Billions of dollars of infrastructure around San Francisco Bay are sitting in the path of rising sea levels, including homes, roads and tech company offices. And a coalition of environmental and business groups is hoping Bay Area residents will help pay to protect it.
In June, residents in nine Bay Area counties will vote on a new $12 a year parcel tax, designed to raise hundreds of millions of dollars over the next two decades to restore wetlands and build levees.
A specially-appointed council, the San Francisco Bay Restoration Authority, voted Wednesday to have the measure placed on the ballot in Alameda, Contra Costa, Marin, Napa, San Mateo, Santa Clara, Solano, Sonoma and San Francisco counties. Each region of the bay would be guaranteed a certain amount of the funding.
“Wetlands are like magic when it comes to protecting against floods,” says David Lewis, executive director of Save the Bay. “They can act like a sponge during times of high tides and floods and soak up extra water, instead of having that water pile up against communities.”
Scientists say sea levels could rise up to two feet by 2050, inundating today’s shoreline. Add to that the flooding from a catastrophic storm, and the damage could cost the Bay Area more than $10 billion, according to a report from the Bay Area Council.