West Bay Sanitary District’s Ecotone Levee – Using Nature Based Solutions to Safeguard Critical Infrastructure in San Francisco Bay

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Laura Moran, Mark Brandi , Lauren Huff, Ben Snyder, Lorraine Htoo, Richard Laureta, Sergio Ramirez, Phil Scott

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West Bay Sanitary District’s flow equalization and resource recovery facility is surrounded by levees designed to protect the site from tidal intrusion, as well as to protect San Francisco Bay from wastewater treated at the facility during certain wet weather conditions when wastewater diversion to the facility is necessary. Several areas along the levee are lower than the FEMA floodplain elevation, no longer protect the facility from tides, and do not protect against sea level rise. In coordination with state and federal resource agencies, design engineers, ecological restoration specialists, non-profits and university research affiliates, the District has incorporated an Ecotone Levee and Living Shoreline into the levee design. This nature based approach aims to meet regional and national climate change resiliency goals by mitigating the impact of coastal flooding and risk to key infrastructure while preserving the habitat functions and values of coastal marsh habitat through decades of sea level rise. The levee incorporates a stairstep design that allows for near-term enhancement of existing marsh while allowing for migration of low, mid, and high marsh habitats through currently modeled sea level rise scenarios. This project will contribute to the local integrity of San Francisco Bay’s shoreline ecology for the benefit of fish and wildlife for decades by incorporating long term monitoring and adaptive management plans.

Resource Type:
Conference Presentation, SER2021

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