Integrating Sea Level Rise, Riverine and Flood Models

Marin County, California

Featured image for the project, Integrating Sea Level Rise, Riverine and Flood Models

Photo courtesy of the Marin County Community Development Agency


Marin County, California is located north of San Francisco and home to approximately 250,000 residents. It is bordered by the Pacific Ocean, San Francisco Bay and San Pablo Bay on three sides and is thus vulnerable to flooding and sea level rise impacts. The county is resource rich: it is home to the Point Reyes National Seashore and Golden Gate National Recreation Area, as well as agricultural areas, beaches and numerous state parks.


The community itself is strongly involved and supportive of local environmental and resilience initiatives. The county released a draft Vulnerability Assessment for Marin’s Ocean Coast in October 2015. A draft Bayshore vulnerability assessment was scheduled for release in February 2017. To supplement and improve work completed to-date, Marin County needs to know how to integrate sea level rise, riverine and flood models for future vulnerability assessment and adaptation planning. More details about Marin’s Ocean Coast and Bayshore efforts can be found at

Project Team

Community Leaders

Alex Westhoff is a planner with the Marin County Community Development Agency focused on adaptation planning for communities vulnerable to sea level rise. With more than thirteen years of experience in planning, monitoring and management activities for San Francisco Bay-Delta communities, professional interests include placemaking, preservation, public participation, and climate resiliency.

Holding a joint Master of City Planning/Mater of Landscape Architecture from UC Berkeley, his Master’s Thesis proposed designating the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta as California’s first National Heritage Area which led to enabling congressional legislation, still currently pending. Prior to working for Marin County, he spent seven years with the Delta Protection Commission, focused on establishment of the Heritage Area and other projects to enhance the region’s sense of place. As a long term San Francisco resident, Alex enjoys all of the fascinating historical sites, cultural landscapes and natural beauty that the Bay Area has to offer.

Jack Liebster, Planning Manager, Marin County Community Development Agency
(Biography coming soon!)

Chris Choo, Principal Planner, Water Resources, Marin County Public Works
(Photo and biography coming soon!)


Scientific Partner

John Largier is Professor of Coastal Oceanography at the University of California Davis (UCD), resident at Bodega Marine Laboratory. Prior to 2004, he was Research Oceanographer at Scripps Institution of Oceanography. He has also held positions at the University of Cape Town and the National Research Institute for Oceanology (CSIR) in South Africa.

His research, teaching and public service is motivated by contemporary environmental issues and centered on the role of transport in ocean, bay, nearshore and estuarine waters. His work has addressed transport of plankton, larvae, contaminants, pathogens, heat, salt, nutrients, dissolved oxygen, and sediment – and he places this work in the context of issues as diverse as marine reserves, fisheries, mariculture, beach pollution, wastewater discharge, wildlife health, desalination, river plumes, coastal power plants, kelp forests, wetlands, marine mining, coastal zone management and impacts of coastal development. At UCD he heads the Coastal Oceanography Group. Dr Largier is a leader in developing the field of “environmental oceanography” through linking traditional oceanographic study to critical environmental issues. Following undergraduate studies in Maths and Physics, he obtained a Ph.D. in Oceanography from the University of Cape Town (South Africa) in 1987.