Letters from the Executive Director

Call for Action:  Support for a Resilient Shore partnership with the City of San Rafael

These are difficult times for all of us. The City of San Rafael is responding to tremendous demands from the pandemic crisis. As City revenues plummet due to Covid-19, the budget deficit for next fiscal year is projected to be over $4 million despite drastic cost-cutting measures. The Community Development Department alone has twelve positions it cannot fill.

The stark reality is this: the City has neither the staff or the resources it needs to conduct the complex planning processes required to prepare for sea level rise adaptation and reducing flood risk.  

Existential threats posed by climate change aren’t going away: instead, as this year’s wildfires have demonstrated, the impacts are getting worse. Now is the time for out-of-the box-solutions and actions. Resilient Shore stands ready to help in raising funds and providing expertise to support city staff.

In the immediate future, the City must submit letters of intent to be eligible for major grants from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and California Proposition 68 by mid- to late September.  We aim to assist the City by working with staff to verify programmatic requirements and prepare the draft letters of intent for at least two grants. These will focus on two areas: planning, community engagement and capacity building and project funding for wetlands restoration and infrastructure to reduce flood risk.

If the granting agencies find the letters compelling, they will invite San Rafael to submit grant applications.  At that time, we will propose partnering with the City, the Canal Alliance, Multicultural Marin, Sustainable San Rafael, environmental organizations, stakeholders and neighborhoods to support a community-driven planning process.

On August 18, 2020, Resilient Shore submitted a draft Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to the City of San Rafael to establish the terms for a cooperative relationship between the City and Resilient Shore. This is designed to provide minimal risk to the City and allow Resilient Shore to assist the city in applying for grants and raising private donations for a Shore and Watershed Adaptation Master Plan and related projects.  The MOU could be terminated by the city for any reason without risk or penalty.

With an MOU in place, Resilient Shore has the standing to seek donations from major stakeholders and assist the City in getting grants. Without it, our ability to secure major grants for the City and raise additional funds is severely constrained.

We need your help to secure the city’s agreement on the MOU. You can do this by writing a letter of support. A link to a sample support letter was provided in the most recent emailed newsletter.

We welcome you to compose your own letter or revise the sample letter by adding information about how you/your organization is interested in participating in the planning process and emailing the letter to jr@resilientshore.org

This will allow us to assemble the letters and present them as a group to the City Council and senior city staff.

Now is the time for all of us to stand together with our City to create a resilient, just and sustainable San Rafael for ourselves and future generations.

Together we can do this!

Jeffrey D Rhoads, RA LEED AP

Executive Director

Summer 2020

All Hands on Deck!

The Covid-19 Pandemic has grabbed our attention and disrupted our world. However, the Climate Crisis isn’t going away. Its urgency is just more evident. The seeds for transformative change are planted during times of crisis.  Now is the time for bold action!

Resilient Shore is recruiting. We want you!

We need donors:  People willing to fund our work to bring people together, secure grants and assist the City of San Rafael in preparing a citizen based Adaptation Plan for our bay shore and watersheds.

We need thought leaders: People with vision, prepared to lead others in making our environment more resilient to the impacts of the Climate Crisis.  Folks who are prepared to show ways to eliminate greenhouse gas, sequester carbon and reduce our ecological footprint.

We need community activists: People prepared to organize neighbors and communities to reduce flood risk, adapt to rising seas and improve access for the Canal Neighborhood and Southeast San Rafael.

We need people fluent in Spanish: To help us reach our underrepresented neighbors.

We need citizen scientists, engineers and designers: People prepared to roll up their sleeves to participate in research, analysis and design for adaptation solutions.

We need citizens and stakeholder representatives: People prepared to participate in the creation of the Adaptation Plan, propose ideas, consider their impacts and help identify adaptation solutions for San Rafael.

Tell us who you are and where and how you can help. 

The Bay Area crushed the Novel Corona (Covid-19) Pandemic curve with early strategic action.  Let’s do the same with the Climate Crisis and our City.


Spring 2020

San Rafael’s General Plan 2040 has been underway for about 18 months. Preparing for rising seas is a concern shared by city staff, consultants and the steering committee. Paul Jensen, the city’s Director of Community Development, is writing an Adaptation Report to include as an appendix in the new General Plan. The report will summarize available information on hazards and planning strategies and will provide a basis for preparation of an Adaptation Plan in the future. Additionally, General Plan land policies are proposed to identify areas at risk from flooding and sea level rise and measures to reduce risk for future construction.

Resilient Shore is focused on ensuring San Rafael’s General Plan 2040 includes a Sea Level Rise Adaptation Plan. We aim to help the City by assisting in securing grants, working with the Marin Community Foundation, and preparing our community – including all the varied stakeholders – to be active and informed participants in a citizen-driven planning process.

Our success with providing timely and engaging content is dependent on your continued interest and willingness to share your own shore and waterfront stories. Get in touch with us! Some possible topics include habitat conservation and restoration, historical aspects of our shoreline, recreational activities, maritime businesses, flood risk and solutions, emergency preparedness, and evacuation strategies.

Resilient Shore is a team of biologists, engineers, flood risk managers, town and landscape scale planners, community engagement specialists and other experts.  We are a community supported non-profit project.  Help us make our shore better and more resilient by making tax deductible contributions to Resilient Shore through MarinLINK our fiscal sponsor.

Note: Beginning in 2020, Resilient Shore newsletters are published entirely online, and available by subscribing to our mailing list.

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