Policy: Climate change and sea level rise

Tidal marshland is likely to be inundated by sea level rise. Here, winter rainwater and an extreme high tide flood the Bay shore.

To ensure that critically important habitat areas for people and birds are preserved, we encourage:

Rapid reduction of greenhouse gases through the full implementation of AB 32, the California Global Warming Solutions Act of 2006 (California Health and Safety Code §38500 et seq.), and support for national climate change legislation to help mitigate the most extreme levels of climate change.

Full implementation of the California Climate Adaptation Strategy of 2009. On the issues of sea level rise, discourage urban development in areas containing habitat and habitat restoration potential and that are vulnerable to sea level rise.

The acquisition and restoration of remaining open space areas in proximity to existing wetlands to provide for future habitat refugia for tidal marsh and tidal flats, birds, and other wildlife in the face of rising sea level; and to allow for tidal wetlands to migrate up the shoreline as the Bay rises.

When practical, encourage the use of natural shoreline protection and buffer lands such as tidal marsh, eelgrass and oysters, and rocky subtidal habitat, in contrast to sea walls and other artificial barriers that are prone to catastrophic failure and provide little habitat value.

Support dredging policies and regulations that require beneficial re-use of material currently being disposed offshore or in-Bay. Sediment that is in the system will enable marshes to better build and keep pace with sea level rise, protecting not only marsh and mudflat habitats but enabling them to serve their natural functions as buffers against sea level rise and storm events.

Support science and monitoring to improve our ability to predict the effects of climate change as a means to prioritize future land acquisition, management, and restoration efforts and to mitigate sea level rise impacts.