Robin M. Grossinger

Program Director
Senior Scientist
Resilient Landscapes Program
510-746-7380

Robin Grossinger is a Senior Scientist at the San Francisco Estuary Institute, where he co-directs, with Letitia Grenier, SFEI’s Resilient Landscapes program. For over twenty years, Robin has analyzed how California landscapes have changed since European contact, using these data to guide landscape-scale restoration strategies. Robin leads efforts throughout the state to reintegrate natural processes within our highly modified landscapes, creating healthier and more adaptive neighborhoods, cities, and surrounding landscapes. He has advised restoration strategies for San Francisco Bay, the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta, urban landscapes such as the Google campus, and rivers throughout California.

Robin's innovative work to synthesize history and science has been acclaimed for helping scientists, managers, and the public appreciate both the dramatic transformation and the impressive resilience of the state's ecosystems. Robin’s publications include the Napa Valley Historical Ecology Atlas (University of California Press 2012) and his work has been featured by NPR, KQED’s QUEST, Saving the Bay, and The New York Times. Recently he has led the development of SFEI's Landscape Resilience Framework, which is guiding regional adaptation efforts.

Among his popular science communication efforts, Robin served as a guest curator for the award-winning multi-disciplinary exhibit on San Francisco Bay Above and Below, at the Oakland Museum of California. He has been recognized with a Local Hero award from Bay Nature magazine and the Carla Bard Bay Education Award from The Bay Institute and Aquarium of the Bay.

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Related Projects, News, and Events

Resilient Silicon Valley (Project)

Drawing on resilience science, regional data, and local expertise, we will develop the vision and tools that will allow stakeholders in the region ensure that local actions contribute toward the creation of a high-functioning and resilient Silicon Valley ecosystem.

Delta Landscapes Project (Project)

The Delta Landscapes Project, which began in 2012 and will run through 2016, has developed a body of work to inform landscape-scale restoration of the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta ecosystem.

Tijuana River Valley Historical Ecology Investigation Published (News)

The Tijuana River Valley Historical Ecology Investigation—completed in January 2017—synthesized hundreds of historical maps, photographs, and texts to reconstruct the ecological, hydrological, and geomorphic conditions of the Tijuana River valley prior to major European-American landscape modification.

Robin Grossinger interviewed at Grace Cathedral for a discussion about adapting to climate change (News)

On Sunday, October 30 from 9:30 to 10:30 a.m., SFEI’s Robin Grossinger appeared on a weekly, hour-long discussion series called The Forum. He joined Malcom Clarence Young, the dean of Grace Cathedral, to discuss our changing climate and our place as Bay Area denizens in a world that is rapidly changing.

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Announcing SFEI's first binational study: The Tijuana River Valley Historical Ecology Investigation (News)

A new report shows how the Tijuana River Valley, which straddles the boundary between Southern California and northern Mexico, looked and functioned prior to the existence of the border wall, the city of Tijuana, and the state of California.

SFEI work on Landscape Resilience and Urban Biodiversity featured in Google Blog and Fast Company Story (News)

Our partnership with Google to enhance the ecological resilience of urban landscapes is featured in a story by Fast Company, a Google Blog post, and an accompanying video.

"A Delta Renewed" report released at the 2016 Bay-Delta Science Conference (News)

The San Francisco Estuary Institute (SFEI) released A Delta Renewed – A Guide to Science-Based Ecological Restoration in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta.

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Tijuana River Valley Historical Ecology Investigation (Project)

The Tijuana River Valley Historical Ecology Investigation synthesized hundreds of historical maps, photographs, and texts to reconstruct the the ecological, hydrological, and geomorphic conditions of the valley prior to major European-American landscape modification.

Understanding Change in Primary Production at a Landscape Scale in the Delta (Project)

Sixteen local and national experts met for a three-day workshop hosted at SFEI to develop a plan that will for the first time quantify primary production in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta, both historically and today. During the workshop (October 28-30), scientists with expertise in primary producer groups, hydrodynamics, and food web dynamics integrated existing data, scientific literature, and best professional judgment to build a new synthesis of past and contemporary production and its ability to support to support the base of the Delta food web. Building upon SFEI's work in the Delta Landscapes project, and funded by the Delta Science Program and USGS, this is the first stage of a planned three-phase project.

Illustration by Katie McKnight and Erica Spotswood.

Re-Oaking (Project)

“Re-Oaking” is an approach to reintegrating oaks and other native trees within the developed California landscape to provide a range of ecosystem services. The concept has emerged from SFEI's research into the distribution and characteristics of California's former valley oak savannas -- a distinctive, widespread habitat that was mostly lost a century ago. Now valley oaks and other native trees are being recognized for the benefits they did -- and could again – provide, as communities design the ecologically healthy and resilient landscapes of the future.