Learn More About the Embarcadero Seawall

What is the Embarcaerdo Seawall?

The Embarcadero Seawall is the foundation of over three miles of San Francisco’s waterfront from Fisherman’s Wharf to Mission Creek. The Seawall is over 100 years old and in desperate need of repair.

The Seawall supports key utility and transportation infrastructure including the BART, Muni, and ferry transportation networks. It also supports critical emergency response and recovery areas on the Embarcadero and provides flood protection for downtown San Francisco.

The Seawall underpins the Historic Embarcadero Promenade, many of the city’s iconic destinations, parks, and local businesses – attracting more than 24 million people to the waterfront each year. All told, the Seawall supports over $100 billion in economic activity and assets along the waterfront.

The Evolution of San Francisco’s Waterfront

The Embarcadero Seawall is over 100 years old – it’s older than the Golden Gate Bridge and Coit Tower. The Seawall was designed and constructed before engineers understood how to build infrastructure to survive earthquakes. Most of the Seawall is built over what is called “young bay mud,” a weak, saturated, and highly compressible marine clay that tends to amplify earthquake shaking. The Seawall has aged and settled and no longer offers the same level of flood protection.


Threats to the Embarcadero Seawall – and to San Francisco

San Francisco is vulnerable to immediate seismic risks and emerging flood risks.

A damaging earthquake could happen at any time, and there is scientific consensus that a major earthquake is likely to occur in the Bay Area within the next 25 years. A major earthquake could cause most of the Embarcadero Seawall to settle and move toward the Bay. This would prove devastating to life, utility and transportation infrastructure, property, and the San Francisco economy.

Sea level rise is also a major threat. Today, King Tides flood the Embarcadero Promenade. As sea levels continue to rise, there will be additional flooding risks, including to the BART and Muni networks and key utility infrastructure.

What is the Embarcaerdo Seawall?

The Embarcadero Seawall is the foundation of over three miles of San Francisco’s waterfront from Fisherman’s Wharf to Mission Creek. The Seawall is over 100 years old and in desperate need of repair.

The Seawall supports key utility and transportation infrastructure including the BART, Muni, and ferry transportation networks. It also supports critical emergency response and recovery areas on the Embarcadero and provides flood protection for downtown San Francisco.

The Seawall underpins the Historic Embarcadero Promenade, many of the city’s iconic destinations, parks, and local businesses – attracting more than 24 million people to the waterfront each year. All told, the Seawall supports over $100 billion in economic activity and assets along the waterfront.

The Evolution of San Francisco’s Waterfront

The Embarcadero Seawall is over 100 years old – it’s older than the Golden Gate Bridge and Coit Tower. The Seawall was designed and constructed before engineers understood how to build infrastructure to survive earthquakes. Most of the Seawall is built over what is called “young bay mud,” a weak, saturated, and highly compressible marine clay that tends to amplify earthquake shaking. The Seawall has aged and settled and no longer offers the same level of flood protection.


Threats to the Embarcadero Seawall – and to San Francisco

San Francisco is vulnerable to immediate seismic risks and emerging flood risks.

A damaging earthquake could happen at any time, and there is scientific consensus that a major earthquake is likely to occur in the Bay Area within the next 25 years. A major earthquake could cause most of the Embarcadero Seawall to settle and move toward the Bay. This would prove devastating to life, utility and transportation infrastructure, property, and the San Francisco economy.

Sea level rise is also a major threat. Today, King Tides flood the Embarcadero Promenade. As sea levels continue to rise, there will be additional flooding risks, including to the BART and Muni networks and key utility infrastructure.