Big Win for the Bay: SB 272 Signed

Great news for climate resilience in the Bay! Yesterday Governor Newsom announced that he has signed SB 272, one of Save The Bay’s top legislative priorities this year.

Our Sea Level Rise and Flood Resilience Strategy identified that the lack of urgency, consistency, and coordination among cities leaves communities vulnerable to flooding as climate change drives higher sea levels within San Francisco Bay in the coming years.

SB 272, authored by Sen. John Laird (D – Santa Cruz), gives new authority to the Bay Conservation and Development Commission (BCDC) to set standards for how cities should plan for sea level rise. The bill requires cities to submit shoreline resilience plans that meet these new state standards to BCDC for approval. This commonsense approach will better protect the most vulnerable communities in the Bay Area, and guide development so that new homes and businesses are kept out of harm’s way.

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BCDC has already started drafting guidelines for cities to follow when crafting their shoreline resilience plans. It is crucial that BCDC finalize these standards as soon as possible with a strong emphasis on utilizing nature-based shoreline defenses like restored tidal marshes that buffer against rising tides while improving the health and habitat of the Bay.

But this is only a first step, much more needs to be done to protect our communities from flooding. Cities need to work quickly to create their shoreline resilience plans to stay ahead of increasing flood risks, and the state needs to prioritize new funding for cities to put these plans into practice, focusing first on the most underserved communities.

Save The Bay will continue advocating for a climate resilient Bay Area and to ensure that BCDC, our cities, and the state are doing everything that they can to use this new authority effectively.

We are very grateful to Sen. Laird for his steadfast leadership on coastal resilience and flood protection, and we thank Governor Newsom for supporting this important update to the state’s climate adaptation toolkit.