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After the flood

Submitted by on 1, March 12, 2009 – 6:45 am7 Comments

6Oakland’s Pacific Institute has released a new study projecting the effects of sea level rise through 2100 and, well … let’s just say that developer SunCal might want to consider putting houseboats out at Alameda Point.

They’re anticipating a 1.4-meter sea level rise (about 4 1/2 feet) by 2100, which would cause $100 billion in damage and impact nearly half a million Californians. Two-thirds of the impact would be here in the Bay Area.

Maps generated by the institute show Alameda Point pretty much underwater. Couldn’t find Bay Farm Island (though previous reports show they’d be a bit wet themselves).

The report’s authors suggest “armoring” the coast … and limiting development in the anticipated flood zones. SunCal’s Pat Keliher has said the developer plans to raise parts of the Point with 18 inches of fill and, if necessary, a levee system.

For just a little more on this, you can check out this piece in the Mercury News.


  • Jason says:

    A google-based map of the risk areas is at


    Bay Farm island will indeed be quite wet.

  • DL Morrison says:

    Thanks very much for posting this. SunCal has currently projected a 1.5' sea level rise, as well as a 100-year flood of 3.5' (for 5' total), and even with that lesser projection, much of the site is underwater — that is, much of the site has an elevation which is less than 5' above sea level. SunCal plans to fill a portion of the site, and has considered building a levee as well.

    With this new projection though of an ~4.5 sea level rise, the entire plan would have to factor in an additional 3' rise (above the projected 1.5' sea level rise), which would then require, for example, levees at least 8' above current sea level (the 4.5' sea level rise + the 3.5' for the 100 year tide). Note that much of the site is ~not~ going to receive fill under the SunCal plan, in particular all of the adaptive reuse area, where the historic buildings are and where the sports facility will be. So (without the 8' levee) this whole area will be underwater by the end of this century.

    Since the flooding will continue well to the ~east~ of the SunCal site, it's reasonable to ask whether they'll build a levee that completely encircles the site, and then perhaps an elevated causeway leading so the site.

    I attended the SunCal presentation last night w/ the Alameda Democratic Club, and heard Pat Keliher say that the site has "many constraints". I guess so.

  • DL Morrison says:

    No sorry, I did not take notes, but I'd say it was a routine presentation for SunCal. Peter Calthorpe did the presentation itself, and then both he and Pat Keliher answered questions.

  • David Howard says:

    I say we better start building to the de-salination plants to start pumping de-sal ocean water into the (dry) inland water reservoirs.

  • David Howard says:

    I'm glad to hear that the obvious has finally resonated with the appropriate folks. All I see in the media are separate news threads about 1) the impending doom of sea-level rise and 2) the ongoing drought.

    By the way, Alameda Point would be a great place to build a de-sal planet, re-using one of those massive industrial buildings with high-amp electrical service. Rather than being short-sighted and thinking about only building houses.

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