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Monitor Notes: Rising Seas, School Energy, Caltrain Measure, Bay Trail

Welcome to Monitor Notes, a weekly roundup of news items, event announcements, and updates on past Bay Area Monitor articles.


Seas the Day

A new Legislative Analyst’s Office report breaks down the ways in which sea-level rise could impact the 840 miles of California coastline, warning state and local governments not to overlook preparation efforts because of the current pandemic and related economic challenges. Four feet of higher water levels would cause daily flooding for nearly 28,000 socially vulnerable residents in the Bay Area, based on statistics cited in the report. Between $8 billion and $10 billion in California property is likely to be underwater by 2050. “Waiting too long to initiate adaptation efforts likely will make responding effectively more difficult and costly,” according to the report. Essential, near‑term preparation — such as planning and establishing relationships for regional coordination — are among steps local governments can take now, despite limited financial resources.


More Power to Schools

As schools begin fall instruction, a coalition of clean energy organizations is launching the Resilient Schools Collaborative to help them respond to wildfire-induced power shutdowns. The idea is that schools would have a clean energy option like solar energy, battery storage, and microgrids rather than diesel backup generators which contribute to poor air quality. The coalition includes ARC AlternativesCenter for Resource Solutions, and KyotoUSA, with funding from the Bay Area Air Quality Management District. RSC will first partner with Oakland Unified School District and San Rafael City Schools, sharing lessons learned through technical and financial feasibility studies with other local school districts. Read more about the collaboration and then check out the latest air quality news from the Monitor’s Leslie Stewart, who wrote about the urgency to create healthy, well-ventilated buildings.


Put to the Vote

The Caltrain board of directors approved a plan to place a 1/8 cent sales tax on the November 3 ballot. The measure would provide the commuter rail system with a dedicated revenue source to continue service, and maintain and expand operations after electrified trains launch in 2022. Funds also will be invested in equity policies to make the system more affordable and accessible. Caltrain has been battling pandemic-related ridership drops and fare-box revenue losses threatening its ability to survive. Service is supported by CARES Act funding now, but that will only last through year’s end. Read about the measure that will be on ballots this fall. Speaking of casting votes, tune into a CapRadio news segment to hear what Dora Rose (pictured), deputy director of the League of Women Voters of California, has to say about the group’s voter education push on mail-in and absentee ballots.


Explore a New Trail

The San Francisco Bay Trail has added a new section at Ravenswood Open Space Preserve in East Palo Alto. This “small but mighty” 0.6-mile trail segment now connects 80 miles of continuous Bay Trail across three counties, according to a press release from the Midpeninsula Regional Open Space District. Residents can access the segment from a new sidewalk along University Avenue in East Palo Alto. It includes a wooden boardwalk, a bridge across the wetlands, and accessible paths for bicyclists and pedestrians. As part of this project, Midpen worked on the preserve’s surrounding salt marsh wetlands to make the area and its inhabitants more resilient to climate change. Learn more by watching a virtual opening ceremony Midpen hosted last week and then read the Monitor for Robin Meadow’s report about surveying sediment in salt marshes


Monitor Notes is produced by Cecily O’Connor. To receive it by email, scroll to the bottom of this page, enter your email address in the box under “RECEIVE EMAIL UPDATES,” and click the red “SIGN UP” button.


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