Sea levels could rise 7 feet by 2100, officials say; Here's what SF plans to do about it

ByLena Howland via KGO logo
Wednesday, October 12, 2022
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Sea levels could rise seven feet by 2100 in the Bay Area. Here's what San Francisco officials plan to do about it.

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- San Francisco is launching a year-long study to protect the city from rising sea levels.

It's a big plan, being done in partnership with a military agency, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

City officials are bracing for sea levels to rise up to seven feet by the year 2100.

"This is a massive undertaking, what I really like is we are on the offense, we are out front on this, we are not waiting until something happens," said Willie Adams, president of the Port of San Francisco.

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Adams says they're taking a proactive approach and working with the Army Corps of Engineers to do a study mapping out seven possible strategies meant to reduce flood risks from sea level rise and extreme storms.

This covers an area from Fisherman's Warf south to the Hunters Point Shipyard.

"I know it is a lot of time and this is not glamorous," Adams said. "A lot of times, our community doesn't understand it, but our younger generations to come will benefit from this, and I hope you understand all the work you put in is appreciated, but right now it's tedious work."

It's work that the San Francisco Fire Department is already getting ahead of.

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"When we're being told that there's a potential for the sea to rise and then rise up to seven feet in a relatively short period of time, we're talking about years and decades for that to occur, we need to start working now with our infrastructure," said Lt. Jonathan Baxter, a spokesman for the San Francisco Fire Department.

Baxter says this is the exact reason why they built a floating fire station along the Embarcadero earlier this year.

"Which is basically a barge that has a fire station built on it that's stabilized by pillars. It has the ability to rise and lower with the flow of the tide and if we had sea rise, we'd be able to see that rise with the sea as well," he said.

In the meantime, the city will be holding a series of neighborhood meetings this fall along the city's eastern flank to get more community feedback on ideas in the works, like raising the shoreline along roadways such as the Embarcadero or other, more extreme strategies like relocating or adapting buildings.

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