Getting adaptation projects approved and built can be challenging.
Permitting and construction should accelerate, not hold back, resilient shoreline adaptation projects that value ecosystems and people, align with the region’s vision and funding priorities, and apply innovative approaches. Measures to smooth and speed regulatory approvals for multi-benefit projects are important. Other measures can help facilitate place-based collaboration around project development and remove logistical challenges to construction.
Dedicate a multi-agency group to work collaboratively on permits for adaptation projects that reflect regional guidelines and have been identified as regional priorities (see Ideas for the Bay Area at right for a possible model or forum). Achieve smoother, speedier regulatory approvals that don’t compromise environmental protections, transparency, or community engagement by:
See Task 7.1 in the Draft Implementation Brief for details and ideas for advancing the Joint Platform actions.
The San Francisco Bay Restoration Regulatory Integration Team (BRRIT) is a multi-agency team dedicated to improving the permitting of multi-benefit habitat restoration projects and associated flood management and public access in and along San Francisco Bay. The BRRIT consists of staff from state and federal regulatory agencies who work closely with project proponents from the pre-permit application stage through permit completion. However, the BRRIT is a small team that reviews only a limited number of habitat projects and has a limited scope. The BRRIT could be expanded to cover additional green or hybrid shoreline protection projects, or a similar team could be created to handle projects that provide regional adaptation benefit but do not meet current BRRIT criteria.
Review plans and laws, including BCDC’s Bay Plan, RWQCB’s Basin Plan, the California Endangered Species Act, California Environmental Quality Act, National Environmental Policy Act, Federal Clean Water Act, and Federal Endangered Species Act, to pinpoint policies that may unintentionally impede permitting or construction of adaptation projects. Starting with local and regional plans and policies, develop consensus on recommended policy changes that balance original intent with changing conditions due to sea level rise, and help facilitate multi-benefit projects. The scope of the review could include:
See Task 7.2 in the Draft Implementation Brief for details and ideas for advancing the Joint Platform actions.
In 2016, BCDC completed Policies for a Rising Bay, which outlines the policy issues identified in the Commission’s laws and policies in light of new challenges, including sea level rise. The report identifies four policy issues where BCDC’s policies were found to be inadequate regarding risks associated with rising sea levels, including:
In 2019, BCDC adopted its Fill for Habitat and Environmental Justice Bay Plan Amendments that formally amended its regulatory program to address these policy gaps.
Rewards projects that value inclusive engagement and equitable outcomes.
Rewards projects that value long-term protection of Bay habitats and natural and nature-based adaptation outcomes.
Rewards projects that protect jobs, businesses, and infrastructure.
Jump start critical local projects that also contribute to regional goals using collectively developed plan guidelines and minimum requirements (Task 1.1), tied to financial incentives (Task 6.2) and permitting incentives (Task 7.1). Projects eligible for financial incentives should be included in successful local plans that follow compatible guidelines (Task 5.1).
Guidelines should be developed with the input of many stakeholders but may provide:
Guidelines should be made easily accessible via regional technical assistance programs (Task 4.2).
See Task 8.1 in the Draft Implementation Brief for details and ideas for advancing the Joint Platform actions.
Establish place-based, ongoing work groups to coordinate large-scale, multi-jurisdictional plans and projects. Provide a forum for building relationships among agencies, project proponents, and communities, enhancing communication, transparency, and synergies among diverse players, and connecting communities to projects they care about.
Create local visions tied to the regional vision (Task 1.1) and share best practices for project design, governance, and delivery. Use a neutral, third-party facilitator to facilitate these groups and help ensure a balance of voices, achieve consensus on common project goals, resolve challenges and conflicts, identify and nurture of project champions, and broker community benefits agreements. Consider formalizing these structures such as in the Hayward example (above) to accelerate project funding, development and construction across jurisdictional boundaries.
See Task 8.2 in the Draft Implementation Brief for details and ideas for advancing the Joint Platform actions.
The Hayward Area Shoreline Planning Agency Joint Powers Authority brings together the City of Hayward, East Bay Regional Parks District, and Hayward Area Recreation and Parks District and works with the Hayward Area Shoreline Citizens Advisory Committee to coordinate agency planning activities and adopt and carry out policies for the improvement of the Hayward Shoreline. It has recently completed and adopted a Shoreline Master Plan that outlines adaptation measures to prepare for sea level rise. Read it Here.
Increase the capacity of contractors to build multi-benefit or nature-based projects. Establish training programs on techniques and approaches to construct natural and nature-based shoreline projects for contractors, aligned with regional project guidelines (Task 1.1) and informed by monitoring data (Task 9.2). Coordinate the use of the limited regional supply of fill across the region and improve fill logistics (e.g. stockpiling, contaminant testing, delivery, etc). Strengthen partnerships with regulated communities. Expand RFP and State bond proposition language to make funding such complex projects more flexible.
Improve construction bidding and contracting processes by:
See Task 8.3 in the Draft Implementation Brief for details and ideas for advancing the Joint Platform actions.
Sediment for Survival, published by the San Francisco Estuary Institute in 2021, analyzes current data and climate projections to determine how much natural sediment may be available for tidal marshes and mudflats and how much supplemental sediment may be needed under different future scenarios, and offers a strategy for sediment delivery that will enable wetlands to survive a changing climate and provide benefits to people and nature for many decades to come. This report can form the foundation for a region-wide conversation about how to meet the region’s future sediment needs for nature-based shoreline adaptation projects. Read it Here.
Advocates for community voices in projects; supports construction practices that minimize impacts to communities and support local businesses.
Expands the ability of contractors to build natural and nature-based solutions.
Facilitates cross-pollination early on, resulting in multi-benefit projects with shared costs; supports construction practices that support local businesses.