Planning for the San Francisco Bay, Wayne Gretzky Style

BY JORDAN SALINGER
November 12, 2009

image How fast do you have to be to outrun rising tides?  According to Will Travis, of the Bay Conservation and Development Commission this is a challenge that the Bay Area faces. Travis informed and entertained a large crowd at a forum at the Urban Center this past Tuesday, covering a wide range of issues including environmental justice, adaption strategies, importance of tidal wetlands, and his thoughts for the future of the bay.

Climate change poses a severe threat to the San Francisco Bay.  Ocean water temperatures will continue to increase, sea levels will inevitably rise, and storms will become more violent. Decreases in the Sierra snowpack will mean less fresh water in the spring and summer months, allowing salt water to travel further up the delta than ever before.

While his prognosis was certainly bleak, Travis offered a wide range of strategies aimed at combating these changes. Some of these strategies included the protection of tidal wetlands, continued compact mixed use development near transit, and planning for future, and not present, conditions. Travis concluded his remarks by quoting hockey legend Wayne Gretzky who said the goal is to "skate not where the puck is, but to where it will be," emphasizing the importance of making sure our plans stay ahead of changing conditions and rising tides.