This blog is a part of SeaChange SMC’s Guest Blog series zpgnjuz. The series will feature perspectives on sea level rise from members of the community.
By Shannon Fiala
As a planner and cyclist, a few Saturdays ago I woke up with a mission: to bike the Bay Trail from San Francisco to San Jose. After getting a bit lost in the unfinished cul-de-sacs of the new San Francisco Shipyard development and looping out to Candlestick Point, I rolled into San Mateo County. Along the entire ride, I marveled at the incredible foresight of the McAteer-Petris Act of 1965, which created the Bay Conservation and Development Commission, and required shoreline projects, particularly those that proposed to fill the bay, to provide ‘maximum feasible’ public access, which has often translated into investments in the Bay Trail. The plan for the Bay Trail began in 1987 with state legislation that directed the Association of Bay Area Governments to foster the trail’s development, in partnership with shoreline cities and counties, often with funding from the state’s Coastal Conservancy. So far, 330 miles of the 500-mile trail have been completed with segments connecting all nine Bay Area counties.
However, the laws and government agencies that were created to slow a shrinking bay are now adapting to accommodate a rising reality. The Bay Trail represents just one of many coastal assets that San Mateo County could potentially lose to sea level rise in the absence of intervention. Thankfully, San Mateo County’s Sea Level Rise Vulnerability Assessment is underway, which will serve as the basis on which to create an adaptation plan for shoreline communities. But for now, I highly recommend hopping on your bike and taking full advantage of this regional treasure.
*Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of SeaChangeSMC (or the County of San Mateo).