Relocating the Bay Trail at Alameda Point

by | Jul 9, 2021

rendering of Bay Trail alignment and shoreline adaptation design with beach and creek for alameda pointby WRT.
Photo: Andrew Innerarity / California Department of Water Resources

Three sites along the East Bay shoreline will demonstrate potential pathways for shoreline adaptation, as part of the San Francisco Bay Trail Risk Assessment and Adaptation Prioritization Plan led by the East Bay Regional Park District. One site called the Northwest Territory, planned as a new district park, will feature a Bay Trail extension around the full extent of Alameda Point. The site’s low-lying elevation presents both a flood risk to existing structures and an opportunity to restore valuable marsh habitat. Project consultants WRT, an urban planning and landscape architecture firm, stress the importance of collaboration in crafting successful shoreline adaptation projects. 

WRT’s proposal for Alameda Point also hinges on the ability to remediate contamination left behind by the US Navy. Their “Full Potential” design, which assumes robust remediation of contaminated areas, would create more than 100 acres of tidal marsh and a western shoreline resistant to erosion from high wind and wave action. Their “Limited Potential” design, which works with the known design parameters set by soil contamination cleanup, offers comparatively modest wetland habitat and less space for habitat migration as the sea level rises. As such, the containment of contaminated soil and planned public access could be compromised by the end of the century. “The design options are presented here to keep open conversations with all of the stakeholders involved in the development of this significant regional park,” says WRT Principal John Gibbs. 

First published in RARA Review, April 2021.

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About The Author

Michael Hunter Adamson

was born and partly raised in the Bay Area. He employs his love for nature and his interest in people to help tell the unfolding story of the living Earth. He has worked for The Nature Conservancy and the arts and education nonprofit NaNoWriMo, taught English in Madrid-based High School equivalent, and volunteers with The Marine Mammal Center. He is the editor of the Bay Area Monitor and also writes for Estuary and AcclimateWest.