Guidance on the Bay Plan policies on climate change

Information to assist in developing projects in line with the Bay Plan’s policies on climate change.

What is the Climate Change Policy Guidance?

The Guidance provides non-regulatory, but interpretive, information to assist in the development of prospective projects in relation to the requirements of the Climate Change policies with permit applicants, local jurisdictions, and the public at large. Staff began drafting the Guidance in 2019 and shared a draft for public comment on March 12th 2021. A public hearing was held towards the end of the public comment period on April 15th, where BCDC Commissioners and members of the public provided feedback on the draft. An external advisory committee of adaptation practitioners and shoreline managers also reviewed an early draft and provided valuable feedback. On July 15th, 2021, the San Francisco Bay Conservation and Development Commission adopted the revised San Francisco Bay Plan Climate Change Policy Guidance as interpretive guidance to communicate the Commission’s past application of its Climate Change policies

How do the Climate Change Policies impact BCDC’s work?

Bay Plan Amendment 1-08 was initiated in November 2008 and unanimously approved in October 2011. The amendment created a new section in the Bay Plan entitled “Climate Change”, and revised sections on Tidal Marshes and Tidal Flats, Safety of Fills, Shoreline Protection, and Public Access, collectively referred to as the Climate Change policies. Since the adoption of the Climate Change policies in 2011, the Commission has applied the policies in the permitting of hundreds of projects. Over time, the Commission’s application of the policies has been refined, including the Commission’s approach to incorporating updates to the best available science. With the 2018 release of the revised State of California Sea-Level Rise Guidance, BCDC has applied the State’s guidance within the context of BCDC’s permitting authority and planning programs. BCDC has also gained significant experience and emerged as a regional leader in the climate adaptation arena, leading the Adapting to Rising Tides Program and interacting regularly with federal, state, regional and local agencies and organizations grappling with climate change.

What is included in the Guidance?

The San Francisco Bay Plan Climate Change Policy Guidance provides example permit language from curated shoreline projects and provides high level technical guidance on using the best available science to select sea level rise projections and assess flooding impacts. The appendices include an overview of climate change and sea level rise science, a description of BCDC’s Adapting to Rising Tides Program, and example risk assessments and adaptive management plans required in part by BCDC’s Climate Change policies.

San Francisco Bay Plan Climate Change Policy Guidance