Scientists and urban planners in the San Francisco Bay Area say restoring the bay’s once abundant wetlands could be the key to preparing for sea level rise.
On June 7, residents will vote on Measure AA, a $12-per-year parcel tax that would fund marsh restoration throughout the region.
The Bay Area isn’t as vulnerable to rising seas as cities like New Orleans and Miami, but it should expect to see four to six more feet of seawater by 2100. That’s according to Kristina Hill, a professor of landscape architecture and urban planning at UC Berkeley. Hill says the kneejerk reaction most people have to sea level rise is just to build walls to keep the ocean out. But that can't always work.
“What I try to do is help people go beyond that idea of the wall,” she says.
Sea walls are expensive, ugly, and they can’t be adjusted to changing conditions. Instead, Hill advocates building what she calls a “cyborg edge” — mechanical infrastructure blended with a living zone made up of sand bars and marsh