Climate Adaptation in Corte Madera Marsh

Corte Madera Marsh Ecological Reserve in Marin County is exposed to wind waves, ringed with both historic and restored wetlands, and has a history of erosion and flooding. All of these factors make lower Corte Madera Creek an ideal test site for new climate change adaptation research.

Corte Madera Marsh Ecological Reserve in Marin County is exposed to wind waves, ringed with both historic and restored wetlands, and has a history of erosion and flooding. All of these factors make lower Corte Madera Creek an ideal test site for new climate change adaptation research.

“If we can figure out how resilient this wetland is, and what it’s sensitive to, then we can get a better idea of how to manage it to retain its flood control benefits and other ecosystem services as our climate changes,” says Wendy Goodfriend, Senior Coastal Planner at the San Francisco Bay Conservation and Development Commission (BCDC).” Read the article on the Lower Corte Madera Creek Project in Bay Nature.

The project was one of the first efforts along the San Francisco Bay shoreline to look at how to reduce the vulnerability of tidal wetlands to sea level rise. The Bay Conservation and Development Commission and team are doing this work to better understand flood control and wave attenuation benefits of tidal wetlands, the vulnerability of tidal wetlands to sea level rise, and ways to improve the resiliency of this critical habitat so that flood control and wave attenuation benefits of are maintained into the future.

In the winter of 2009, USGS collected high-resolution landscape and bay-floor data and placed instruments to measure the attenuation of wave energy across the tidal wetlands.  In the fall of 2010, researchers gathered data on the erodability of the sediments in the marsh. Project outcomes will include wetland restoration strategies that will increase resilience to, and mitigation of, climate change impacts on water quality; design recommendations for shoreline adaptation strategies that reduce shoreline flooding while conserving or restoring wetlands; and distribution of climate preparedness packages to local governments.

The study was done along the Corte Madera shoreline in Marin County by the USGS, University of San Francisco, UNESCO-IHE, Sea Engineering, Inc., and ESA PWA working along with the Marin County Flood Control District.

Read the Final Report Here

Read the Executive Summary Here