Saturday, April 21, 2007

Climate Frogs in your own backyard

I live in Marin County, California. Though it's rarely referred to as a peninsula, it could claim that description, with the Pacific Ocean defining its western boundary, the San Francisco and San Pablo Bays defining its eastern boundary and the Golden Gate Bridge crowning its southern end. Western Marin is separated from the rest of the county by a spine of coastal hills and Mt. Tamalpais. Much of the county has been preserved as park land, open space and agricultural trusts, and most of that land makes up West Marin. There is little land there for development and its population is very small. But most of that limited development is either vulnerable to sea level rise or on land that is vulnerable to landslides or forest fires - the byproducts of weather extremes.

East Marin is much more populous, but its residential and business areas are likewise vulnerable to climate change. I've begun to research county planning to find evidence that, in this region of above average education and income, some forward-thinking precautions are being taken. Slides and fires are perennial threats everywhere in California, and all residents have been informed for years about best practices to reduce risk from these threats. But sea level rise has been all but ignored. In fact, this past March marked the first time that the problem has been brought up for public discussion.

March 2007
Hearings before the Planning Commission on the Marin Countywide Plan are currently taking place. The Commission has recommended that the Baylands Corridor be expanded to protect a larger portion of the interior coast. Using Bay Conservation and Development Commission maps on potential sea-level rise, the Commission has recommended removing high-density development potential from areas subject to future oceanic flooding.

No comments: