Greener Fatter Levees Boon to Richmond Resilience?

Contra Costa County

By Daniel McGlynn

In May, despite the now normal issues of groups gathering for video calls and virtual PowerPoints, the San Francisco Bay Restoration Authority voted unanimously to fund the early stages of a massive new infrastructure project along the North Richmond shoreline with a grant of $644,709. The shoreline is now one step closer to becoming home to a horizontal, or living, levee that provides both flood protection and habitat. The proposed project, in the planning stages since 2017, will be anchored near a wastewater treatment plant managed by the West County Wastewater District. “The proposed project will go beyond just protecting the water treatment plant ratepayers,” says project manager Josh Bradt of the San Francisco Estuary Partnership. “It will provide a greater public benefit.” The facility, just north of the Richmond Bridge and situated among the marshes fed by Wildcat and San Pablo creeks, is vulnerable to flooding.

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Photo: Rollingwood flooding from Rheem Creek by Margarito P. Gomez

Previous Estuary News Stories

Building Equity in the Urban Fabric and Forest, North Richmond, June 2018

North Richmond Transitions, June 2018

Supershore at Giant Marsh, Living Shoreline Contra Costa Shore, June 2019


Richmond Living Levee Project, Restoration Authority

Resilient by Design | Bay Area Challenge Vision for North Richmond Horizontal Levee

BCDC ART Report for Contra Costa County-West County

BCDC ART Report for Contra Costa County-East County

2019 UC Berkeley Goldman School Study

Rheem Creek Fact Sheet

Rheem Creek Project Summary, Watershed Project

Contra Costa County’s Green Infrastructure Plan

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About the author

Daniel McGlynn worked as an itinerant naturalist, trip leader, and wilderness guide before serving as an environmental educator with the Peace Corps in rural Nicaragua. Realizing that storytelling is a great educational tool, and productive way to inspire understanding and change, he then turned his attention to science and environmental writing. He is an alum of UC Berkeley’s Graduate School of Journalism and his work has appeared in a handful of national publications. He frequently writes about infrastructure projects and restoration work for Estuary News. Connect with him at

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