Town of Corte Madera Climate Adaptation Assessment: A Roadmap to Resilience
The global climate is changing and we are feeling the impacts right here in Corte Madera. The ever present risk of wildfire looms over our community and smoke from regional wildfires makes our air unhealthy to breathe. Meanwhile, king tides and storm events flood our streets and backyards, with scientific studies of sea level rise forecasting much worse flooding in the years ahead. These changes are affecting our community, homes, businesses, infrastructure, and way of life, and demand that we act now.
To address this emergency, the Town of Corte Madera embarked on a two year process to develop a Climate Adaptation Assessment, which synthesizes new ideas and concepts with conclusions from prior regional reports and studies. The Assessment is essentially a roadmap, or a framework, to inform Town decisions relating to how our community adapts to climate change. Critically, it is a “living” document that will continue to be updated in collaboration with the community as we gain new information and as conditions change.
Each adaptation action or project identified in the Assessment is essentially an idea that has been analyzed by planners, scientists, and engineers at a “planning level,” to begin to evaluate feasibility, effectiveness, costs, and benefits. It provides initial guidance to questions such as: How would a given action protect the town? How long would that protection last? How much would it likely cost? Is the action flexible and can it be modified or updated over time? This analysis will assist with informing next steps, priorities, and the choices that we make as a community. This Assessment is the first step toward protecting Corte Madera’s future as a vibrant place to live and work.
The strategies discussed in this document are ideas, not shovel-ready projects, and this Climate Adaptation Assessment does not provide any “shortcuts” or “loopholes” on ideas that future Town Councils may wish to pursue. If implemented, actions discussed in this Assessment would still go through the full public process, such as including additional public notices, public hearings, public workshops, community discussions, public review by various boards and commissions, and compliance with the California Environmental Quality Act. Future Councils may also decide to not pursue certain ideas outlined in this assessment.
Our town is already on the front line of climate change. The issues we face are not new—from the devastating wildfires of the 19th century to the severe flooding of the ’80’s—but as climate change advances, our situation is growing markedly more dire. The scale of the challenge is monumental, but today, we still have the opportunity to take decisive and proactive measures that will help protect our beloved town. Now is the time for Corte Madera to be a leader in the region, through the development and implementation of meaningful, effective, robust, and equitable solutions to the climate emergency. Taking this first step on the road to resilience will not only help guide our efforts to protect the health and safety of our community, but will ultimately enhance everyday quality of life in our community.