The New Life for Eroding Shorelines project explores living shoreline approaches for sea level rise adaptation that can reduce erosion at the marsh edge and improve habitat quality for marsh species. Solutions explored include reestablishing marsh-fringing barrier beaches to attenuate waves at the marsh edge and reintroducing California Sea Blite (Suaeda californica), a rare and endangered plant with the ability to climb driftwood and other shoreline features, providing much-needed high-tide refuge for marsh wildlife.

"Beach and Marsh Edge Change in the San Francisco Estuary" (SFEI and Peter Baye) contributes new methods and relevant data about patterns of change observed along marsh shorelines and beaches in the region in order to inform these new living shoreline approaches. The report identifies areas where marsh edges are eroding in San Pablo Bay and the bay-side Marin shoreline over time. It then provides a technical introduction to estuarine beaches, which are geomorphically and ecologically distinct from open-coast beaches. Following this description is an investigation of beach change over time at four sites, using remote sensing and field observation to classify and discuss hypothesized San Francisco Estuary beach types. The report concludes with an assessment of relevant beach habitat pilot projects, providing lessons learned from restoration projects at Aramburu Island and Pier 94.  

"Conceptual Designs for Marsh-Fringing Beach Nourishment to Reduce Wave Erosion of Muzzi Marsh" (Peter Baye) provides a conceptual design for reducing wave erosion of Muzzi Marsh, (Marin County, California) using estuarine beach nourishment methods in ways that are compatible with habitat enhancement for two federal and state-listed endangered wildlife species, the salt marsh harvest mouse (Reithrodontomys raviventris raviventris) and California Ridgway’s rail (Rallus obsoletus obsoletus). This approach to marsh scarp erosion management with beach nourishment falls within a spectrum of the “Living Shoreline” nature-based solutions that rely on artificial placement of natural materials to reduce erosion and increase resilience of dynamic shorelines.

"Conceptual Designs for Sea Level Rise Adaptation: Greenwood and Brunini Beaches" (Peter Baye) provides a conceptual design for an integrated beach, salt marsh, and tidal flat shoreline adaptation and enhancement project at Greenwood and Brunini beaches in Tiburon, Marin County, California.The project is aimed at adapting the semi-natural open space park shoreline to a suite of related climate change impacts (sea level rise, increased erosion, sediment deficits, storm impacts) that threaten to degrade the physical, ecological, and recreational values of the park in the long term. 

These memoranda are part of the New Life for Eroding Shorelines project of the San Francisco State University, Estuary & Ocean Center, funded by Marin Community Foundation in 2017, and administered by the California Coastal Conservancy through the "Advancing Nature-Based Adaptation Solutions in Marin County" grant program. The project team is a collaboration between SF State University, Marin County Department of Public Works, Peter Baye, and SFEI.


Animation showing change over time at Foster City beach. SFEI 2020















GIS data is available upon request - please contact us at [email protected].

Associated Staff: 
Programs and Focus Areas: 
Resilient Landscapes Program
Shoreline Resilience
Location Information