Sunday, December 7, 9:30 am. Join the Bay Chapter’s Conservation Committee for a leisurely, three-mile hike on paved, level paths along Oakland’s San Leandro Bay shoreline, starting at Arrowhead Marsh in the Martin Luther King, Jr. Regional Shoreline Park.
San Leandro Bay is one of the Central Bay’s most glorious bodies of water. We’ll enjoy great views, see thousands of water birds and shorebirds, and hopefully spot a few endangered species. Along the way, we’ll see some of the region’s most successful wetland-restoration projects. We’ll also walk the site of the Bay Area’s first major development proposal for lands that will likely be under water by 2100.
As we explore land likely to disappear under sea-level rise, we will reflect on the impact of development and climate disruption to species that depend upon tidal marshes; explore new proposals to preserve the Bay’s remaining wetlands; and consider whether it is appropriate to build in areas threatened by sea-level rise.
The proposed Oakland Coliseum Area development would be an enormous (780-acre) project, described in the Draft Environmental Impact Report (DEIR) this way: “Overall, this proposed Project would create three new sports venues, 5,750 housing units, and almost 8 million square feet of net new commercial and business uses. The Coliseum Area would have around 7,000 residents… by the time of project Buildout in… 2035”.
How does the DEIR address expected sea-level rise? It suggests that buildings have car garages on the first floor with businesses and housing on the second floor “to allow sea level rise to impact uninhabited parking structures rather than dwelling units.” Perhaps the idea is that as sea level rises and the garages flood everyone will take to boats. Another solution proposed by the DEIR is to have all essential infrastructure built above the anticipated sea level, 3 to 6 feet in the air. The image brought to mind is of elevated roads surrounding lower blocks of housing and businesses (with the garages now flooded) like a gigantic waffle.
The DEIR does acknowledge that something would need to be done to avoid catastrophe for the 7,000 residents whose homes would be underwater. Perhaps, it suggests, a massive levee will be required along the entire length of the bay shoreline? We won’t go into the costs or headaches of the DEIR’s strikingly inadequate proposals here. Suffice to say that such short-sighted plans only punt, abdicating responsibility for the consequences of their actions to future generations and shifting the burden of response to relevant regional agencies.
We will ponder these questions and more, while enjoying a spectacular—and endangered—natural area. Join us! For more details, visit the Bay Chapter activities calendar.