Building with nature: Can reviving a marsh save this California town from sea level rise? This town could change its name to “Shallumbra” if a plan to revive marsh-based industry can get the go ahead. The plan calls for the development of a new water treatment plant, a floating dock and a port facility.
In a large industrial neighborhood of central Sacramento, the local water board has chosen to take on two projects whose success would have a dramatic effect on the town’s future: a green marsh-based recycling facility and a floating dock to accommodate a big shipping container terminal facility. In a city where planners are wrestling with how to live with climate change – and where residents are worried about the flooding that will come if the region and the state aren’t able to mitigate the effects of sea level rise – the project chosen by the local water board is clearly a big deal.
After nearly three years of meetings with people and groups in this city that’s home to the nation’s 10th largest population, Sacramento city officials are weighing two major options for revitalizing the downtown area – one that envisions a new water treatment plant that could remove as much as 40 billion gallons (136 billion liters) of water each year and another that would develop a floating dock. Both are highly controversial, with environmentalists and residents voicing strong concerns.
For many in the project’s backers, the choice of a floating dock – because it would include a 20,000-ton shipping container terminal – is a no-brainer. They have the time, the resources and, they hope, the money available to get both projects off the ground. For others, however, the choice is not so clear-cut.
The floating dock isn’t a new idea. The idea dates back to the mid-20th century when a company from Sacramento proposed building a floating dock here to supply workers at a naval shipyard that was one of the first new industrial plants slated for construction in California.
Over the past 50 years, Sacramento’s economy has exploded, attracting new residents, businesses and workers to its city center