San Francisco Waterfront

SAN FRANCISCO WATERFRONT STORM DAMAGE REDUCTION STUDY, CALIFORNIA
INVESTIGATIONS

NEPA Early Scoping Meeting and Public Comment Period

** USACE held a public comment period for NEPA early scoping in the Fall of 2020.  
** Written comments were requested to be emailed to SFWFRS@usace.army.mil or mailed to: Ms. Anne Baker, 450 Golden Gate Ave, 4th Floor, San Francisco, CA 94102.
** In addition, there were two opportunities to submit comments during a pair of USACE/Port-led virtual public meetings on Sept. 16, 2020, 6-7:30 p.m., and Sept. 17, 2020, 1-2:30 p.m. The PowerPoint presentation for both meetings is available HERE. A transcript of those meetings is available HERE.

PROJECT LOCATION AND DESCRIPTION

The primary issue this study will investigate is flooding from large coastal storms, extreme high tide events, liquefaction failure of the San Francisco waterfront seawall from a major earthquake, and sea level rise. The importance of the study is to protect the San Francisco waterfront, including major transportation infrastructures and the City’s financial district, with an estimated $22 billion in public sector assets at risk. Recent inspections along the waterfront have revealed portions of the seawall in need of repair (joints of steel plates and distress of concrete face), and it is at greater risk due to being located in a Seismic Hazard Zone. The seawall is backfilled with liquefiable soils and no section of the seawall is designed to withstand liquefaction. Expected impacts from continued deterioration of the waterfront would include: severed access to passenger ferries; damaged piers, wharves and the buildings on top of them; distorted streetcar tracks; cracks in the Embarcadero roadway and promenade; and disrupted utilities, in addition to risk to health and life safety. At risk is $1.6 billion in property along the Port of San Francisco and disruption of $2.1 billion a year in rent, revenue and wages. The waterfront is a major draw for millions of tourists, who annually bring in about $11 billion.

 

 

            TOTAL FUNDING

            TOTAL COST                                                                                   $ 3,000,000

            FEDERAL COST1,2                                                                          $ 1,700,000

            NON-FEDERAL COST                                                                     $ 1,500,000

 

            TOTAL FEDERAL COST THROUGH 2020                                     $  700,000                
            FY 2021 BUDGET                                                                            $  500,000
            COST TO COMPLETE                                                                  
$   500,000              
                        1 Includes $200,000 mandatory Independent External Peer Review at 100 percent Federal expense per WRDA 2007.
                        2 The amounts shown are consistent with 3x3. At the appropriate time the San Francisco District will be requesting 
                 an exemption based on the complexity of the study. More information can be found below.

FY 20  AND FY 21 ACCOMPLISHMENTS

  • The “Waterfront” study was a New Start study in FY2018. 
  • The primary issue this study is investigating is flooding from large coastal storms, extreme high tide events, liquefaction failure of the San Francisco waterfront seawall from a major earthquake, and sea level rise. The importance of the study is to protect the San Francisco waterfront, including major transportation infrastructures and the City’s financial district, with an estimated $22 billion in public sector assets at risk.
  • Currently the scope, schedule, and budget for the study is undergoing an independent technical review from a non-governmental group to confirm or amend the current scope, schedule, and budget for the overall study.  The expectation is that the study will cost around $21 million and will take 5-6 years to complete.  The findings of this independent review will be available this summer.
  • This year, the study team will determine a future without project condition, begin to develop a focused array of alternatives, and will continue to evaluate, screen, and compare project alternatives.  
  • Toward the end of FY21 a final array will be identified for which the team will conduct detail analysis to determine the tentatively selected plan.

ISSUES AND OTHER INFORMATON

  • The San Francisco District and the Non-Federal Sponsor believe that proceeding with the feasibility study under 3x3 involves many critical risks and would likely have significant adverse outcomes including poor plan selection and a loss of public trust. The study must sufficiently consider flood risk, seismicity, the impact on utilities, commercial businesses, residents, tourism, and navigation – all across a highly variable and historic urban landscape. The San Francisco District has submitted an exemption request to HQUSACE and ASA(CW).
  • The District is working to revise an exemption package for this study which will request the approval of additional time and funding to complete.
  • The revised exemption package will be resubmitted to the vertical team (up to HQ USACE) by April 2021. 
  • While we pursue an exemption to our current time and funding constraints, our study team continues to make progress on the study, though we are preparing for a study pause around early September 2021 while we await a decision on any additional time or funding for the study. 

CONGRESSIONAL INTEREST

  • 12th District, Rep. Nancy Pelosi

POINT OF CONTACT

  • Deputy for Project Management, Edwin S. Townsley, (415) 503-6593.

Updated on 06 April 2021

Contact

General Questions
415-503-6708
450 Golden Gate
San Francisco, CA 94102