In April of 2018, C/CAG’s Countywide Water Coordination Committee, which consists of eight elected officials from across the County, formed an 18-person Staff Advisory Team (SAT) consisting of city, County, and other agency staff to develop a proposal to form an agency to address SLR, flooding, coastal erosion, and regional stormwater infrastructure on a countywide basis. The SAT completed an intensive six-month engagement and collaboration process, resulting in the creation of the Agency Proposal. The C/CAG Water Coordination Committee has reviewed the Agency Proposal and recommended that it be endorsed by the C/CAG Board of Directors and the San Mateo County Board of Supervisors. After analyzing different governance approaches and agency models, the Water Coordination Committee’s recommendation is to modify the Flood Control District (FCD) by legislation to expand its scope, restructure its governance, and rename it the Flood and Sea Level Rise Resiliency Agency.
Several efforts to address flooding, sea level rise and coastal erosion in San Mateo County are already underway. Since 1959, the San Mateo County Flood Control District (FCD) has addressed flooding issues in three county flood zones with an annual budget of $3.8 million. The County’s Flood Resilience Program was started in 2016 with the mission to address cross-jurisdictional flood risks. The Flood Resilience Program is currently leading project development in seven cities pursuant to three Memoranda of Understanding (MOU): Bayfront Canal (Redwood City, Atherton, Menlo Park, Unincorporated SMC); Belmont Creek (Belmont, San Carlos, Unincorporated SMC); and Navigable Slough (South San Francisco, San Bruno, Unincorporated SMC). The County’s Office of Sustainability has several planning initiatives related to sea level rise and climate change more broadly, including the Sea Change San Mateo County initiative. Several cities have pursued their own flood and sea level rise protection projects, particularly the cities of San Mateo and Foster City. C/CAG is helping cities and the County identify and fund regional stormwater management infrastructure that will improve water quality and mitigate downstream flood risk. However, as identified by the 2015 Grand Jury Report, “Flooding Ahead: Planning for Sea Level Rise,” the County and its 20 cities need a coordinated approach to effectively address flooding, SLR and coastal erosion across the County as a whole.