Friday, October 18, 2013

Adapting to rising tides in Bay Area parks

As a NOAA Coastal Management Fellow with the San Francisco Bay Conservation and Development Commission, I work on sea level rise adaptation through the Adapting to Rising Tides (ART) Project. We work with all sectors of local government including cities, transportation agencies and utility providers but my work focuses on parks and recreation departments.

Leslie Knope jokes aside, shoreline parks are the literal and figurative frontline for sea level rise. These parks provide recreation opportunities for millions of Bay Area residents and are heavily used by windsurfers, swimmers, walkers, bikers and picnickers.  Park visitors can learn about sea level rise impacts and adaptation through formal and informal education.  During my fellowship, I have worked with park interpretive staff to develop sea level rise curriculum for field trips and adult education.  

Shoreline parks are exposed to sea level rise impacts and sensitive to increased erosion and salt water flooding.  East Bay Regional Park District is spending millions of dollars this year to replenish sand at Crown Beach Memorial State Park (see image).  Without expensive maintenance, the recreation and shoreline protection benefits of this park will be lost.  My fellowship project is focused on understanding park-specific vulnerabilities and developing sustainable adaptation strategies.  I am lucky to work on an experience team of coastal  planners-they are all jealous that my site visits are at parks instead of to wastewater treatment plants!

For more information on the ART project, please visit

Maggie Wenger
Coastal Management Fellow
(8/2012 – 8/2014)

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