Policy: Climate Change, No. 6

" The Commission, in collaboration with the Joint Policy Committee, other regional, state and federal agencies, local governments, and the general public, should formulate a regional sea level rise adaptation strategy for protecting critical developed shoreline areas and natural ecosystems, enhancing the resilience of Bay and shoreline systems and increasing their adaptive capacity.

The Commission recommends that: (1) the strategy incorporate an adaptive management approach; (2) the strategy be consistent with the goals of SB 375 and the principles of the California Climate Adaptation Strategy; (3) the strategy be updated regularly to reflect changing conditions and scientific information and include maps of shoreline areas that are vulnerable to flooding based on projections of future sea level rise and shoreline flooding; (4) the maps be prepared under the direction of a qualified engineer and regularly updated in
consultation with government agencies with authority over flood protection; and (5) particular attention be given to identifying and encouraging the development of long-term regional flood protection strategies that may be beyond the fiscal resources of individual local agencies.

Ideally, the regional strategy will determine where and how existing development should be protected and infill development encouraged, where new development should be permitted, and where existing development should eventually be removed to allow the Bay to migrate inland.

The entities that formulate the regional strategy are encouraged to consider the following strategies and goals: advance regional public safety and economic prosperity by protecting: (i) existing development that provides regionally significant benefits; (ii) new shoreline development that is consistent with other Bay Plan policies; and (iii) infrastructure that is crucial to public health or the region’s economy, such as airports, ports, regional transportation, waste water treatment facilities, major parks, recreational areas and trails; enhance the Bay ecosystem by identifying areas where tidal wetlands and tidal flats can migrate landward; assuring adequate volumes of sediment for marsh accretion; identifying conservation areas that should be considered for acquisition, preservation or enhancement; developing and planning for flood protection; and maintaining sufficient transitional habitat and upland buffer areas around tidal wetlands; integrate the protection of existing and future shoreline development with the enhancement of the Bay ecosystem, such as by using feasible shoreline protection measures that incorporate natural Bay habitat for flood control and erosion prevention; encourage innovative approaches to sea level rise adaptation; identify a framework for integrating the adaptation responses of multiple government agencies; integrate regional mitigation measures designed to reduce greenhouse gas emissions with regional adaptation measures designed to address the unavoidable impacts of climate change; address environmental justice and social equity issues; integrate hazard mitigation and emergency preparedness planning with adaptation planning by developing  techniques for reducing contamination releases, structural damage and toxic mold growth associated with flooding of buildings, and establishing emergency assistance centers in neighborhoods at risk from flooding; advance regional sustainability, encourage infill development and job creation, provide diverse housing served by transit and protect historical and cultural resources; encourage the remediation of shoreline areas with existing environmental degradation and contamination in order to reduce risks to the Bay’s water quality in the event of flooding; support research that provides information useful for planning and policy development on the impacts of climate change on the Bay, particularly those related to shoreline flooding; identify actions to prepare and implement the strategy, including any needed changes in law; and identify mechanisms to provide information, tools, and financial resources so local governments can integrate regional climate change adaptation planning into local community design processes. "

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