Squeezed by Geography

Marin County

By Nate Seltenrich

In most respects, Marin County is a privileged place. It ranks first in the Bay Area for income per capita and includes many of the region’s priciest zip codes. But its miles of Bay and ocean shoreline and many low-lying towns, positioned to afford easy coastal access and world-class scenery, represent a major liability in the era of sea-level rise. “Marin is the canary in the coal mine in some ways, because almost everything is in that narrow strip along the Bay,” says Roger Leventhal, a senior engineer with Marin County Public Works. Climate adaptation efforts include new financial resources for flood and fire, new planning and land use guidelines, new city resilience plans, and a major push for more community engagement with those most at risk. “The idea is to bring in people who may not normally be at the table, to create real equity, where those people are getting heard and sharing input that officials might hear and take back into their plans,” says Marco Berger of Drawdown Marin.

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About the author

Nate Seltenrich is a freelance science and environmental journalist who covers infrastructure, restoration, and related topics for Estuary. He also contributes to the San Francisco Chronicle, Sonoma and Marin magazines, the journal Environmental Health Perspectives, and other local and national publications, on subjects ranging from public lands and renewable energy to the human health impacts of climate change. He lives in Petaluma with his wife, two boys, and four ducks. www.nate-reports.com