San Francisco Responds to the Threat of Sea Level Rise

San Francisco residents adopt a small tax to help adapt and mitigate the impact of sea level rise

Voters in San Francisco have taken action to combat the effects of sea level rise caused by global temperature increases. Coastlines around the world differ in how vulnerable they are to rising sea levels, and San Francisco is especially at risk for having large coastline rises in the coming decades.

 San Francisco voters recently passed a small property tax, which will be used to fund the restoration of wetlands, coastal habitat, beaches, and creeks around the peninsula and Bay to mitigate some of the effects of rising sea levels. Funding for pollution clean-up is also included in the measure. 

These innovations will result in a doubling of tidal marshland to a total of 80,000 acres. Before development in the 1840s, the San Francisco Bay region contained 200,000 acres of marshes. 

Scientists are now warning that rising sea levels are inevitable and unstoppable. With most of the world’s population concentrated in low-elevation coastal areas like San Francisco, average rises of only a few feet will have devastating consequences for people in the affected areas. An average rise of 34 inches by the year 2100 is estimated by a majority of climate researchers. 

While the problem is dire, there are measures being discussed and taken now to cope with the effects of sea level rise as it comes about. The recent passage of Measure AA in San Francisco is a first-of-it-kind piece of popular legislation responding to the crisis. 

Clean, improved, and expanded marsh and tidal lands create a buffer zone for absorbing some of the inundation while also maintaining habitat for wildlife. 

Other methods for dealing with rising sea levels include controls on the major causes of the problem including greenhouse gas emissions and loss of rain forests. 

This infographic created by EKU Online unveils more statistics and information about sea level rise and solutions to the problem.

The impacts of rising seas

Featured image credit:Bureau of Land Management, courtesy Flickr

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