The Opening of the Foster City Upgraded Levee – History Now, Even More in Coming Years!

The Opening of the Foster City Upgraded Levee – History Now, Even More in Coming Years!

I had the great pleasure of attending the ceremony, at Foster City’s Shorebird Park, officially opening the upgraded levee back on February 21, 2024. This event marked the culmination of a major project initiated back in 2014 when the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) notified the city that the current levee system did not meet the minimum requirements for flood protection. From this the city launched a Levee Protection Planning Study in 2014 eventually resulting with the city a project in 2017 and then voters approving Measure P in 2018 authorizing some $90 million in general bonds to finance thee project. The project team was chosen and the groundbreaking took place in October 2020.

Over the next three years the project took shape including the construction of a seawall, and in some areas, just bayside improvements, spanning an overall a 6.5 mile stretch along the Bayfront bordering the Belmont slough on the south to just beyond Baywinds Park bordering San Mateo on the north. The important project work, with the exception, of some remaining signage and landscaping work still to be completed, wrapped up in October 2023 with Phase 3 completed in the north including the reopening of the San Mateo Bridge underpass.

At the event we got to hear from Mayor Patrick Sullivan who spoke on the tremendous help received from our legislature partners, along with community members, to not only protect the safety and resilience of Foster City but to also pave the way for a brighter and more sustainable future for all. Additional words of thanks were shared by Councilperson Sam Hindi along with representatives for both County Supervisor Noelia Corzo and Congressman Kevin Mullin.

While most of are articles posted represent past milestones and achievements, some even decades ago, this one is rather very recent. However, this one of note has particular relevancy, into the future, not only as Foster City now has produced the needed infrastructure to not only address any future flooding but also, and perhaps more importantly, combat expected sea level rise, even impacting the San Francisco Bay, into the latter decades of this Century. From this perspective, Foster City is truly a lead community, and it will be interesting to see how other Bay Area communities, facing sea level rise, respond and use our community as a positive example, in developing their mitigation plans, whether a levee or other bayside water encroachment measures. So as those in the future look back at Foster City, even two or three decades into the future, may the significance of this event mark a truly historical milestone.

Larry Staley
Member Foster City Historical Society
Foster City Citizens Sustainability Advisory Committee (CSAC)