McNear Brick and Block company sits on a piece of land jutting out into the San Francisco Bay in East San Rafael. Situated on an ancient Native American shell mound, the factory was built on what came to be known as McNear Point (or Point San Pedro) in the heyday of Marin County’s post-gold rush manufacturing and shipping boom.
Global sea level rise threatens a large area of San Rafael as much of our waterfront is unprotected and difficult to access in case of emergency. The good news is that community organizations, residents, and business owners are already working together to create plans for emergency preparedness.
When people better understand each other’s needs, it is easier to develop mutual respect and trust. We’ll work on identifying a range of potential risk-reduction and adaptation solutions through community-based planning. That way we can evaluate social, economic and environmental impacts and build consensus on how to move forward together.
Most of east San Rafael and much of downtown San Rafael are below today’s high tide levels and would flood today were it not for three miles of levees along the bay front and another seven miles along the Canal. Nearly 8 of these 10 miles of levee are below today’s “100-year flood” elevation and are very vulnerable to rising sea levels flooding over the top. Were flooding to happen, there could be as much as 2 to 3 feet of water today and deeper in the future with sea level rise.
The sparkling, boat-lined San Rafael Canal (AKA the San Rafael Channel) is not merely a pretty waterscape feature of our beloved city, but also a vital part of the economy and a critical element in water drainage and safety for our homes and businesses.
We aim to expand community knowledge and appreciation of this remarkable resource by running stories about the different things people are doing on and around the shore. We will also share stories about local history and the cultural evidence it has left on the landscape. Illuminating threats to the shore including habitat, critical infrastructure, public services and vulnerable communities and identifying potential solutions is a major part of our beat.