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Foley, M. 2021. 2021 RMP Multi-Year Plan . SFEI Contribution No. 1027. San Francisco Estuary Institute: Richmond, CA.
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Spotswood, E.; Beller, E. E.; Grossinger, R. M.; Grenier, L.; Heller, N.; Aronson, M. 2021. The biological deserts fallacy: Cities in their landscapes contribute more than we think to regional biodiversity. BioScience 71 (2) . SFEI Contribution No. 1031.

Cities are both embedded within and ecologically linked to their surrounding landscapes. Although urbanization poses a substantial threat to biodiversity, cities also support many species, some of which have larger populations, faster growth rates, and higher productivity in cities than outside of them. Despite this fact, surprisingly little attention has been paid to the potentially beneficial links between cities and their surroundings.

We identify five pathways by which cities can benefit regional ecosystems by releasing species from threats in the larger landscape, increasing regional habitat heterogeneity and genetic diversity, acting as migratory stopovers, preadapting species to climate change, and enhancing public engagement and environmental stewardship. Increasing recognition of these pathways could help cities identify effective strategies for supporting regional biodiversity conservation and could provide a science-based platform for incorporating biodiversity alongside other urban greening goals.

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Moore, S.; Hale, T.; Weisberg, S. B.; Flores, L.; Kauhanen, P. 2021. California Trash Monitoring Methods and Assessments Playbook. SFEI Contribution No. 1025. San Francisco Estuary Institute: Richmond, Calif.

As municipalities and water-quality regulatory agencies have implemented programs and policies to improve management of the trash loading to storm drain conveyances, there has been increased interest in using a common set of methods to quantify the effectiveness of management actions. To create a foundation for developing a consistent, standardized approach to trash monitoring statewide, the project team performed a method comparison analysis, based on two seasons of fieldwork. This analysis facilitated the assessment of the accuracy, repeatability, and efficiency of some already developed trash monitoring methodologies already in use, as well as help to investigate a new, innovative method (cf. Fielding Testing Report on trashmonitoring.org). Methods developed by the Bay Area Stormwater Management Agencies Association (BASMAA) for use in the San Francisco Bay Area were compared to methods developed by the Southern California Stormwater Monitoring Coalition (SMC) for use in coastal southern California. One of the chief goals of these comparisons was to understand the similarities and differences between the already existing methods for detecting, quantifying, and characterizing trash in selected environments. Readers will find that the data bear out remarkable levels of accuracy and precision with quantitative metrics that help to align methods and management concerns. Furthermore, the degree of correlation among tested methods were especially high, offering greater opportunities for inter-method comparisons.

The findings of this project are intended for use by public agencies, non-profit organizations, private consultants, and all of their various partners in informing a statewide effort to adopt rigorous, standardized monitoring methods to support the State Water Board’s Trash Amendments. Over the next couple of decades, such public mandates will require all water bodies in California to achieve water quality objectives for trash.

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Moore, S.; Hale, T.; Weisberg, S. B.; Flores, L.; Kauhanen, P. 2021. Field Testing Report: California Trash Monitoring Methods. SFEI Contribution No. 1026. San Francisco Estuary Institute: Richmond, Calif.

Trash has received renewed focus in recent years as policy makers, public agencies, environmental organizations, and community groups have taken many steps towards trash quantification and management across California. The range of management actions is matched by the diversity of monitoring approaches, designed to determine key attributes associated with trash pollution on California’s lands and in its waterways.

This report describes the field testing associated with a project designed to validate the accuracy, precision, and practicality of several trash monitoring methods, practiced across the state. Additionally, the project measured the efficacy of a novel monitoring method designed to detect trash via remote sensing and machine learning. Readers will find details about each respective method -- the specific approach to
landscape characterization, the qualitative or quantitative measures undertaken, the team-based quality assurance for data collection -- as well as the approach that the testing team adopted to ensure efficient, accurate, and useful validation of the methods.

Because the validation efforts integrated multiple methods, using multiple teams at a selection of common sites, the field testing report yields useful statistical information not only about each method individually, but about the comparability of the results. The report illustrates the
correlation factor associated with different forms of trash metrics, associated with different methods practiced on the same assessment sites. The results illustrated a generally high degree of correlation among different methods, which promises opportunities to compare results meaningfully across methods.

Furthermore, this field testing report provides quantitative measures to illustrate the repeatability of each method, the differences and insights yielded by assessment site sizing criteria varying among methods, the transferability / teach-ability of each method among trash monitoring practitioners, and how the degrees of accuracy might aid programs in performing mass balance analysis of known sources
to trash detected in a given site.

Regarding innovation, the project team leveraged multiple on-the-ground methods and special testing scenarios to compare conventional and novel (aerial) assessments to measure the relative accuracy and precision of this emergent technology that might address some of the resource constraints that currently limit the broader or more frequent deployment of conventional trash assessment methods. The analyses captured in this field testing report offer specific quantitative measures of the accuracy (bias), precision (repeatability), practicality and cost associated with each method. This information is subsequently used to inform a companion summary analysis found in the Trash Monitoring Playbook, which is designed to evaluate the applicability of the monitoring methods to address classes of
monitoring questions.

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Mendez, M.; Lin, D.; Sutton, R. 2021. Study of Per- and Polyfluoroalkyl Substances in Bay Area POTWs: Phase 1, Sampling and Analysis Plan. SFEI Contribution No. 1020. San Francisco Estuary Institute: Richmond, CA.
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Franz, A.; Salop, P. 2020. 2019 Bay RMP Water Cruise Plan. SFEI Contribution No. 971. San Francisco Estuary Institute: Richmond, CA.
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Buzby, N.; Yee, D.; Salop, P.; Foley, M. 2020. 2019 RMP North Bay Selenium Monitoring Sampling and Analysis Plan. SFEI Contribution No. 969. San Francisco Estuary Institute: Richmond, CA.

The goal of monitoring for selenium in the North Bay tissue and water is to identify leading indicators of change to allow prompt management response to signs of increasing impairment. At the 2016 technical workshop, participants reached a consensus that monitoring sturgeon, clams, and water are all needed to answer management questions. Recommendations for long-term monitoring of these three matrices are detailed in the North Bay Monitoring Design document (Grieb et al. 2018). The purpose of this Sampling and Analysis Plan is to clearly document the sampling design, methods, and responsibilities; and to facilitate coordination among project partners.

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Buzby, N.; Yee, D.; Foley, M.; David, J.; Sigala, M.; Bonnema, A. 2020. 2019 Sport Fish Monitoring Sampling and Analysis Plan. SFEI Contribution No. 970. San Francisco Estuary Institute: Richmond, CA.

The Regional Monitoring Program for Water Quality in San Francisco Bay (RMP) monitors concentrations of contaminants in fish tissue as indicators of bioaccumulation of contaminants in the Bay. In 2019, the RMP will conduct its eighth round of sport fish monitoring by collecting sport fish samples from various locations in the Bay as a part of routine Status and Trends Monitoring. Add-ons to the routine Status and Trends sport fish monitoring design will include archiving for microplastics and fipronil, as well as additional collections of shiner surfperch in Priority Margin Unit areas (PMUs).

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2020. 2020 Bay RMP Detailed Workplan and Budget. SFEI Contribution No. 980. San Francisco Estuary Institute: Richmond, CA.
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Miller, E.; Mendez, M.; Shimabuku, I.; Buzby, N.; Sutton, R. 2020. Contaminants of Emerging Concern in San Francisco Bay: A Strategy for Future Investigations 2020 Update. SFEI Contribution No. 1007. San Francisco Estuary Institute: Richmond, CA.

This 2020 CEC Strategy Update is a brief summary document that describes the addition of recently monitored CECs to the tiered risk-based framework. Reviews of findings relevant to San Francisco Bay are provided, as is a discussion of the role of environmental persistence in classifying CECs within the framework. The Strategy is a living document that guides RMP special studies on CECs, assuring continued focus on the issues of highest priority to protecting the health of the Bay. A key focus of the Strategy is a tiered risk-based framework that guides future monitoring proposals. The Strategy also features a multi-year plan indicating potential future research priorities.

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Heberger, M.; Sutton, R.; Buzby, N.; Sun, J.; Lin, D.; Mendez, M.; Hladik, M.; Orlando, J.; Sanders, C.; Furlong, E. 2020. Current-Use Pesticides, Fragrance Ingredients, and Other Emerging Contaminants in San Francisco Bay Margin Sediment and Water. SFEI Contribution No. 934. San Francisco Estuary Institute: Richmond, CA.

The Regional Monitoring Program for Water Quality in San Francisco Bay (RMP) has recently focused attention on better characterization of contaminants in nearshore “margin” areas of San Francisco Bay. The margins of the Lower South Bay are mudflats and shallow regions that receive direct discharges of stormwater and wastewater; as a result, they may have higher levels of urban contaminants than the open Bay. In the summer of 2017, the RMP collected samples of margin
sediment in the South and Lower South Bay for analysis of legacy contaminants. The study described here leveraged that sampling effort by adding monitoring of sediment and water for two additional sets of emerging contaminants: 1) current-use pesticides; and 2) fragrance ingredients including the polycyclic musk galaxolide, as well as a range of other commonly detected emerging contaminants linked to toxicity concerns such as endocrine disruption.

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Foley, M.; Christian, E.; Goeden, B.; Ross, B. 2020. Expert review of the sediment screening guidelines for the beneficial reuse of dredged material in San Francisco Bay. SFEI Contribution No. 978. San Francisco Estuary Institute: Richmond, CA.

