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One Tam: many ways to give back to the mountain that gives us so much

Bothin Marsh Community Vision

Bothin Marsh Community Vision

The near-term goal of this One Tam collaboration between Marin County Parks and the Golden Gate National Parks Conservancy is to work with the community to develop a long-term vision for the Bothin Marsh Open Space Preserve. Much of the early work in this collaboration has focused on getting a better understanding of Bothin Marsh through scientific research and developing relationships between the various public land stewards and organizations that hold a collective interest in the Preserve.

Scientific Research

To better understand the unique tidal marshes within the Preserve, the Marin County Parks collaborated with a group of scientists to review the science related to the natural history, evolution, and opportunities for habitat enhancement of Bothin Marsh and adjacent tidal marshes in upper Richardson Bay. The report prepared by Watershed Sciences entitled “Bothin Marsh Geomorphology, Ecology, And Conservation Options” provides a synthesis of the historic and current state of the tidal marsh ecosystem at Bothin Marsh and discusses the threats of sea level rise to tidal marsh conservation and restoration. This report provides an important tool for the planners, scientists, and engineers working on management strategies that adapt to sea level rise at Bothin Marsh. Portions of this report are available here.

Watershed Sciences report: Bothin Marsh Geomorphology Ecology and Conservation Options: IntroductionChapter 12, & 3

Stakeholder Workshops with Local Agencies and Community Organizations

In the Spring of 2018, the Marin County Parks and the Parks Conservancy hosted a series of workshops with local land management agencies and community organizations to discuss sea level rise adaptation at the Preserve. These workshops were held to help create a project foundation and to brainstorm ways to communicate the project to the broader community. The first workshop focused on presenting the scientific findings developed by Watershed Sciences and gathering the collective expertise regarding sea level rise issues at Bothin Marsh and the surrounding community. The second workshop took a closer look at some concepts for nature-based sea level rise adaptation strategies and the participants collaborated to draft a set of values for the future of the Preserve. An important goal of the workshops was to gather civic leaders, land managers, regulatory agencies, and organizational stakeholders together to build a collective understanding of sea level rise impacts at Bothin Marsh and to develop working relationships towards adaptive solutions. Two of the key outcomes of the workshop were:

  1. According to the best available sea level rise projections and the current observable effects of more frequent tidal inundation, there is relatively little time to act and preserve the tidal marsh ecosystem at Bothin Marsh. However, there are several short-term measures that should be implemented as soon as possible to buy time for the habitats and species living in Bothin Marsh. These short-term measures are recommended as pilot projects that could protect habitat during the next 10-inches of sea level rise while performing as a living laboratory to inform science and restoration techniques. The Marin County Parks are actively pursuing funding to study, design, and implement these pilot projects.  
  2. Bothin Marsh provides many ecological, social, and economic benefits to our community. It’s future, during the next 36-inches of sea level rise and upwards, is largely dependent on how the surrounding Tam Community adapts. For instance, the capacity of the marsh to absorb flood waters will be significantly impaired unless we restore its natural ability to grow in elevation or we make space in developed upland areas for the marsh to migrate.

In another example, the recreational and active transportation opportunities provided by the Mill Valley–Sausalito Path will be severely disrupted 

without a major investment in the realignment and/or elevation of the path. Therefore, the long-term evolution of Bothin Marsh and the community shoreline should be guided by a sea level rise adaptation vision that is developed by and supported by the Tam Community. 

Community Engagement 

Sea level rise is a collective challenge to our community and its impacts are felt by all, just as anyone who has experienced a flooded Shoreline Highway knows. This is a conversation for the entire community and we look forward to discussing the science-based impacts of sea level rise, and to hearing your ideas for solutions. The Evolving Shoreline series is an opportunity to discuss what will happen to the Tam Community shoreline. We want to share some of the ideas for nature-based solutions to sea level rise and explore how we can develop adaptation strategies that have multiple benefits to our ecosystem and community. We also want to learn what it is that makes living in Tam and Mill Valley special and what deserves special attention for protection in the future. We are entering this conversation with in fall 2018, but it is just the beginning of a process of developing a vision that adapts to sea level rise over time and will work into the planning efforts, conversation and strategies Marin County is embarking on. 

A Tam Community Vision for Bothin Marsh

How do we get to a sea level rise adaptation vision that the entire Tam Community supports? The community engagement - beginning with the Evolving Shorelines events is intended to not only develop a shared understanding of the challenges sea level rise poses to Bothin Marsh, but to also get a sense of the values and issues shared by the community. With this foundation the “vision team” will engage the public in a process to define desired future conditions, develop vision consensus, and publish a vision for Bothin Marsh. This public visioning process is anticipated for early 2019.