Rising seas and coastal flooding are threatening low-lying roads, homes, and other coastal infrastructure around the country. Coastal communities are struggling to come together and find creative solutions for dealing with transportation infrastructure that is repeatedly damaged or impassable due to storms and tidal flooding. This project addresses one specific example of this complex problem—a shoreline road that bisects the San Francisco Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve’s China Camp State Park. The shoreline section of North San Pedro Road is an important transportation corridor, serving as the only entry point to a popular state park, an alternate route for commuters during heavy traffic, and a critical evacuation route for local communities. However, the road crosses the landmark historic tidal marsh at China Camp and routinely floods, and its undersized culverts restrict tidal influence in the interior marshes, limiting their ability to adapt naturally to sea level rise.
Until recently, plans for short-term repairs to the road were stalemated by questions of cost, responsibility, environmental concern, and other factors. However, a workshop hosted by the reserve in December 2017 jumpstarted discussions about mapping a path forward for short-term repairs and long-term fixes, and the parties agreed on the need for a multi-stakeholder engaged collaborative process to generate a range of adaptation solutions and identify steps needed to select and implement an option.
This project brings together key stakeholders and decision makers to initiate adaptation planning from the bottom-up. The project approach involves a mix of targeted data collection, technical analyses and syntheses, and well planned and facilitated stakeholder meetings to identify, evaluate, and compare road reconfiguration options. The project will pave the way for implementing an adaptation solution at China Camp and potentially serve as a model for other communities facing similar problems nationwide.