SF Plans Retreat From the Ocean

Bay area threatened by sea rise

Noah Aldonas

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San Francisco is planning for sea rise on a grand scale with ideas for a managed retreat from coastal areas that are prone to storm surge.

In the Ocean Beach Master Plan, environmental groups along with city council members are acknowledging failed attempts by the city to protect its Pacific Coast. The city originally built the Great Highway along Ocean Beach by flattening sand dunes and pushing the shoreline out about 200 feet. But as with many attempts to govern the greatest force on the planet, the city was forced to pump money into the area constantly to prevent the ocean from retaking it’s forming territory.

Currently, the southbound lanes of the Great Highway are closed due to erosion and traffic has been diverted onto the median. This isn’t temporary, though; traffic has been taking this detour since huge storms in 2010.

The plan to move the highway to the other side of the coastal community could cost as much as $350 million, but officials believe that this will be less expensive than continuing to battle erosion. San Francisco will be closely watched by other coastal cities in the U.S., such as New York, as they too prepare for sea rise.


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