North Bay Leadership Council endorses Measure AA, the measure to restore Baylands/wetlands and increase flood protection, known as the “Clean and Healthy Bay Ballot Measure,” on the June 2016 ballot. This measure would establish a $12 parcel tax ($1/month) on all property owners in all nine Bay Area counties. A two-thirds vote, Bay Area wide, is required to pass it. If successful, the measure would raise $500 million over 20 years to help fund restoration of more than 15,000 acres of wetlands and tidal marsh that act as natural barriers and would provide funding to construct miles of levees, while also increasing public access to the Bay. This measure is crucial to protecting the Bay and the region’s economy.
The San Francisco Bay is the heart of our region, and its health is central to our economy and our quality of life. Yet, if left unchecked, the increasing flood risks facing the Bay Area could cause major damage and severely cripple the region’s thriving economy. Sea level rise and increasing storm activity due to climate change coupled with an aging levee system and reduced wetlands have made the Bay Area vulnerable to devastating flood events. Compounding the threat, much of the region’s vital infrastructure is located at or below sea level, including airports, hospitals, water treatment plants and many miles of area highways. An estimated $10.4 billion in damages is at stake.
Here are some compelling facts on why the funding from this measure is needed:
- Today, 355,000 Bay Area residents and $46.2 billion in building structures and contents are located on a 100-year flood plain in the nine-county Bay Area.
- The San Francisco Bay rose 8 inches during the 20th century, and is projected to rise 3 feet in the current century.
- The Bay Area Council Economic Institute estimates the region would suffer more than $10 billion in economic damages during a megastorm, about the same as the Loma Prieta earthquake. The North Bay (Marin, Napa, Sonoma and Solano Counties) could conservatively suffer $1.3 billion.
- For $1.5 billion, the region could significantly improve its defenses by restoring 30,000 acres of wetlands with several miles of levee construction.
- The flat $12 parcel tax would help leverage additional funds from state and federal sources.
Other endorsers include a broad coalition of environmental and business groups – including Save the Bay, Audubon California, Silicon Valley Leadership Group and the Bay Area Council.