Mission Creek / Mission Bay Resilience

The Mission Creek / Mission Bay community faces urgent seismic risks and increasing flood risks from sea level rise. The Port of San Francisco, along with City partners, are addressing both of these risks through Waterfront Adaptation Strategies Development, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) San Francisco Waterfront Coastal Flood Study, and the Southern Waterfront Earthquake Assessment. You can learn more about flood and earthquake risks in Mission Creek / Mission Bay on the Waterfront Resilience Story Maps.

Flood and Earthquake Risks in Mission Creek and Mission Bay

Pier 52 Boat Ramp

Flooding from sea level rise has the potential to impact life in the Mission Bay neighborhood. Today, stormwaters flood the Mission Creek area. As sea levels continue to rise, there will be increased flood risks, particularly along the shoreline, including to Muni and key utility infrastructure. Flooding could directly impact homes and disrupt local commercial corridors, commutes and transit options, parks and open spaces, emergency services, and hospitals and healthcare centers, posing serious challenges to the Mission Creek / Mission Bay community and the city as whole.

Mission Bay was originally an over 500- acre salt marsh and lagoon inhabited by the Ramaytush Ohlone people before it was filled in the late 1800s/early 1900s. The area began to transition to industrial use in the late 1800s and was filled with 1906 debris. Areas filled in the 1800s and early 1900s, like Mission Creek, are subject to liquefaction in the event of an earthquake.

Impacts of Flood and Seismic Risks

  • Transportation and mobility
  • Emergency response and recovery
  • Disruption and damage to residences
  • Disruption and damage to Port operations and tenants
  • Disruption and damage to community assets and services including parks, roadways, hospitals and healthcare centers, and commercial corridors

Given the complex nature of these issues and the scale of potential impacts, many interrelated efforts are being conducted in the City to understand the severity and progression of climate change impacts, involve the people and communities that could be potentially affected by flooding or earthquakes, and create ideas and actions to defend communities, the economy, and the environment. 

Resilience Efforts Underway

Waterfront Adaptation Strategies Development

Our storm modeling indicates that San Francisco will start experiencing potentially costly coastal flood damages in the period between 2030-2040. San Francisco will need to make key decisions about how to adapt the waterfront and defend critical assets from flooding to reach a locally-endorsed Waterfront Adaptation Strategy by early 2023 in order to access federal and state funding opportunities.

Through a robust public engagement process, the Port and other City partner agencies are developing a locally-endorsed Waterfront Adaptation Strategy, which will identify a preferred approach to adapting the waterfront to flood hazards. Draft Waterfront Adaptation Strategies will bring together the important adaptation work done to date in the Northern and Southern waterfronts to develop a plan for a resilient shoreline along all 7.5 miles of Port jurisdiction, from the Bayview to Fisherman’s Wharf. 

Adaptation Strategies are a combination of construction and policy efforts to address the San Francisco waterfront’s unique combination of earthquake and flood risks in the short and long term. Draft Waterfront Adaptation Strategies will be ready for public feedback in Fall 2022, with a goal of reaching a final, locally-endorsed Waterfront Wide Adaptation Strategy by Spring 2023.

The Waterfront Adaptation Strategies development process is guided by the Program's five years of community engagement and feedback which included asset mapping and input on resilience goals and priorities in Islais Creek / Bayview, Mission Creek / Mission Bay, and the Embarcadero Waterfront. 

Rendering of Mission Rock development

San Francisco Waterfront Coastal Flood Study

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) and the Port have partnered on the San Francisco Waterfront Coastal Flood Study, which will study the costs and benefits of building flood defense infrastructure along the San Francisco shoreline from Bayview to Fisherman’s Wharf. The preferred strategy from the Flood Study will be presented to Congress for billions of dollars in possible federal funding.

Learn more about the San Francisco Waterfront Coastal Flood Study

Southern Waterfront Earthquake Assessment

The Port is leading an effort in the southern part of the Port's jurisdiction to fill any gaps in the Port, City, and community understanding of the earthquake risks and opportunities. The Assessment will draw from, and integrate with, a number of existing efforts, including the Islais Creek Southeast Mobility Adaptation Strategy, the Embarcadero Seawall Program, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) San Francisco Waterfront Coastal Flood Study, and Citywide sea level rise work.

  • Focus: All hazards, broad resilience (Equity, Environment, Economy)
  • Implementation: Short, Medium, and Long-Term
  • Lead Agency: Port of San Francisco