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Mayor Lee Invests In Seawall To Protect City

$8 Million Investment to Address Fortification & Resiliency of the City’s Seawall

San Francisco, CA—Mayor Edwin M. Lee today announced the investment of $8 million over the next two years to initiate City efforts to fortify San Francisco’s Seawall. The end result will be a Seawall that is more resilient and prepared to protect an area that stretches from Fisherman’s Wharf and Telegraph Hill to South Beach and Mission Creek against the dual threats of earthquake and sea level rise.

“San Francisco has a history of solving our challenges through bold action, and our investment in San Francisco’s Seawall will help our world class waterfront be more resilient to a major seismic event and flood risks,” said Mayor Lee. “San Franciscans built the Seawall a century ago, and it is our generation’s turn to invest again to strengthen this critical piece of infrastructure.”

San Francisco’s Seawall is over 100 years old and invisible to the tens of millions who traverse it each year. It underpins the Embarcadero and piers along the waterfront, and provides flood protection to the downtown. The Port of San Francisco’s recent Earthquake Vulnerability Study revealed that the Seawall is vulnerable to liquefaction and lateral spreading in a major earthquake. This study includes an economic analysis which shows that $1.6 billion in assets are at risk from earthquake damage, and that the Seawall supports $2.1 billion of economic activity annually.

“Mayor Lee’s Seawall Initiative will ensure that San Francisco’s waterfront remains a vital, thriving part of the City,” said Port Interim Director Elaine Forbes. “Mayor Lee’s Seawall Initiative will define and prioritize sections of the Seawall that will be improved to mitigate seismic risk, protect key infrastructure and improve life safety.”

The $8 million investment will allow the Port to advance technical studies and engineering feasibility, engage stakeholders and the public in decision making, seek other sources of funding, and conduct project environmental review.

The Seawall Initiative is a major effort to follow the City’s resiliency strategy, Resilient San Francisco – Stronger Today, Stronger Tomorrow. Created as part of a grant from 100 Resilient Cities pioneered by the Rockefeller Foundation (100RC), the Citywide strategy features 54 specific initiatives aimed at creating a more resilient San Francisco. These actions include:

• Creating a long-term disaster recovery plan that gets our residents back in their homes as quickly as possible after a disaster
• Launching a regional design competition aimed at engaging our region to help address hazards like sea level rise and seismic events
• Constructing a disaster-resilient waterfront by 2040
• Continuing to seismically retrofit vulnerable buildings and create higher safety goals for our new buildings
• Advancing citywide adaptation planning for sea level rise

In March, Mayor Lee released the Sea Level Rise Action Plan (SLRAP), a call to action for City departments and stakeholders to work together to make San Francisco a more resilient city in the face of rising sea levels. The Mayor’s plan, led by San Francisco Planning, San Francisco Public Works and the Port of San Francisco, defines an overarching vision and set of objectives for future sea level rise and coastal flooding planning and mitigation in San Francisco. The Plan provides direction for City departments to understand and adapt to the impacts of sea level rise, and identifies what long-term sea level rise means for San Francisco’s residents, visitors, economy and waterfront. The Seawall Initiative will be closely coordinated with the SLRAP such that improvements to the Seawall will provide for a stable and adaptable foundation to address sea level rise.

Given the complexity and significance of Seawall to the residents and businesses in San Francisco, the City places a high priority on a robust community engagement effort. The Port will coordinate and leverage existing Citywide and local community engagement opportunities, including its seven community advisory committees, to increase the public’s understanding of the Seawall Initiative.

For more information on San Francisco’s Seawall, go to:

For more information on the Mayor’s Sea Level Rise Action Plan, go to: