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SFO Airport Shoreline Protection

Project URL link
Sponsoring Agency San Francisco International Airport Commission
Subregions ('West Bay',)
Counties San Francisco, San Mateo
Watershed Tributary
Public or private land? ()
Location (lat/lon) 37.6189,-122.3750
Start Date 1/1/2016
End Date 12/31/2020
Location Description San Francisco International Airport shoreline perimeter

The Airport Shoreline Protection program (SPP) is designed to address flood risks at the Airport and affected area west of the Airport. This program will provide flood protection against 1%-annual-chance floods and adaptation capacity to sea level rise by constructing shoreline protection improvements. The project includes construction of seawalls, flood/tidal gates, pump stations, levee and embankment stabilization, pavement overlay and power enhancements. The improved shoreline protection system will meets FEMA's certification standards.

Drinking Water Supply
Water Quality Improvement
Water Reuse/Recycling
Stormwater Improvements
Groundwater Benefits
Habitat Protection and Restoration
Flood Protection
Stormwater Improvement: Existing storm water system is insufficient to handle larger storms and modification to the system is required to provide larger capacity as well as to mitigate flood risks from higher water levels in the bay. Flood Protection: Extreme storm events significantly elevate water levels in the bay and will overflow the airfield. A shoreline protection system is needed to protect the Airport asset including its buildings and airfield holistically.

Part 2 - Detail

The San Francisco International Airport (SFO) has completed a shoreline protection feasibility study which identified deficiencies in the existing shoreline protection system which includes the USCG at SFO. Based on the study, SFO is developing a Shoreline Protection Program (SPP) to improve the shoreline protection system at various locations along the shoreline, including Mel Leong Treatment Plant, ends of runways, north and south boundaries and USCG at SFO. 

This program will provide flood protection against 100 year floods and adequate sea level rise with adaptation capacity to additional sea level rise by constructing shoreline protection improvements. The project includes construction of seawalls, flood/tidal gates, pump stations, levee and embankment stabilization, pavement overlay and power enhancements. The improved shoreline protection system will meets FEMA's certification standards.


As FEMA develops Flood Insurance Rate Maps (FIRMs) for the Bay Area, studies and initial maps show that a large portion of the developed land in the bay area including the the entirety of San Francisco International Airport and areas in its vicinity including Highway 101, Cities of San Bruno, Millbrae and Burlingame, PG&E substations will be under water in a 1%-annual-chance flood. With climate change induced rising sea levels, the frequency of these extreme events will be intensified.  

If this project is not implemented, during extreme storm events, the San Francisco International Airport infrastructure will likely be damaged, air traffic operation will be interrupted, vicinity cities will be flooded by bay water. These events will impose significant economic loss to the region, to the nation and to the world.

  1. Flood and Stormwater Management: SFO Shoreline Protection System provides flood protection to the Airport and its vicinities by blocking water from intruding into developed lands behind.
  2. Resource Stewardship (watershed management, habitat protection and restoration, recreation, open space, etc.): This project will seek habitat creation and/or restoration in the bay area to benefit wildlife and ecosystem.
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