Bolinas Sea Rise Initiative

Connect with the Bolinas Sea Rise Initiative by emailing 

As the impacts of climate change and sea level rise become increasingly evident, the village must take action to mitigate the inevitable effects. Initiated by Steve Matson, the Chief Planner of the original Bolinas Community Plan, this effort aims to engage the community in discussion to address its needs and proposes a plan to migrate the community to a location safe from the encroaching waters.

After two years of research, the proposal suggests relocating the downtown area of Bolinas to higher ground, defining a new center for commerce, community, and continuity. The proposed project location on Big Mesa aims to develop an efficient and resource-neutral solution based on the existing square footage of the commercial downtown, with housing above as a primary consideration.

This initial proposal is designed to spur conversation and engagement. If you would like to connect with the group working on this project, please email

The Bolinas Sea Rise Initiative (BSRI) under the Bolinas Civic Group is spearheading the conversation on how to address the imminent challenges posed by climate change and sea level rise. As the starting point of this crucial dialogue, we welcome input from community members of diverse backgrounds. We will be continually presenting updates and changes at our Community Meetings and the next Civic Soup gathering. To build consensus in an equitable and inclusive manner, we urgently need the expertise of climatologists, architects, and other specialists. This collaborative approach will enable the community to determine its path forward in addressing these issues, ensuring alignment with the broader goals of the Local Coastal Program in an equitable and inclusive manner.

Listen to the KWMR Epicenter interview about this project and the BCG  HERE

Watch the video of the March presentation  here .

Strategies for Achieving Outcomes

The BSRI employs a dual strategy of integrated planning and community-regulatory engagement, ensuring an inclusive process that values both local voices and the need to navigate complex institutional landscapes. This approach must be enabled with diverse resources within the community and larger institutions.

Key Tasks of the Bolinas Sea Rise Initiative

Task 1 - Draft Conceptual Design: The first step involves creating a draft conceptual design for the BSRI, focusing on a managed retreat plan that aligns with environmental standards, regulatory requirements, and, critically, community input. This ensures the plan is both practical and widely supported.

Task 2 - Development Study: This task aims to outline a clear pathway for the initiative through short, medium, and long-term studies. Incorporating Progressive Design Build (PDB) principles and BCG's model of high community involvement, it culminates in a Long Term Development Study that guides future actions.

Task 3 - Optimal Local Institutional Approach: A comprehensive review and selection of the best structural options for institutionalizing the BSRI are critical. Preferred options will be developed in collaboration with the community, ensuring the chosen solution is ready for implementation in the next phase.

Task 4 - Financial Model and Capital Plan: Developing a pro forma financial model helps the community explore capital raising alternatives, aiming for an optimal and viable capital structure. This task is vital for ensuring the project's financial sustainability, supported by a realistic assessment of Bolinas’s tax base and community consensus.

Task 5 - Institutional Participation Agreement: This involves drafting guidelines for inter-agency cooperation, aligning the project with public partners’ planning and budgeting processes. The goal is to foster greater engagement and address social equity, reflecting community aspirations in collaboration with high-impact institutions.

Task 6 - Procurement Methods: Identifying the most effective procurement methods for the project ensures that the public and private sectors can work together efficiently. This task will provide recommendations for procuring the diverse elements required for the BSRI.

Task 7 - Ongoing Community Engagement: Continuous engagement with the Bolinas community is essential. Through BCG’s bilingual monthly meetings and various feedback mechanisms, the initiative will keep the community informed and involved, ensuring that the project evolves in response to public input.

Projections from Steve Matson for the BSRI

Current Example  Plan from Steve Matson for the BCG to include the 35,000 sqft of commercial downtown on Mesa Park

Presentation  Slides from March 13th by Steve Matson for the BCG at the Community Meeting.  


Presentation  Slides from February 14th by Steve Matson for the BCG at the Community Meeting.  Watch the video of the presentation  here .


If you would like to provide feedback regarding the BSRI proposal from, please fill out the form located HERE