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Our Coast Our Future

Grant Ballard, PhD

Sea level rise is a growing concern throughout the San Francisco Bay area. Here, heavy winter rain runoff and an extreme high tide flooded part of the North Bay shoreline. Photo by Peter Baye / USGS.
Today the question guiding our conversations may not be “What science is most needed?” but instead “What information do we already have and how does it shape what’s needed next?” Often this boils down to relationships: who needs information, who has the needed information, and how can these people get together in a productive exchange? Many of PRBO’s newest projects tackle this challenge head-on. In the San Francisco Bay area, so many people are working on aspects of environmental change—science, policy, restoration, protection—that connecting all the “right” people initially seems impossible. But a project called Our Coast Our Future(1) has PRBO teamed up with physical scientists at USGS(2) and stakeholder organizers at NOAA(3) to host a series of workshops to map out “who knows what, what is most needed where and when, and what are the gaps?” Sea-level rise and potential changes in storm frequency and intensity make these conversations urgent. After two years we are set to release the first resources that, based on the community’s self-reported priorities, will help “connect the dots.”

(1)Learn more at

(2)United State Geological Survey

(3)National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration