Scott Dusterhoff's picture

Scott Dusterhoff

Lead Geomorphologist
Resilient Landscapes Program
Integrative Geomorphology

Scott Dusterhoff is a geomorphologist at the San Francisco Estuary Institute with a background in fluvial geomorphology, watershed hydrology, and estuarine/tidal wetland dynamics. For more than a decade, Scott has been working in coastal and upland watersheds throughout California, Oregon, and Washington, as well as in the Mid-Atlantic, on projects that use in-depth scientific investigations to inform sustainable ecosystem management approaches. He specializes in understanding the impacts of land disturbance and flow regulation on geomorphic processes and aquatic habitat for a variety of endangered species. He has extensive experience using a combination of field-based data, numerical modeling, and geospatial tools to characterize fluvial and coastal sediment transport dynamics, assess hydrologic/hydraulic processes in watershed and estuarine environments, and construct watershed and estuary water and sediment budgets. Scott received a B.S in Geology from the University of Maryland and an M.S. in Environmental Sciences and Hydrology from the University of Virginia.

Related Projects, News, and Events

Petaluma Valley Historical Hydrology and Ecology Study (Project)

This project reconstructs the historical hydrology and ecology of the Petaluma River watershed prior to major Euro-American modification. It demonstrates the efficacy of historical hydrology and ecology in identifying and prioritizing multi-benefit restoration opportunities.

Russian River Watershed Projects at the San Francisco Estuary Institute (Project)

Our projects in the Russian River Watershed help us to understand our past, understand our present, and envision our future. Learn more about what SFEI is doing in partnership with others to advance our scientific understanding of this valuable landscape.

Photo credit: Kingmond Young

Flood Control 2.0 Wins an Outstanding Environmental Project Award! (News)

The Flood Control 2.0 project team was presented with an Outstanding Environmental Project Award at the 13th Biennial State of the Estuary Conference in Oakland, CA. The award is given by the Friends of the San Francisco Estuary to projects that benefit the San Francisco-Bay Delta Estuary and its watersheds.

Resilience Atlas (Project)

The Resilience Atlas is a compilation of cutting-edge science, creative visions and relevant spatial data to support planners, designers, policy-makers, and residents in the creation of the healthy cities, shorelines and surrounding landscapes of the future. The main goal of the Resilience Atlas is to make the science of resilience more accessible to help communities successfully adapt and thrive in the face of climate change and other challenges.

Resilient By Design: Science Advisors (Project)

The challenges of accelerating sea level rise and aging shoreline infrastructure are creating a once-in-a-century opportunity to redesign the Bay shore. Originally constructed with little regard for the Bay, the future shoreline can more successfully integrate the natural and built environments to make a healthier shore for both the Bay and local communities. New shoreline design approaches must incorporate the complex ecological and physical processes of our urbanized estuary while anticipating the future challenges of climate change and extreme weather.

Russian River Watershed Atlas helps track and coordinate post-fire activities (News)

Fire recovery in the Russian River Watershed will benefit from a common online platform for compiling, visualizing, and interpreting many kinds of environmental data available from diverse federal, state, regional, and local sources. Providing such a platform is one objective of the Russian River Regional Monitoring Program (R3MP).

Photo Credits: Micha Salomon (L), Dee Shea Himes (R)

Healthy Watersheds Resilient Baylands (Project)

The Healthy Watersheds Resilient Baylands project will enhance resilience to climate change through the implementation of several multi-benefit environmental projects by the San Francisco Estuary Partnership, SFEI, and 15 other organizations. The project has two major components: Multi-benefit Urban Greening and Tidal Wetlands Restoration. Through both components, we are developing science-based strategies that inform the design of innovative implementation projects.

Flood Control 2.0 Completed! (News)

SFEI and several agency partners recently completed a multi-year, EPA funded project called Flood Control 2.0. The goal of the project was to develop information that is useful for integrating habitat restoration into flood management at the Bay edge. Project outputs are now available at

Picture from Google Earth

South Bay Landscape Vision Workshop (News)

On June 7, SFEI, in partnership with the Santa Clara Valley Water District and South Bay Salt Ponds Restoration Project, hosted a landscape “visioning” workshop in San Jose. The goal of the workshop was to develop a resilient, multi-benefit vision highlighting opportunities along the South Bay shoreline for supporting both tidal marsh restoration and flood management.

Historical Ecology and Landscape Change in the Central Laguna de Santa Rosa (Project)

This study synthesizes a diverse array of data to examine the ecological patterns, ecosystem functions, and hydrology that characterized a central portion of the Laguna de Santa Rosa during the mid-19th century, and to analyze landscape changes over the past 150 years. The primary purpose of this study was to help guide restoration actions and other measures aimed at reducing nutrient loads within this portion of the Laguna de Santa Rosa watershed.

Lower Walnut Creek Vision Just Released! (News)

SFEI recently released a resilient landscape vision for lower Walnut Creek that incorporates habitat restoration actions into flood risk management. The vision, developed in coordination with a team of regional science experts, highlights opportunities for restoring and sustaining vital tidal wetland habitats around lower Walnut Creek while supporting a high level of flood protection under rising San Francisco Bay water levels.

Design by Linda Wanczyk

RipZET: A GIS-based Tool for Estimating Riparian Zones (Project)

The Riparian Zone Estimator Tool (RipZET) is a decision support tool developed by the San Francisco Estuary Institute and Aquatic Science Center for the California Riparian Habitat Joint Venture and the California Water Resources Control Board to assist in the visualization and characterization of riparian areas in the watershed context.

Lower Walnut Creek Historical Ecology Study (Project)

During the mid-19th century, the lower Walnut Creek watershed was a landscape dominated by extensive wetlands, meandering creeks, and grassy plains. The marshes, sloughs, and meadows provided habitat and food for a huge number of wildlife species ranging from grizzly bears and elk to clapper rails and steelhead. Over the past 150 years, urban development, diking and filling of wetlands, and channelization of streams has resulted in dramatic changes to the watershed, and much of the historical habitat has been lost.

Flood Control 2.0 (Project)

Flood Control 2.0 is an ambitious regional effort aimed at helping restore stream and wetland habitats, water quality, and shoreline resilience around San Francisco Bay. The project leverages local resources from several forward-looking flood control agencies to redesign major flood control channels so that they provide both future flood conveyance and ecological benefit under a changing climate. This timely project will develop a set of innovative approaches for bringing environmental benefits and cost-savings to flood protection efforts at the mouths of creeks that drain to San Francisco Bay.

How Creeks Meet the Bay: Current Sediment Dynamics (News)

The transition zones between our watersheds and the Bay are often occupied by flood control channels that provide a variety of societal and environmental services but can require sediment removal to maintain flood conveyance capacity. The causes of sedimentation problems in these channels are often complex, driven in large part by a combination of high watershed sediment yield and excess tidal sediment accumulation due to decreased tidal scour.

San Francisquito Creek Baylands Landscape Change Analysis (News)

SFEI recently completed a landscape change analysis of lower San Francisquito Creek in the South Bay. The study was conducted as part of the larger Flood Control 2.0 project to increase regional flood protection will improving ecological diversity.  This particular project   illustrated the change in creek and bayland habitat conditions over the past 150 years.

North San Diego County Lagoons Historical Ecology Study (Project)

The Northern San Diego County Lagoons Historical Ecology Investigation draws on hundreds of historical documents to analyze and reconstruct historical landscape conditions for six northern San Diego County estuaries prior to the major modifications of the late 19th and 20th centuries.

Head of Tide (Project)

SFEI completed a pilot study focused on creating a framework for a rapid protocol that can be used to delineate the current and future head of tide zone for San Francisco Bay tributaries using both “desktop” and field investigations.

Lower Laguna de Santa Rosa and Mark West Creek: Changes in Historical Channel Alignment (Project)

Over the past century and a half, the hydrology of the Laguna de Santa Rosa watershed has been altered by a variety land use changes, including urbanization, agricultural development, draining and filling of wetlands, and channelization of streams. These changes have impacted the function of the Laguna and Mark West Creek and contributed to a range of contemporary management problems, including habitat degradation, impaired water quality, altered sediment dynamics, salmonid stranding, flooding, and trash accumulation.

Historical Ecology for Lower Walnut Creek promises to deliver insights at an upcoming event (News)

SFEI scientists Sean Baumgarten and Scott Dusterhoff will present findings from the Lower Walnut Creek Historical Ecology Study at the Quadrennial Contra Costa County Creek and Watershed Symposium, to be held on December 3, 2015, at the Pleasant Hill Community Center.