Magazine Features

Big Projects, Wet Feet: Mega Developments Hedge on Sea-Level Rise

On September 3, 2019, Golden State Warriors CEO Rick Welts stood proudly in front of the newly inaugurated $1.4 billion Chase Center basketball arena. “A brand new journey starts today,” he promised the assembled luminaries and fans. Having built on Mission Bay’s watery footprint, the Warriors defended their new arena against sea-level rise, saying in an official statement it will stay dry in 2100 “even with the anticipated 36 inches of sea-level rise.” Just three weeks later, a massive $1 billion dollar housing and commercial development less than a mile upshore from the Chase Center received permission to break ground. Dubbed “Mission Rock,” the project is also designed for sea-level rise: 66 inches by 2100. In other words, almost twice as much as its waterfront neighbor. Over the past decade a wave of these shoreline “mega-developments” have hit the Bay...

Tending the Urban Earth and Its People

While most activities ground to a halt in the COVID-19 crisis, nature didn’t skip a beat at urban farms across the Bay Area. Urban farms meet an array of local needs, whether it’s for organic food, living wage jobs, a community center, or a place to connect with nature. With the COVID crisis, and with many American communities touched by loss and fighting racism, these needs have become even more acute. Farms, gardens, and nurseries across the Bay Area are rising to the challenge. Times of extraordinary change reveal how future climate injustices may well play out: the “haves” marshal the means to protect themselves and the “have-nots” bear the burden of impacts. In particular, the nation is gaining painful insight into how pre-existing vulnerabilities and prejudices get lethally compounded in a crisis. The voices of Bay Area farmers, shared...

PERSPECTIVES

Never before has it been more important to imagine and invest in a future that is decidedly different than the world we are facing today. The COVID-19 pandemic and the protests sparked by police brutality have laid out in stark terms the underlying systemic inequalities and racism in our society that make poor, elderly, black, and brown people socioeconomically vulnerable and expose them to trauma and risk.  These vulnerabilities will only be exacerbated by climate change, unless we work together now to achieve multiple objectives: address inequality and systemic racism; create equity in terms of health and access to opportunity for low-income communities of color; and invest in strategies to reduce the impacts of extreme storms, flooding, sea-level rise, wildfires, and other hazards for communities most at risk. COVID-19 also makes an indisputable case for a decidedly unsexy focus on...
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Pearls in the ocean of information that our reporters didn’t want you to miss

Beaver dams may offer wildfire protection to western watersheds, in addition to providing better-known benefits such as groundwater recharge, wetland and habitat creation, and riparian restoration.

A new study by California State University Channel Islands professor Emily Fairfax analyzed satellite-derived vegetation indices of riparian areas and beaver dams mapped via Google Earth. At the same time, Fairfax analyzed data for large (over 30,000 acre) wildfires that had occurred between 2000 and 2018 in California, Wyoming, Colorado, Idaho, and Oregon, and compared...

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ESTUARY News is the 25-year-old regional magazine of the San Francisco Estuary Partnership and its myriad partners around the Bay and Delta. Written by professional, independent journalists, it provides in-depth, silo-crossing coverage of the environmental, restoration, and climate adaptation issues of our time, and tells the stories behind the 2016 Estuary Blueprint.

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