Sunday, June 28, 2015

County organization to coordinate sea level rise issues

The Daily Journal (San Mateo County), Samantha Weigel, 6/6/15. "Sea level rise snares grand jury scrutiny: call for countywide organization plan, seek funding for improvements."

"With many scientists predicting a looming threat of sea level rise that could damage billions of dollars worth of infrastructure and homes while crossing municipal boundaries, the San Mateo County Civil Grand Jury released a report this week urging cities form a regional organization to prepare for its impact.

Image result for sea level rise picture
The good news is we finally built
a new City Hall, with a library.
Bordered by the Bay and the ocean, San Mateo County is particularly susceptible to the impacts of sea level rise — more so than any other county in the state, according to the report titled Flooding Ahead: Planning for Sea Level Rise. According to the report released Thursday, about 120,000 residents are at risk of losing their homes, nearly $24 billion worth of infrastructure including six wastewater treatment plants and three airports are in potential flood zones and hundreds of miles of roads could be gravely impacted by the end of the century.

Though sea level rise could affect the entire Bay Area, 40 percent of its local impact on residents and economic value could be in San Mateo County because of its location, according to the report. As sea level rise is based on topography and not municipal boundaries, the grand jury recommends a special task force be formed to help regional planning efforts and to secure funding for projects that seek to assuage the devastating impacts.  Read article. 

Reference - From San Mateo County Civil Grand Jury, 2014-2015 Final Reports:  Flooding Ahead: Planning for Sea Level Rise, 6/4/15, pdf pages 30

Related - Daily Journal (San Mateo County), Editorial/Jon May, Editor in Chief, 6/12/15. "No necessity for new government agency." An interesting recommendation from the San Mateo County Civil Grand Jury last week is that a single countywide organization should be identified to plan, coordinate and apply for grants to prepare for sea level rise. ... there is an already established organization that would be perfectly suited for such a task. It is the City/County Association of Governments. Commonly known as C/CAG, it meets regularly and is represented by one elected official from every city in the county and the county. It discusses grant funding and conducts studies on various issues of importance to every city in the county, i.e. Highway 101 ramp metering and airport compatibility plans. Surely, such an organization could absorb any amount of study on the impacts of large amounts of water coming onto our shores. Unless, of course, the goal is to create an organization with bond authority that could ask residents to pony up money to pay for any improvements. It’s not clear, at least from the civil grand jury report, if that is the intent." 

Note:  photograph/graphic from Malia Litman's blog.

Posted by Kathy Meeh

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