse; ammonia load reduction in San Francisco Bay, improved habitat for critical species such as the California Least Tern, improved resiliency of the local shoreline, the wastewater distribution system, and flood control features to assist with sea level rise.

Ravenswood: 1 mile of flood protection for State Highway 84, a PG&E regional substation, and properties landward of these facilities, as well as up to 590 acres of restored tidal wetlands in Ponds R1 and R2.

Mountain View: Restoration of over 800 acres of tidal marsh habitat and provide an estimated 1.5 miles of shoreline protection, helping prevent flooding to the shoreline communities of Mountain View and Palo Alto comprising several thousand businesses and homes.  Enhanced tidal/fluvial connections will help alleviate upstream flooding, increase natural sediment delivery to the marshes, improve local water quality, and provide fisheries habitat on a known salmonid stream.

Increases Water Supply Reliability
Advances/ Expands Conjunctive Management of Multiple Water Supply Sources
Increases Water Use and/or Reuse Efficiency
Provides Additional Water Supply
Promotes Water Quality Protection
Reduces Water Demand
Advances/Expands Water Recycling
Promotes Urban Runoff Reuse
Addresses Sea Level Rise
Addresses other Anticipated Climate Change Impact (e.g. through water management system modifications)
Improves Flood Control (e.g. through wetlands restoration, management, protection)
Promotes Habitat Protection
Establishes Migration Corridors
Re-establishes River-Floodplain Hydrologic Continuity
Re-introduces Anadromous Fish Populations to Upper Watersheds
Enhances and Protects Upper Watershed Forests and Meadow Systems
Other (Please Describe)
Increases Water Use Efficiency or Promotes Energy-Efficient Water Demand Reduction
Improves Water System Energy Efficiency
Advances/Expands Water Recycling
Promotes Urban Runoff Reuse
Promotes Use of Renewable Energy Sources
Contributes to Carbon Sequestration (e.g. through vegetation growth)
Other (Please Describe)
(low) - (high)
Drought Preparedness
Use and Reuse Water More Efficiently
Climate Change Response Actions (Adaptation to Climate Change, Reduction of Greenhouse Gas Emissions, Reduce Energy Consumption)
Expand Environmental Stewardship
Practice Integrated Flood Management
Protect Surface and Groundwater Quality
Improve Tribal Water and Natural Resources
Ensure Equitable Distribution of Benefits
Reduce Reliance on the Bay-Delta
Reduce Water Demand
Improved Operational Efficiency and Transfers
Increase Water Supply
Improve Water Quality
Improve Flood Management
Practice Resources Stewardship
Other Strategies (Please Describe)
Groundwater Management Plan
Urban Water Management Plan
Water Meter Requirements
Groundwater Monitoring Requirements
AB 1420 Compliance
BMP Compliance
CEQA Compliance
Water supply reliability, water conservation and water use efficiency
Stormwater capture, storage, clean-up, treatment, and management
Removal of invasive non-native species, the creation and enhancement of wetlands, and the acquisition, protection, and restoration of open space and watershed lands
Non-point source pollution reduction, management and monitoring
Groundwater recharge and management projects
Contaminant and salt removal through reclamation, desalting, and other treatment technologies and conveyance of reclaimed water for distribution to users
Water banking, exchange, reclamation and improvement of water quality
Planning and implementation of multipurpose flood management programs
Watershed protection and management
Drinking water treatment and distribution
Ecosystem and fisheries restoration and protection
Reduced Reliance on the Bay-Delta
Projects that directly address a critical water quality or supply issue in a DAC
Urban water suppliers implementing certain BMPs as on page 17 of Guidelines
Be designed to manage stormwater runoff to reduce flood damage (PRC §5096.827)
Be consistent with the applicable Regional Water Quality Control Plans (Basin Plans) (PRC §5096.827)
Not be a part of the State Plan of Flood Control (SPFC) (PRC §5096.827)

Project team

Part 3 - Benefits