With rising sea levels and the increased likelihood of extreme weather events, it is important for regional agencies and local municipalities in the San Francisco Bay Area to have a clear understanding of the status, composition, condition, and elevation of our current Bay shore, including both natural features and built infrastructure.
The purpose of this Bay shore inventory is to create a comprehensive and consistent picture of today’s Bay shore features to inform regional planning. This dataset includes both structures engineered expressly for flood risk management (such as accredited levees) and features that affect flooding at the shore but are not designed or maintained for this purpose (such as berms, road embankments, and marshes). This mapping covers as much of the ‘real world’ influence on flooding and flood routing as possible, including the large number of non-accredited structures.
This information is needed to:
- identify areas vulnerable to flooding.
- identify adaptation constraints due to present Bay shore alignments; and
- suggest opportunities where beaches, wetlands, and floodplains can be maintained or restored and integrated into flood risk management strategies.
The primary focus of the project is therefore to inform regional planners and managers of Bay shore characteristics and vulnerabilities. The mapping presented here is neither to inform FEMA flood designation nor is it a replacement for site-specific analysis and design.
The mapping consists of two main elements:
- Mapping of Bay shore features (levees, berms, roads, railroads, embankments, etc.) which could affect flooding and flood routing.
- Attributing Bay shore features with additional information including elevations, armoring, ownership (when known), among others.
SFEI delineated and characterized the Bay shore inland to 3 meters (10ft) above mean higher high water (MHHW) to accommodate observed extreme water levels and the commonly used range of future sea level rise (SLR) scenarios. Elevated Bay shore features were mapped and classified as engineered levees, berms, embankments, transportation structures, wetlands, natural shoreline, channel openings, or water control structures. Mapped features were also attributed with elevation (vertical accuracy of <5cm reported in 30 meter (100ft) segments from LiDAR derived digital elevation models (DEMs), FEMA accreditation status, fortification (e.g., riprap, buttressing), frontage (e.g., whether a feature was fronted by a wetland or beach), ownership, and entity responsible for maintenance. Water control structures, ownership, and maintenance attributes were captured where data was available (not complete for entire dataset). The dataset was extensively reviewed and corrected by city, county, and natural resource agency staff in each county around the Bay. This report provides further description of the Bay shore inventory and methods used for developing the dataset. The result is a publicly accessible GIS spatial database.
Related Projects, News, and Events:
SFEI is developing an online interactive map to support regional planning and assessment given accelerated sea level rise around the Bay.
SFEI and the San Francisco Estuary Partnership are proud to announce the release of the SF Bay Shore Inventory: Mapping for Sea Level Rise. This dataset provides a comprehensive and consistent picture of today’s Bay shore (up to MHHW + 10ft) for all nine Bay Area counties. The mapping captures features which affect flooding and flood routing (e.g., engineered levees, berms, embankments, roads, wetlands, etc.).
SFEI featured in LA Times about earthquake risk to San Francisco (News)
Photo credit: Connor Radnovich / San Francisco Chronicle
A recent story in the LA Times by Ron Lin underscores the newly identified threat that earthquakes pose to the San Francisco Bay waterfront. Under certain circumstances, the sea wall that currently protects the Embarcadero and its surrounding infrastructure could be dramatically compromised during a strong enough seismic event. The results could be capastrophic to a key driver of San Francisco's economy. And the fix to the vulnerability would be expensive at $3 billion.