2018 National Planning Conference

Using Nature To Fight Nature's Threats

Saturday, April 13, 2019, 4:15 p.m. - Saturday, April 13, 2019, 5:30 p.m. PDT

CM | 1.25

Activity Type: Educational Sessions

Activity ID: NPC198205

Location: 2001

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  • Understand the threats of sea level rise and the response needed from professional planners.
  • Come to appreciate how new nature-based ("green") adaptations to sea level rise can be effective in protecting both the built and natural environments from sea level rise and intensified storm damage.
  • Comprehend the significant amount of work that must be done to make nature-based adaptations viable, and how Planners can contribute to that effort.


Marin County, California,has worked to expand the tools available to defend against sea level rise (SLR), adding new nature-based “green” options to the repertoire of traditional ‘gray’ structures. This session examines the feasibility of constructing a resilient dune ecosystem to maintain beach access as a recreational resource for users of all socioeconomic circumstances, enhances existing habitats, and provide flood and erosion protection against rising seas. Examine regulatory, economic and financing factors. Review progress in other green adaptation technologies, such as "living shorelines", where creating reefs of oysters, enhancing eelgrass beds, and using other techniques reduce wave heights to limit flooding. Receive provides guides to San Francisco Bay Area examples of nature-based projects.

Marin County was among the first California local governments to commit to addressing sea level rise and maintains a leadership position. In 2014, the county launched Collaboration: Sea-Level Marin Adaptation Response Team (C-SMART), a public participation- intense program to develop adaptation solutions for West Marin. We developed the Game of Floods, an award-winning (APA included) hands-on adaptation simulation, which became hugely successful in engaging the diversity of the County’s population in preparing for coming perils. The game will be part of the session.

This course is approved to offer 1.25 PDH|HSW (ASLA).

Session Speakers

Jeremy Lowe
San Francisco Estuary Institute

Marilyn Latta
State Coastal Conservancy

Doug George
California State Parks
San Francisco

Alex R. Westhoff, AICP
San Francisco, CA

Jack Liebster
County of Marin
Corte Madera, CA