City of Benicia, California Climate Change Vulnerability and Risk Summary Report

The City of Benicia is a coastal community in the San Francisco Bay area of California. In April 2014, Benicia was awarded a California Coastal Conservancy Climate Ready Grant for $150,000 to conduct a climate change vulnerability assessment and to develop a climate adaptation plan. The Vulnerability and Risk Report was developed in partnership with ICF International and Placeworks, who examined climate change related vulnerabilities and risks in Benicia (primarily sea level rise, flooding and temperature changes). Adaptation strategies have been developed and are to be presented in a subsequent adaptation plan. 

The project was launched in July 2014 and over the course of a year the City conducted the climate vulnerability assessment while testing the application of the San Francisco Bay Conservation and Development Commission’s (BCDC’s) Adapting to Rising Tides vulnerability and adaptation model. 

Sectors and assets addressed in the vulnerability assessment include:

  • Community Land Use
  • Transportation
  • Port of Benicia
  • Natural areas
  • Stormwater
  • Waste Water
  • Energy and Pipeline Infrastructure

For the assessment research was conducted for downtown commercial areas, Portside Village, Benicia Industrial Park, local schools and municipal assets as the police station, Fire Station 11, Benicia Community Center, City Hall, Fitzgerald Field and the Benicia Marina. Transportation effects along prominent streets were studied, as were the Port of Benicia, the Benicia Wastewater Treatment Plant, stormwater outfalls at East Second Street and East Fifth Street, Benicia State Recreation Area and marshland near the Industrial Park and the Benicia Marina. Pacific Gas and Electric infrastructure also was evaluated.

Sector level summaries of vulnerability and consequence provide a high level overview of cross-cutting risks identified at the systematic level rather than a detailed assessment of the vulnerability of each individual asset in the summary report.

For this project, the ICF Team used the California Ocean Protection Council 2013 sea level rise planning guidance projections. Benicia also utilized publicly available sea level rise mapping tools (the NOAA Digital Coast Sea Level Rise Viewer and Climate Central’s Surging Seas Tool to visualize the following three sea level rise scenarios:

- 12 inches (low, mid- century projection)
- 24 inches (high, mid- century projection and the low end-of-century projection)
- 60 inches (high end-of-century projection)

To visualize impacts on natural habitats (e.g., marshes), the ICF Team used the Point Blue Conservation Science’s Future San Francisco Bay Tidal Marshes: A Climate-Smart Planning Tool.

Two advisory groups were convened to provide input throughout the project: the Technical Advisory Committee consisting of local, regional, and state public agencies that own, operate, or otherwise contribute to the planning and funding of infrastructure and natural habitats in Benicia; and the Community Advisory Group consists of members of the public with a vested interest in the project (e.g., homeowners, business owners, community group representatives, and City commissioners).


Prior to developing the vulnerability assessment, Benicia looked at the current status of its assets in the Existing Conditions and Stressors Report. This report collects historical data from a variety of sources in order to outline the current state of Benicia’s infrastructure and natural areas, and document how the infrastructure and natural areas have been impacted by weather and natural disasters in the past. The asset categories considered are the same as those in the vulnerability and risk assessment (community land use, services and facilities; transportation; Port of Benicia; natural areas and parks; shoreline protection; stormwater and waste water; energy, infrastructure, and pipelines.) A table of the impact that damage to any given asset category would have on the Benicia economy, environment, equity, and governance is included.



Publication Date: 2015

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  • Assessment

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