Science for a Blue Planet

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Sea Level Rise Adaptation Framework

Webinar Release a Success!

Thank you to the 174 participants of our webinar release hosted by Point Blue Conservation Science, the San Francisco Estuary Institute, and the County of Marin, on October 15th, 2019. Find the recording here.

Planning with Nature

Point Blue Conservation Science and the San Francisco Estuary Institute, in partnership with the County of Marin, developed the Sea Level Rise Adaptation Framework. It is a user guide to help planners and others to include nature-based strategies to address sea level rise hazards. The framework helps planners determine which nature-based measures are suitable given specific site conditions, and offers an approach for evaluating which combination of measures are the most appropriate to achieve desired outcomes. Nature-based solutions to sea-level rise include measures like restoring coarse beaches where appropriate to reduce wave energy, conserving and restoring wetlands that can act as buffers, and preparing “migration spaces” that marshes can transition into as sea levels rise.

The resources in the user guide are intended to help coastal decision-makers (1) efficiently identify a range of natural and nature-based, landscape-scale adaptation strategies that can address coastal climate change vulnerabilities, and (2) evaluate how well these adaptation strategies achieve coastal community and stakeholder objectives, and prioritize their implementation. We demonstrate the application of the framework by illustrating the decision-making process with examples from two regions of the Marin County shoreline.

The framework, case studies, and resources presented in our user guide are a step toward addressing the challenges in transitioning from community vulnerability assessment to action. The adaptation phase of Marin County’s Bay Waterfront Adaptation and Vulnerability Evaluation (BayWAVE) project was used as a test case with the intent that the framework developed be applicable around the entire San Francisco Estuary and beyond.

Download our 2-pager

Download the Framework document

Explore Partner Resources

  • County of Marin BayWAVE: sea level rise planning on Marin’s bayside
  • San Francisco Estuary Institute and San Francisco Bay Area Planning and Urban Research Association’s San Francisco Bay Shoreline Adaptation Atlas: for more on Operational Landscape Units and suitability of a variety of adaptation measures (green/grey, structural and non-structural) for San Francisco Bay


We thank the Buck Family Fund of the Marin Community Foundation and the California State Coastal Conservancy for providing funding for this project under the Advancing Nature-Based Adaptation Solutions in Marin County grant program.


Sam Veloz, Ph.D,
Ecoinformatics and Climate Solutions Director
Point Blue Conservation Science

Find out more about Point Blue’s work to protect our shorelines.