San Francisco Maritime National Historical Park

About the Park

San Francisco Maritime National Historical Park is located on the edge of San Francisco Bay in in the Fisherman's Wharf neighborhood. Climate change presents significant risk to San Francisco Maritime National Historical Park, increasing temperatures, and changing weather patterns may alter park ecosystems, changing vegetation communities, habitats available for species, and the experience of park visitors.  Local affects, such as changes in rainfall, fog and storm frequency and intensity, and sea level rise would impact the resources at San Francisco Maritime National Historical Park.  The resources of this park include Hyde Street Pier, the Maritime Museum Bathhouse Building, and six National Historic Landmark vessels.  To prevent damage, the San Francisco Maritime National Historical Park is implementing management decisions to plan, respond and adapt.

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San Francisco Maritime National Historical Park, as a member of the Pacific West Region, is involved in the first regional effort in the National Park Service to become carbon neutral.  The Region has developed a vision of having its park operations be carbon neutral and of having all of its parks be a member of the Climate Friendly Parks Program by 2010.

According to a USGS study, there have been steady increases in sea level in the San Francisco Bay Area over the last 150 years.  Since 1850, sea level rise has been rising 2.13 millimeters per year.  Rise in sea level threatens coastal land, wetlands, groundwater systems, infrastructure (built environment) and human population.  San Francisco coasts could face shoreline retreat, beach loss, and cliff retreat. 

The continued addition of CO2 and other GHGs to the atmosphere will raise the Earth’s average temperature more rapidly in the next century; a global average warming of 4-7°F by the year 2100 is considered likely (IPCC 2007. Climate Change 2007: The Physical Science Basis.  Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, Geneva Switzerland.  Available online at < http://www.ipcc.ch/ipccreports/ar4-wg1.htm>). Rising global temperatures will further raise sea levels and affect all aspects of the water cycle, including snow cover, mountain glaciers, spring runoff, water temperature, and aquatic life. Climate change is also expected to affect human health, crop production, animal and plant habitats, and many other features of our natural and managed environments.

Emissions Profile

GHG emissions result from the combustion of fossil fuels for transportation and energy (e.g., boilers, electricity generation), the decomposition of waste and other organic matter, and the volatilization or release of gases from various other sources (e.g., fertilizers and refrigerants). 

In 2008, GHG emissions within San Francisco Maritime National Historical Park totaled 492 metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent (MTCO2E). This includes emissions from the park’s operations. For perspective, a typical single family home in the U.S. produces approximately 12 MTCO2 per year (U.S. EPA, Greenhouse Gases Equivalencies Calculators – Calculations and References, Retrieved; Website: http://www.epa.gov/cleanenergy/energy-resources/calculator.html). Thus, the Park’s emissions are roughly equivalent to the emissions from the energy use of 42 households each year.

The largest emission sector for San Francisco Maritime National Historical Park is energy, totaling 356 MTCO2E. The transportation emissions are very low because there are no visitor vehicle emissions, visitors are unable to drive within the boundaries of the Park.  The Park’s fleet includes three electric powered utility vehicles for grounds maintenance and a bio-diesel powered lawnmower.  The high volume of visitors in this park results in a large amount of waste generated.  There is potential to improve the recycling and composting programs at San Francisco Maritime National Historical Park to improve the waste diversion rate.

The graph below, taken from our Action Plan, shows our baseline emissions in 2008 broken down into sectors.

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Goals

San Francisco Maritime National Historical Park has committed to reduce park operations by the following amounts:

  • Energy use emissions to 35 percent below 2008 levels by 2016. 
  • Transportation emissions to 35 percent below 2008 levels by 2016.
  • Waste emissions to 30 percent below 2008 levels by 2016 through waste diversion and reduction.

To read more about what we are doing at San Francisco Maritime National Historical Park about climate change, check out our Action Plan!