Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Announcing AcclimateWest and my story on sea-level rise and the flood-prone, low-income San Rafael Canal district

Proud to announce the official launch (albeit still in pilot form) of a new multimedia journalism initiative I'm involved in along with some colleagues from Estuary News magazine, called AcclimateWest. This is a storytelling hub for sea-level rise adaptation around San Francisco Bay that will develop a series of iterative place-based profiles of waterways and creek mouths ringing the bay. 
In particular it has a strong environmental justice component and seeks to highlight impacts on vulnerable populations while using simple language designed to reach these very communities, rather than simply the usual audience of planners, politicians, scientists, and environmentalists. We built this simple, friendly, independent site to help local readers and residents connect with and understand how they may be affected by a rising bay and increased flooding, and what many local agencies and nonprofits are doing to prepare for it. Our stories revolve around specific places and assume our readers know little about the advancing ocean. 
The project is seeking additional funding to expand to other waterways, but my initial story on looming flooding impacts throughout the San Rafael Canal district, home to Latino immigrants and one of Marin's poorest and densest neighborhoods, is available now. Read "Canal Communities, Rich and Poor, Prep for Wetter Feet" here
My San Rafael story is a "baseline anchor story” for the Canal district. We need additional help to spread the word, create similar anchor stories for other waterways (including finding $3,000 in funding for each), and develop local advisory committees to ground our stories in local views and priorities. See the AcclimateWest website for more. 

Monday, October 16, 2017

New in Estuary News: Choice Mountain Parcels Help Preserve the Bay

How is the bay connected with the hills and the mountains that surround it? Through creeks and streams, most of which begin as rainfall in the upper watershed. While these flows are heavily managed today, with reservoirs, weirs, flood-control channels, and other elements of modern infrastructure intervening, in some key ways they still perform much as they always have, delivering freshwater to the bay's estuaries while providing valuable aquatic and riparian habitat along the way. as they twist and tumble downstream.
All of which is to day that upper-watershed lands ringing the bay are valuable not only in and of themselves, but also because of their broader function in regional ecosystems -- which explains why they represent a key target for conservation groups throughout the greater Bay Area.
Read more in my latest article for Estuary News.