The next big thing in climate adaptation technology?
We're looking at. How technology can help us adapt to climate change and reentering pieces from our series series? How we survive? Most of the San Francisco Bay area including a lot of Silicon Valley is right at sea level and in some cases slightly below. Most of that is barely protected by short dirt. Mounds called Pete Berms from the eighteen hundreds and scientists say in the future they are not going to cut it so sea level is projected to rise seven to ten feet by twenty one hundred. This is Leticia Grigny a senior scientists directing the resilient landscapes program at the nonprofit San Francisco go estuary institute we are in San Lorenzo California about thirty minutes south of Oakland at a place called the Oma wastewater treatment plant and we're standing right at the edge of the Bay so seven to ten feet were underwater right or at least a good part of us is molly. Molly might be seven feet. Thank you but but I'm definitely drowning so we'd have to replace these little berms with big engineer levies and we gotta choose if we're GONNA have them be smaller with beautiful slopes in front out of them with wetlands or big with steel. I'm here to visit a unique experiment. Researchers have actually built a smaller more beautiful version of a Levy B. It's called the horizontal Levy and it's the opposite of a big tall wall. It's basically a little two acre marsh with all kinds of different trees and in grasses on it and it's at the wastewater treatment plant because the plants need a lot of water. It doesn't smell the best but it's still nice like a little park with birds and planes flying overhead and you can hear a unique species of title marsh birds singing right now. All the title Marsh Song Sparrow found nowhere else in the world except here birds. Aside Marshes and wetlands are good at absorbing floodwaters naturally while concrete walls bounced the water back there are also expensive to maintain they might fall down in an earthquake and then those little dirt. Mounds just aren't tall enough. This levy is a different kind of approach. We have the idea of high tech. We really understand what that is to me. That's kind of very engineering engineering. It's similar to the steel and concrete sort of engineered levies that we see in the bay we also have landscape tech. We have these complex natural systems that are doing really important things for us and we need to take advantage of them and not think of that as something different than weird weird but this is just a new kind of tech and we need to use basically landscape tack to adopt climate change in addition to flood resistance the levy is also helping to clean leaned the wastewater surprisingly well in fact researchers say. It's especially good at filtering out the trace leftovers of medicine that people take Angela. PAREN- Tony He is with the University of California Berkeley. She's doing research on how well the plants on the horizontal Levy are able to filter the water. Naturally medicines pass through people's bodies ladies and end up in wastewater sometimes and It can be really hard to deal with those compounds when they end up in the environment but in our system everything seems to be the Transformed in some way and not for nothing. It's a crowd pleaser. Jason Warrener's general manager of the ORLA sanitary district he gives lots lots of tours of this levee project and he says it makes a strong case for a different approach to climate adaptation when people see infrastructure as part of their community. And maybe not something that looks analogous to park therein. They say yes. This is the type of infrastructure that we want to see. We don't WANNA see giant concrete rip grab levies. We want to see a natural system to that extent that we're providing a vision for people to see what see rise response might look like. It's been a great success. We need to improve. We need to make this less expensive and we need to make it do more. So the Levy looks good handle floodwater cleans wastewater the birds love it. The vision is working but it's expensive. You're talking about twenty five million dollars from Jerry Lewis the scientists with the story institute. We're showing the concept and set was now. We've got to engineer it so that it's billable and it's affordable and it's legal by legal means permits. Let's for this kind of project can be really hard to get the moment. This is