Funding the Future of San Francisco Bay’s Shoreline

TAKE ACTION: Join us in calling on Governor Newsom and the state legislature to support this climate bond and put it on the November ballot. Sign the petition now!

This November, voters in the Bay Area could have an opportunity to vote for a proposed climate resilience bond that includes new money for shoreline restoration. This comes at a time when California is struggling to provide funding to address the wide variety of risks associated with climate change that are already impacting our communities with devastating flooding and wildfires. Why would shoreline restoration be included in this bond?

Natural shorelines are not only a source of habitat for endangered species and recreational opportunities for Bay Area residents, but also serve as an important protection against flooding from sea level rise and climate change. That’s because tidal marshes act as a buffer against rising tides, and as a sponge during storm events – holding water that would otherwise inundate shoreline communities, and then releasing it back into the Bay. A truly climate-resilient Bay Area requires a robust network of restored and protected marsh areas, and that’s one reason why Save The Bay has worked to accelerate projects to create a healthy, living shoreline. So, what’s holding back these projects? Money.

Bay Trail on January 10 during King Tides
Bay Trail on February 2 during regular tide

Show me the money

The State Coastal Conservancy is one of the main funders of shoreline restoration along the coast of California, including here in the Bay Area. Along with the San Francisco Bay Restoration Authority (which is funded with local tax dollars), the Coastal Conservancy has been key to advancing restoration in recent years and has provided tens of millions of dollars to efforts like the South Bay Salt Ponds Restoration Project, which is the largest tidal marsh restoration project on the west coast.

Save The Bay has worked with a broad coalition to increase funding for the Coastal Conservancy, and we were successful in securing more than $500 million in new funding over the past few years. Unfortunately, due to the state’s severe budget deficit, this funding has now been proposed to be cut by more than 70%, leaving the Coastal Conservancy without sufficient resources to continue to acquire property, restore habitat, and improve the Bay Area’s climate resilience.

San Francisco Bay Restoration Funding Needs
Click to enlarge

In fact, the Coastal Conservancy has identified more than $600 million in funding need for projects that are ready to go, with more money needed as additional projects are developed in the coming years. The state’s proposed budget cuts will delay many of these important projects which will make them more expensive in the long run and leave our communities vulnerable to flooding in the meantime.

Save The Bay is working to ensure that the state maintains funding for the Coastal Conservancy, both by restoring some of the proposed budget cuts and by supporting a proposed climate bond for the November ballot.

A Climate Bond Solution

The climate bond would allow voters the chance to ensure that additional funding is available to address the entire scope of climate risks that we face: wildfires, drought, extreme heat, and coastal and upland flooding. Money from the bond would supplement the state’s own investments and provide the Coastal Conservancy with the resources needed to keep these important shoreline projects moving forward.

Save The Bay recently joined Assemblymembers Diane Papan and Damon Connolly along with local elected officials and representatives from the Bay Area Council and Climate Resilient Communities to call on the Governor and Legislature to support this important bond proposal (watch the event above). We’ll continue working to support this and other efforts to ensure that shoreline resilience remains a priority and our communities receive the protection they need.

As the past few years have made clear, flood risk is only getting worse. Investing now in nature-based shoreline resilience is a critical strategy that will help the state truly become climate resilient. Join us in calling on Governor Newsom and the state legislature to support this bond and put it on the November ballot.