“Strategies for Storms, Flooding and Sea Level Defense,” a day-long conference sponsored by the Ports of San Francisco, Long Beach, Los Angeles and Oakland, attracted industry experts from around the world this week to Oakland’s Jack London Square.
The Port of Rotterdam, for example, discussed its plans to protect its terminals against higher sea levels, storm surges and flooding.
Joost de Nooijer, a civil engineer and project manager for the Flood Risk Management program at Port of Rotterdam, says cooperation has been a key element in developing future flood risk strategies and climate adaptation plans.
“As a result of the acceleration in the rise of sea levels, the Port of Rotterdam is developing strategies for the port area and facilities to anticipate for long-term risks,” he added. “This is based on the theory that it is better to make the investment before the risks are too high rather than pay the costs of a disaster later.”
According to the Rotterdam spokesmen, de Nooijer has already “worked out strategies together with companies like Shell, Exxon Mobil and British Petroleum and will begin working with container terminals in the Maasvlakte complex.”
He is also responsible for the technical management of port development projects, including the construction of quay walls, jetties and other maritime infrastructure:
“The Port of Rotterdam has a dredging company under contract to perform maintenance dredging of all fairways and port facilities. This allows the Port to keep all berths and ship channels fully operational at all times.”
Other speakers representing the Dutch companies, included those from Arcadis, Deltares and the University of Amsterdam.
The Port of Oakland, meanwhile, is developing its own strategies to mitigate climate-change risks.
Jan Novak, Associate Environmental Planner and Scientist at Port of Oakland, told LM in an interview that this event organized by Propeller Club of Northern California was remarkable for several reasons.
“The may have been the first time all major California ports came together to share a forum like this,” he observed. “That said, we all realize that even more collaboration has to take place on a regional basis, which includes multiple jurisdictions, and state regulatory agencies.”
And because “sea level rise does not recognize bounderies,” ports need to share more information, he added.
Other conference participants included representatives from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), the California Department of Transportation, the California Coastal Conservancy and the San Francisco Bay Conservation and Development Commission (BCDC).
Elaine Forbes, executive director of the Port of San Francisco noted that San Francisco voters have approved a $425 million bond issue in 2018 to begin rebuilding the seawall that protects downtown San Francisco as well as port property.
“San Francisco is one of many ports and cities in the United States and around the world that is experiencing worsening flooding as a result of higher sea levels,” she stated.
The seawall will also include reinforcements to protect downtown San Francisco from an earthquake and is projected to cost $5 billion when completed.
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