City & County Initiatives

Knowing your boundaries and your neighbors…  Change begins with local government and within each community.

Finding the Throughline in Multi-Hazard Planning

As climate hazards multiply, Bay Area communities, local governments, and agencies are searching for ways to address them more holistically.

Crunching the Adaptation Numbers – Not Peanuts

Crunching the Adaptation Numbers – Not Peanuts

Regional agencies made splashy headlines when they released a joint study on the likely cost of protecting Bay Area shores from rising seas: $110 billion. But the top-line number didn’t offer much insight into the complexities. A new inventory and map from the same agencies is much more revealing.

New Flood Protection Standard for the Peninsula

New Flood Protection Standard for the Peninsula

In San Mateo County, new planning guidance may help cities account for rising seas when approving new developments. OneShoreline’s proposals are stricter than current requirements from federal, state, and local agencies, but those are also evolving. “The intent is to go where we already see regulators are going,” says Makena Wong, a project manager.

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Crunching the Adaptation Numbers – Not Peanuts

Crunching the Adaptation Numbers – Not Peanuts

Regional agencies made splashy headlines when they released a joint study on the likely cost of protecting Bay Area shores from rising seas: $110 billion. But the top-line number didn’t offer much insight into the complexities. A new inventory and map from the same agencies is much more revealing.

New Flood Protection Standard for the Peninsula

New Flood Protection Standard for the Peninsula

In San Mateo County, new planning guidance may help cities account for rising seas when approving new developments. OneShoreline’s proposals are stricter than current requirements from federal, state, and local agencies, but those are also evolving. “The intent is to go where we already see regulators are going,” says Makena Wong, a project manager.

Five Threats in Five Places

Five Threats in Five Places

Coastal erosion in Pacifica, drought in Brentwood, fires in the North Bay, flooding in Union City, and urban heat in San Jose. Anissa Foster takes us on a revealing virtual tour.

Oakland Tailors Resilience Hubs to Neighborhood Needs

Oakland Tailors Resilience Hubs to Neighborhood Needs

Faced with a health crisis, or stifling heat or smoke, most people will go somewhere familiar for help, a place they feel welcome. Oakland Chinatown’s Lincoln Center is that kind of safe haven, the perfect location for one of the city’s new “resilience hubs.”

Suisun City Pumps Up Resiliency

Suisun City Pumps Up Resiliency

Suisun City has been exploring ways to increase its resiliency to sea level rise and storm surges, including updating infrastructure, building an ecotone levee, and holding a resiliency workshop.

Valley Cities Beat Back the Heat

Valley Cities Beat Back the Heat

In the capital region and Silicon Valley, two cities have been experimenting with cooler roofs, walls and leafy canopies. Turns out cooling measures in one spot help those downwind.

Napa Bets on Bikes for Students

Napa Bets on Bikes for Students

What’s flat, covered in pavement, and unsafe for cyclists? Most Bay Area cities. But a Napa coalition recently published “Safe Routes to School” reports for 31 schools in the county. The routes also offer a healthier alternative to back seat commutes to class.

Why Napa Planners Nixed a New Gas Station

Why Napa Planners Nixed a New Gas Station

In April, a developer proposed a new gas station near a busy intersection in the City of Napa. But thanks to footwork of high schoolers, citizens and elected leaders Napa County and a growing number of North Bay cities have set zero-emissions goals for 2030, and declared a climate emergency. As a result, the new gas station was a no-go.

Refreshing Santa Clara County Rivers

Refreshing Santa Clara County Rivers

Santa Clara’s National River Cleanup Day brought together 596 volunteers and resulted in over 25,000 pounds of trash collected. “It was one of the first times since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, when we could actually organize group cleanups,” says Valley Water’s Nick Ingram

Marin City Solves For Self

Marin City Solves For Self

The historically underserved community of Marin City has struggled with inadequate infrastructure, as a result of poor city planning and a lack of resources. Now, on the frontlines of extreme weather events, the community is finding their own ways to handle the climate forces of today.

Suisun City Is No Island

Suisun City Is No Island

Suisun City has always had the waterfront and nearby wetlands at its heart but it won’t be long before the entire area is vulnerable to flooding from sea level rise.

Power Down, Safety Up for Christmas Hill

Power Down, Safety Up for Christmas Hill

“We’re still in the process of analyzing our other fire-prone areas of town, but based on what we already know about Christmas Tree Hill’s vulnerabilities to fire and its limited access routes, we felt it was prudent to initiate this project right away,” says Ron Suokko, Corte Madera’s director of public works.

Whiplash from Atmospheric Storm Hits San Rafael

Whiplash from Atmospheric Storm Hits San Rafael

Late October’s atmospheric river storm dumped record-breaking amounts of rain across the Bay Area, leading to flooding, fallen trees, mudslides, and other damage. Flood sirens whooped as residents in low-lying areas made preparations such as moving cars and stacking sandbags. Even so, there were reports of evacuations, street closures, and calls to shelter in place around the Bay, including in Santa Rosa, San Mateo, and San Anselmo.

Yell Fire on a Community Network

Yell Fire on a Community Network

When Sonoma County residents smell smoke, they usually hop on social media or check some alert services like Nixle or PulsePoint to find out what’s going on. But social media isn’t really designed for quickly and accurately sharing disaster alerts.

East Palo Alto Shows Up to Speak Up

East Palo Alto Shows Up to Speak Up

East Palo Alto faces escalating housing prices and declining affordability, gentrification, and a rising bay. Nuestra Casa is leading discussions about these issues with local parents, and paying them for their time.

Purple Air Warnings Not Enough

Purple Air Warnings Not Enough

If late fall fires start up again after the October deluge, Alameda County will already have smoke alert protocols in place. The county developed specific thresholds and delivery systems for alerts over the past two years. “Our geography…

Petaluma Starts Climate Conversations

Petaluma Starts Climate Conversations

Petaluma made international news earlier this year for enacting the nation’s first ban on new gas stations. The city of 60,000 in southern Sonoma County also moved this year to prohibit natural gas in nearly all new construction, and hasn’t allowed new drive-thrus since 2008. It aims to be carbon neutral by 2030.

Silicon Valley Reboots on Adaptation Work

Silicon Valley Reboots on Adaptation Work

With the aid of a $150,000 grant from the National Fish Wildlife Foundation, Santa Clara County embarked on a substantial new resilience planning effort this summer. In June the county’s Office of Sustainability convened the first meeting of the County Climate Collaborative, bringing together cities, CBOs and other key partners to identify adaptation and resilience priorities.

10 Ways to Field a Flood in Marin City

10 Ways to Field a Flood in Marin City

Ten future reconfigurations of a Marin City lagoon, park and highway site subject to flooding came from UC Berkeley students last fall. The students from Dr. Kristina Hill’s class shared their plans with the community and entered a national competition. “Marin City residents want access to nature for their kids, protection from flooding and safe travel in and out of their community. Communities like Marin City should get resilience investments first, because they’ve been underserved historically,” said Hill.