News

Menlo Park: Call for action on sea level rise

 

By Kate Bradshaw Special to the Almanac

Picture this: the San Francisco International Airport is underwater. As many as 120,000 residents of San Mateo County have been displaced by flooding. Three-quarters of the Bay Area's wetlands have been rendered unviable. Roads, highways, and railroads are covered in water, which has been contaminated because wastewater treatment plants have been inundated and rendered obsolete.

If this sounds either too antediluvian or post-apocalyptic to be a realistic scenario, think again. Such a future could very well occur within this century if coordinated action is not taken to address imminent sea level rise, according to a San Mateo County grand jury report released in June.

San Mateo County is considered at significant risk from sea-level rise. A water level rise of 55 inches could cause an estimated $24 billion in damage to buildings and their contents, according to a study cited by the grand jury. Gradual sea level rise is expected to reach 65 inches by 2100, the report says.

The county and its cities should take coordinated action to address sea-level rise, the grand jury says. On Aug. 25, the Menlo Park City Council approved the city's response, which largely agreed with the grand jury findings.

While the city is working with the San Francisquito Creek Joint Powers Authority to address flood risks, the city agreed that rising sea levels are a countywide threat and that a countywide organization should lead the effort to combat that threat.

That organization could be an expanded San Mateo County Flood Control District or a new joint powers authority, the city says. The City/County Association of Governments should also be considered. That organization, the city says, should assess all flooding risks, not just sea level rise.

Mitigation measures in addition to building levees should be considered, the city's response says. Menlo Park, the city points out, is taking measures to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Also, in updating its general plan, the city is assessing the risks of sea level rise.

A primary concern, the city says, is the difficulty in coordinating plans across jurisdictions, which makes it hard to obtain state and federal funding for projects.

Comments

7 people like this
Posted by whatever
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Sep 14, 2015 at 9:47 am

Wonder if Facebook floats. Zuckerberg should have built an ark or two out there on Bayfront.


4 people like this
Posted by Mike
a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Sep 14, 2015 at 12:01 pm

Is anybody talking to the Dutch? They have been living behind dikes for centuries.

The collective incompetence and power struggles among our patchwork of petty jurisdictions will totally sabotage any solution. The state needs to subordinate tgem to a regional district created for this specific purpose.


2 people like this
Posted by Sheila
a resident of Menlo Park: Suburban Park/Lorelei Manor/Flood Park Triangle
on Sep 14, 2015 at 12:17 pm

This is what I've been saying for years, and so what are we going to do to contain any flooding, instead of building over all low land fill areas? Remember where the shore line was before we all started filling in the bay, we may be back to that sooner than we know. Pontoon living quarters anyone?


3 people like this
Posted by Richard
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Sep 14, 2015 at 12:28 pm

By the time this happens many of the structures will have outlived their useful life. Maybe they should just be torn down and removes as the water level rises. Why did we build on filled marsh land to start?
Why should we do anything except for the airport and maybe a few other facilities we all rely on.
Building rules should be looked at to prohibit new buildings in areas that might be flooded.
At the present time a large number of buildings large being in Menlo Park and Redwood City. Why should we allow building to be built that will eventually be flooded and force taxpayers to spend Billions to protect them.
Why are building permits being issued at this time to build in these areas?


Like this comment
Posted by gunste
a resident of Portola Valley: Ladera
on Sep 14, 2015 at 12:31 pm

The biggest problem is that the US Capitol is situated at a 52ft elevation. If it were much lower, then Congress would think more about this problem and make this a national priority.


2 people like this
Posted by george c fisher
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Sep 14, 2015 at 12:43 pm

Best way is to reduce flooding by reducing green house gases. One important reduction would be installation of bike lanes on ECR to encourage occupants of the 10,000 new daily car trips on ECR from Stanford and Greenheart projects to use bicycles up and down ECR. Menlo Park will be offering TDM credits against car trips for bike lockers, etc. Bike lanes would allow bike lockers to be used. If no bike lanes more cars and empty bike lockers.


3 people like this
Posted by Science 4U
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Sep 14, 2015 at 8:20 pm

[This is a recycled article, btw. See Web Link]

Please note: the west coast is NOT in any immediate danger of sea level rise. The west coast is either stable, or the sea is even dropping, depending upon the location.

Here is a map from the USGS that shows it: Web Link

Here is a link to the paywalled report: Web Link


4 people like this
Posted by Caleb McCoy
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Sep 14, 2015 at 10:24 pm

George C Fisher: it may make you feel good to try to reduce green house gasses and thereby try prevent flooding due to increased sea level, but isn't it more than a little naïve to suggest that this is the best way? Really? Bike lanes on El Camino?
There is a huge danger that those with like mind who actually have political influence can wreck huge havoc on our economy and still make zero impact on climate change. Maybe many people will feel good that they are helping "save the planet", but they are really hurting the quality of life of middle class people by destroying the economy with ineffective burdensome climate change legislation.


