Sep 12, 2017

The challenges of accelerating sea level rise and aging shoreline infrastructure are creating a once-in-a-century opportunity to redesign the Bay shore. Originally constructed with little regard for the Bay, the future shoreline can more successfully integrate the natural and built environments to make a healthier shore for both the Bay and local communities. New shoreline design approaches must incorporate the complex ecological and physical processes of our urbanized estuary while anticipating the future challenges of climate change and extreme weather.

To develop bold solutions, local leaders have launched the Resilient by Design Bay Area Challenge. This collaborative design effort brings together local residents, public officials, and national and international design experts. They will create community-based design solutions for ten Bay shore communities to increase their resilience and to adapt to climate change.

San Francisco Estuary Institute (SFEI) scientists are serving as science advisors, translating recent advances and critical findings in shoreline restoration and adaptation to inform the Resilient by Design Challenge design teams. Key contributions by SFEI, described below, include conducting a science briefing event, contributing to RbD’s Briefing Book publication and providing feedback on conceptual design approaches through one-on-one consultations with design teams.

Exploratorium Science Briefing for Resilient By Design:

On Sept 12, SFEI conducted a two-hour, science briefing at the Exploratorium in San Francisco. It was a public event, created to advise the 10 design teams during the "kick-off" week of the Challenge. Over 50 members of the 10 teams attended, along with an additional 150+ community leaders, and as many as 1800 people watched the live video stream. Four SFEI staff each provided a 30 minute presentation. See below for a link to the video, posted on the RbD website. Funding for this event was provided by the Santa Clara Valley Water District.

Watch the videos from this event:

Robin Grossinger

Letitia Grenier

Julie Beagle

Jeremy Lowe


Resilient By Design Briefing Book:

SFEI staff were major contributors to the Briefing Book for the RbD Challenge. This served as an introductory guidebook to the Bay for the 10 design teams for their Sept-November "research" phase of the effort. SFEI's contributions focused on the historical ecology of the Bay, change over time, and the ongoing physical and ecological processes which drive the shoreline.

Science Consulting to the Design Teams:

Thanks to funding by SCVWD, SFEI scientists have been meeting with and providing resources to each of the 10 design teams. We have been successful in helping guide projects towards emphasizing an ecological approach. We hope to be able to continue to meet with the teams, as they enter the "Design" phase, to partner with local leaders to develop a specific concept for a specific Bay shoreline site.


Other Contributors: 
Steve Hagerty
Programs and Focus Areas: 
Resilient Landscapes Program
Shoreline Resilience