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Partnering with Five Bay Area Community Organizations to Build Local and Regional Resilience

Local workshop on the Regional Shoreline Adaptation Plan Guidelines co-hosted with the Hood Planning Group at the MLK Shoreline Park in East Oakland. Photo by BCDC.

As sea level rise becomes a more urgent concern around the Bay Area, community organizations are rising to the challenge to understand how climate change will impact their neighborhoods and ensure their communities are protected into the future. BCDC is honored to be partnering with five incredible Bay Area community-based organizations (CBOs) who are working to address a variety of social, environmental, and climate justice issues in their communities. Each of these organizations have been working closely with their communities to build awareness, momentum, and improve the capacity of community members to participate in local government efforts to respond to sea level rise and coastal flooding. From grassroots initiatives to community-government partnerships, these organizations are driving local activism and advocacy to help build a safe, healthy, sustainable future for all Bay Area communities.

As part of the process for developing subregional adaptation plan guidelines for the Regional Shoreline Adaptation Plan (RSAP), BCDC is working closely with these CBOs to co-host five local workshops in May and June 2024 centered in vulnerable shoreline communities. Attending these local workshops will be a range of local residents and community members, local Elected Officials, government staff, and key stakeholders who have been engaged in ongoing sea level rise planning efforts. The workshops will build upon these local efforts while exploring how the guidelines in the RSAP can best meet both local and regional needs as we work together to achieve the RSAP’s working One Bay Vision.


Who are these wonderful community partners? Let’s meet them!

Climate Resilient Communities

Climate Resilient Communities (CRC), serving communities in East Palo Alto, Belle Haven, and North Fair Oaks, works to provide community-based solutions to environmental justice issues that amplify local voices and empower them to take action. They focus on traditionally underserved communities that are more vulnerable to the consequences of climate change. Through programming that promotes tangible adaptation solutions, resilient homes, and  youth education, CRC builds alliances and develops strategies to battle climate-related challenges.  In addition to the impactful local work in East Palo Alto, Belle Haven and North Fair Oaks, CRC has emerged as a regional climate leader, working closely with BCDC and leading BayCAN. In addition to working on the RSAP outreach, Executive Director Violet Saena is part of and co-chairs numerous critically important BCDC groups, including serving as an Environmental Justice Advisor and co-chair of the Bay Adapt Implementation Coordinating Group, and Resilient Homes Manager Kamille Lang is helping design the Rising Resilience: Bay Adapt Summit coming in August (stay tuned for more information)  Learn more:

Hood Planning Group

Hood Planning, based in East Oakland, facilitates the involvement of frontline communities in local planning, development, and design processes concerning land use and the built environment. This encompasses aspects such as green infrastructure, social connections, cultural pathways, and water systems. Racial and economic equality are at the forefront of Hood Planning’s work, and they utilize culturally affirming outreach and engagement strategies to get residents involved. Hood Planning is working to ensure that communities in East Oakland are aware of their climate risks and are able to actively engage in the processes to ensure their communities are more resilient. A first step of this is reconnecting East Oakland residents to the shoreline and they do this by activating people, places, and spaces. They encourage reconnecting to nature as a form of healing and encourage residents to become designers and stewards of their 'hoods. Learn more:

The Watershed Project

The Watershed Project (TWP), serving many communities including North Richmond, is an environmental nonprofit dedicated to protecting and restoring the San Francisco Bay Area watershed. With a mission to inspire Bay Area communities to appreciate and care for their local watersheds, the organization engages in a variety of initiatives. These include creek and shoreline restoration projects, installing greening infrastructure such as bioswales, K-12 and public educational programs, and advocacy efforts that aim to build environmental and climate resilience and equity. The Watershed Project places a particular focus on including underserved communities and making sure that they have a seat at the decision-making table. The Watershed Project has been an integral leader in the North Richmond Shoreline Adaptation participatory planning process. The vision is centered on community education and engagement—ensuring that this large-scale, green infrastructure project benefits people’s health while protecting residents from sea level rise. Additionally, TWP have been leaders in K-12 watershed education at places like Verde Elementary School, and in restoring the three creeks that drain the San Pablo Bay Watersheds. Executive Director Juliana Gonzales believes that nature-based solutions are the only way we can effectively mitigate and innovate against climate change impacts. “Every tree planted in our neighborhood helps not only improve the air, but also to store the water and cool the land,” she says. “Natural landscapes provide many benefits to all the people and wildlife that inhabit them.” Learn more:

The Canal Alliance

Canal Alliance is a nonprofit organization with a 42-year history of serving the immigrant community in Marin County through advocacy, community engagement and direct services in immigration, education, workforce development, behavioral health and social services. Their mission is to break the generational cycle of poverty for Latinx immigrants and their families by lifting barriers to their success. Canal Alliance advocates for this community at the local level by building coalitions, developing local leadership, organizing residents, mobilizing voters, and supporting equity-based public policy. On regional, state, and federal levels, they partner with organizations to advocate for more equitable policies and investments in immigrant communities. Canal Alliance is based in and serves residents of the Canal neighborhood in San Rafael, which is one of the communities most vulnerable to sea level rise in the Bay Area. CEO Omar Carrera is actively engaged in BCDC committees including the Bay Adapt Implementation Coordinating Group. Canal Alliance staff work to ensure that Canal residents are aware of the threats sea level rise may bring to their community and are actively working together with local government to implement actions to protect the shoreline and surrounding community. Learn more:

Sustainable Solano

Sustainable Solano is an organization committed to fostering sustainable living practices and resilient communities. Through educational programs and workshops, along with community partnerships, they empower residents to adopt environmentally friendly practices such as water conservation and sustainable agriculture. By advocating for local food systems and eco-friendly landscaping, Sustainable Solano endeavors to create a more sustainable future while strengthening community connections and resilience. Sustainable Solano organizes community members and leaders dedicated to addressing these challenges through nature-based solutions that harness the power of natural landscapes to protect the region’s lands and future generations for a changing climate. Sustainable Solano’s Resilient Communities Program Manager, Alex Lunine, is focused on engaging residents in creating ecologically regenerative, economically, and socially just communities in Solano County. The organization supports the creation of garden installations, greywater systems, drought-resistant gardens, and more throughout public and community spaces and private homes. Learn more:

How did we identify these five CBOs to partner with?

As part of the RSAP’s commitment to building and sustaining equitable partnerships, BCDC first engaged with our Equity and Environmental Justice Representatives on the RSAP Advisory Group to identify interested partners, followed by reaching out to Equity representatives in the Bay Adapt Implementation Coordinating Group, and then identifying community organizations who have been supporting community participation in local sea level rise efforts. We also considered the geographic distribution of our partners to ensure insights and perspectives from locations around the Bay Area are incorporated.


Do you have any questions about the CBO workshops? Email [email protected].

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Jaclyn Perrin-Martinez

Jaclyn Perrin-Martinez

Jaclyn Perrin-Martinez is a Senior Climate Adaptation Planner at the Bay Conservation and Development Commission (BCDC) and project manager of the Regional Shoreline Adaptation Plan.

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