2 people like this
Posted by Shulte Bootz
a resident of Menlo Park: Linfield Oaks
on Sep 15, 2015 at 11:01 am

Ocean front property in Menlo Park anyone? Yes, the sea level is rising, and we will be in deep...
So why was the facebook property developed, and others like it, right along the lowest elevation? Is it built on a huge barge? It's money folks, money talks.
We need to look 50 years ahead, not just at what can bring in money now. No HSR, try solar or hybrid buses instead, and increase the routes for east to west travel. Example, I'd like to visit friends at the Sequoias, but due to a disability can't drive anymore. Any buses go there? No, only for school routes.


3 people like this
Posted by Hugh
a resident of Menlo Park: Park Forest
on Sep 15, 2015 at 11:59 am

"huge havoc on our economy and still make zero impact on climate change"

Yup, I hear this from some of my friends also.

The same guys who told me a decade ago that the earth wasn't warming, and sea level rise wasn't a problem. Deniers then, concern trolls now.

I have yet to hear a solution from them - because Fox told them it was fake.


Like this comment
Posted by bike rider
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Sep 15, 2015 at 8:01 pm

seriously George-- riding bikes on El Camino Real is going to save the day. Global warming? seriously? [Part removed. Please make your point without negative comments about other posters.] and, who do you think is going clean up all the extra exhaust from the cars that try to drive on el camino while they wait for the bikes that slow ALL the traffic down to crawl? look at China -- tons of bike riders in China--one of the worst pollutant countries in the world. what about obamas jet that he flies non-stop for the past 8 years. what about the volcanoes. what about the forest fires because california has no water. what about leaf blowers? what about car bombs in the middle east? really, you think bike riders are going to stop the ocean from rising? [part removed.]


4 people like this
Posted by Hugh
a resident of Menlo Park: Park Forest
on Sep 15, 2015 at 10:44 pm

"look at China--tons of bike riders in China--one of the worst pollutant countries in the world."

Are you serious? You ARE just taunting/trolling him, right?

China's pollution is from COAL, not bikes.

Of course, this is par for the course from deniers; along with using the denier noise about volcanoes, etc...


2 people like this
Posted by Robert D.
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Sep 16, 2015 at 9:59 am

Robert D. is a registered user.

Solution: Solar Desalination. It uses only sun to power. It is as cheap if not cheaper than preparing water from our traditional resources. It effectively lowers the sea level. The rate, well that depends upon how much we use it. The residual, salt - used in may areas of the US for roads / ice. Low carbon footprint.
Available, yes. One company (local) WaterFX. I am sure others. Opposition, best I can tell, "this is not the way we have always done it."
Summary: Unlimited water supply, is not impacted by drought, helps the ocean.
Maybe I have missed something, but the cost models work, everything checks out, it helps the environment.


2 people like this
Posted by bike rider
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Sep 16, 2015 at 11:30 am

my whole point exactly--- bike riding is NOT going to save the day. for all the bike riding in the world--that isn't the issue--denier--hardly-- awareness of what is taking place in the world. also, not a jump on board for global warming can be solved by riding bikes or any other such silliness. this is a bunch of hypocrisy spread by the wealthy seeking more riches. enough is enough. much of what is taking place is totally out of our control--all nations would have to jump on board with the same restrictions and requirements to even make a dent in the global warming issue. cutting down the rain forest--huge contributor. smoking cigarettes --a huge contributor to global warming and life itself. bike riding can be dangerous, especially since there are no riders test involved. many, many bikers have no clue how to ride safely. i ride my bike every day--i don't see one smidgen of evidence that it has helped the global warming situation. bike riding down el camino real as a way to solve global warming and sea rises is ludicrous.


Like this comment
Posted by Eagle's Nest
a resident of Menlo Park: Sharon Heights
on Sep 16, 2015 at 11:52 am

Desalinization plants will lower sea level? Doesn't water evaporation happen every day world wide, with no help from humans, how can this lower the sea level? Doesn't it cycle back as rain? Pardon my ignorance, but this doesn't seem possible. Relieving the drought by creating desalinization plants, yes. Relieving traffic by updating our public transit system, yes. Someone said regarding sea level rise "By the time this happens many of the structures will have outlived their useful life. Maybe they should just be torn down and removes as the water level rises. Why did we build on filled marsh land to start?" Don't we build to last at least 100 years anymore?


Posted by Name hidden
a resident of Atherton: West of Alameda

on Sep 26, 2017 at 3:01 am

Due to repeated violations of our Terms of Use, comments from this poster are automatically removed. Why?


Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.

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