Town Square

Post a New Topic

With 'horizontal levee,' Palo Alto brings new approach to sea-level rise protection

Original post made on Apr 5, 2023

The newest levee in the Baylands aims to offer protection for critical infrastructure against sea-level rise, a refuge for endangered species and a lesson for other cities and wastewater districts in the Bay Area.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Wednesday, April 5, 2023, 9:07 AM

Comments (10)

Posted by Local Resident
a resident of Community Center
on Apr 5, 2023 at 9:24 am

Local Resident is a registered user.

How many feet of additional sea level rise will it protect from? Hopefully more than 3 feet.

Posted by Mondoman
a resident of Green Acres
on Apr 5, 2023 at 11:27 am

Mondoman is a registered user.

Apparently state guidelines are for 3 feet of rise. Seems like this will basically replace traditional concrete riprap on the levee side with a much longer gentle slope that will allow room for transitional biomes rather than a sudden drop directly into marsh. Seems like a good idea as a better way to fit levees into the environment.

Posted by tmp
a resident of Downtown North
on Apr 5, 2023 at 7:53 pm

tmp is a registered user.

Just a slightly nicer design for a large "bath tub" type ring that we need to build around the bay to keep short sighted developments like the Google and Facebook campuses safe from flooding. We've known about climate change and that sea levels would rise for over 50 years and have had maps showing where it would take place. Why did local cities allowed these developments on the bay side of 101 when they knew they would be flooded in the coming decades? And why do they continue to allow building to take place there. It is yet another failure of our local government system that lets wealthy companies do what they want for the short term gain of tax dollars but then taxpayers are on the hook when they demand that the local government fix the problems that anyone with some foresight knew were coming.

I say let the floods come. Red tag the affected buildings and businesses and force them to move away from the man-made flood areas or if they want to build levees let them pay for it themselves.

Posted by Native to the BAY
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Apr 5, 2023 at 9:50 pm

Native to the BAY is a registered user.

It’s “concerning” when a P & R or any elected body, volunteer commissioner or staff member throw around massive multi billion dollar infrastructure projects as an experiment or data gathering end point. I wonder about HWY 101 and all the 4000 ID’d spots for very low income housing come into play here? Seems that a horizontal levee may only slow the wave where the Freeway and the poor end of lives & homes will actually break the tsunami flood from hitting old PA and Hoover Tower.

Posted by Local Resident
a resident of Community Center
on Apr 6, 2023 at 9:15 am

Local Resident is a registered user.

3 feet of sea level rise is the best case scenario and was based on a state report in 2018 which is now obsolete. 5 - 7 feet is what NOA is predicting as likely by 2100

Posted by Mondoman
a resident of Green Acres
on Apr 6, 2023 at 9:25 am

Mondoman is a registered user.

This levee is only protecting part of the sewage plant, not any tech campuses, so we'd need some kind of levee there anyway. Why not advance the state of the art? We can always build it higher 50 years from now if Bay levels 80 years from now rise as much as you predict.

Posted by JS1
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Apr 6, 2023 at 1:09 pm

JS1 is a registered user.

This levee does virtually nothing to protect Palo Alto residential neighborhoods from SF Baby flooding. Thousands of Palo Alto residences are still in the tidal flood zone that stretches from the Bay inland to the west side of Middlefield Road in places. The Santa Clara Valley Water District is working on a plan to raise the levees that protect Palo Alto, but the work would not be done for years. Palo Alto City Council is aware of this and has not taken any action to accelerate the timing of the project.

Posted by MyFeelz
a resident of another community
on Apr 9, 2023 at 8:43 pm

MyFeelz is a registered user.

Two questions: Has anybody ever read Silent Spring?

And: Anybody taking any bets on this year's snowmelt, and how fast it will occur with rapid heating thanks to climate change?

Bonus question: Does anyone think we are immune from earthquakes here in PA? With the ground so soft and trees are throwing up everywhere even WITHOUT earthquakes?

@Native ... perhaps we will stack up the poor people to provide reinforcement of the good old sandbag levee type, when it comes down to it. In an emergency, there won't be time to improve on this new style. I honestly don't know .... why we pay these idiots ... "impermeable berm" ... tell that to New Orleans ... after they get done engineering impermeable berms, they need to get to working on "tornado proof trees" for places like Mississippi, that just had their trees stripped of limbs in a few hours' notice. And while they're at it, they need to make "F5 Proof Mobile Homes." We are such innovators, why aren't we capturing all of this brainery and sharing it with the masses?

This earworm keeps flowing through my head, Led Zeppelin, "When The Levee Breaks".

Posted by Resident 1-Adobe Meadows
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Apr 10, 2023 at 1:38 pm

Resident 1-Adobe Meadows is a registered user.

Big story in the SFC today about the SF Bay and how it has to be dredged for ships and now going to use the dredged soil and use for levees. When you read these articles you have to wonder why Oakland ever thought it could put a ball park directly on the bay with houses and hotels. And displace the whole port system. It seems that cities on the bay are trying to change the whole economic system that drives the supply chain. When they remove those jobs then they change the whole basis for why we are trying to keep everyone employed. A lot going on that is counter to what ever cities are trying to sell as their city policies.

Posted by MyFeelz
a resident of another community
on Apr 11, 2023 at 6:46 pm

MyFeelz is a registered user.

@Resident, two words: Foster City.

Don't miss out on the discussion!
Sign up to be notified of new comments on this topic.


Post a comment

Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.

Stay informed.

Get the day's top headlines from Palo Alto Online sent to your inbox in the Express newsletter.

Worried about the cost of climate change? Here is some hope.
By Sherry Listgarten | 19 comments | 2,979 views

Make Palo Alto prettier than just its parklets, please
By Diana Diamond | 7 comments | 1,700 views

Two Hours - 75,000 Meals – Wanna Help?
By Laura Stec | 0 comments | 1,486 views


Sign-up now for 5K Run/Walk, 10k Run, Half Marathon

The 39th annual Moonlight Run and Walk is Friday evening, September 29. Join us under the light of the full Harvest Moon on a 5K walk, 5K run, 10K run or half marathon. Complete your race in person or virtually. Proceeds from the race go to the Palo Alto Weekly Holiday Fund, benefiting local nonprofits that serve families and children in Santa Clara and San Mateo Counties.