The beneficial reuse of dredged sediment is one strategy in a broader portfolio that is being developed for San Francisco Bay to help marshes adapt to rising sea level. Dredged sediment is currently being used in restoration projects around the Bay, but additional sediment is needed to meet the demand. The guidelines for determining if sediment is appropriate for beneficial reuse were developed twenty years ago. As part of assessing the role of dredged sediment in Bay restoration and adaptation strategies, the Regional Monitoring Program for Water Quality (RMP) and stakeholders recognized the need to revisit the beneficial reuse guidelines for dredged sediment. In September 2019, the RMP convened a workshop that included four technical experts to review the beneficial reuse guidelines. The experts were asked to answer three questions: 1) Are the current screening guidelines appropriate for beneficial reuse? 2) Is the current screening process appropriate and adequate? If not, what are your recommendations for improving it? and 3) How should bioaccumulation potential be addressed for the beneficial reuse of sediment? Based on the discussion of these three questions, six recommendations emerged from the workshop.

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Hung, C.; Klasios, N.; Zhu, X.; Sedlak, M.; Sutton, R. 2020. Methods Matter: Methods for Sampling Microplastic and Other Anthropogenic Particles and Their Implications for Monitoring and Ecological Risk Assessment. Integrated Environmental Assessment and Management 16 (6) . SFEI Contribution No. 1014.

To inform mitigation strategies and understand how microplastics affect wildlife, research is focused on understanding the sources, pathways, and occurrence of microplastics in the environment and in wildlife. Microplastics research entails counting and characterizing microplastics in nature, which is a labor‐intensive process, particularly given the range of particle sizes and morphologies present within this diverse class of contaminants. Thus, it is crucial to determine appropriate sampling methods that best capture the types and quantities of microplastics relevant to inform the questions and objectives at hand. It is also critical to follow protocols with strict quality assurance and quality control (QA/QC) measures so that results reflect accurate estimates of microplastic contamination. Here, we assess different sampling procedures and QA/QC strategies to inform best practices for future environmental monitoring and assessments of exposure. We compare microplastic abundance and characteristics in surface‐water samples collected using different methods (i.e., manta and bulk water) at the same sites, as well as duplicate samples for each method taken at the same site and approximate time. Samples were collected from 9 sampling sites within San Francisco Bay, California, USA, using 3 different sampling methods: 1) manta trawl (manta), 2) 1‐L grab (grab), and 3) 10‐L bulk water filtered in situ (pump). Bulk water sampling methods (both grab and pump) captured more microplastics within the smaller size range (<335 μm), most of which were fibers. Manta samples captured a greater diversity of morphologies but underestimated smaller‐sized particles. Inspection of pump samples revealed high numbers of particles from procedural contamination, stressing the need for robust QA/QC, including sampling and analyzing laboratory blanks, field blanks, and duplicates. Choosing the appropriate sampling method, combined with rigorous, standardized QA/QC practices, is essential for the future of microplastics research in marine and freshwater ecosystems.

Miller, E.; Klasios, N.; Lin, D.; Sedlak, M.; Sutton, R.; Rochman, C. 2020. Microparticles, Microplastics, and PAHs in Bivalves in San Francisco Bay. SFEI Contribution No. 976. San Francisco Estuary Institute: Richmond, CA.

California mussels (Mytilus californianus and hybrid Mytilus galloprovincialis / Mytilus trossulus) and Asian clams (Corbicula fluminea) were collected at multiple sites in San Francisco Bay. Mussels from a reference area with minimal urban influence were also deployed in cages for 90 days at multiple sites within the Bay prior to collection.Mussels from the reference time zero site, Bodega Head, had some of the lowest microparticle levels found in this study, along with resident clams from the San Joaquin and Sacramento Rivers and mussels transplanted to Pinole Point. The highest concentrations of microparticles were in mussels transplanted to Redwood Creek and Coyote Creek. The results of this study and current literature indicate that bivalves may not be good status and trends indicators of microplastic concentrations in the Bay unless the interest is in human health exposure via contaminated bivalve consumption.

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Soberón, F. Sánchez; Sutton, R.; Sedlak, M.; Yee, D.; Schuhmacher, M.; Park, J. - S. 2020. Multi-box mass balance model of PFOA and PFOS in different regions of San Francisco Bay. Chemosphere 252 . SFEI Contribution No. 986.

We present a model to predict the long-term distribution and concentrations of perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) and perfluorooctanesulfonic acid (PFOS) in estuaries comprising multiple intercommunicated sub-embayments. To that end, a mass balance model including rate constants and time-varying water inputs was designed to calculate levels of these compounds in water and sediment for every sub-embayment. Subsequently, outflows and tidal water exchanges were used to interconnect the different regions of the estuary. To calculate plausible risks to population, outputs of the model were used as inputs in a previously designed model to simulate concentrations of PFOA and PFOS in a sport fish species (Cymatogaster aggregata). The performance of the model was evaluated by applying it to the specific case of San Francisco Bay, (California, USA), using 2009 sediment and water sampled concentrations of PFOA and PFOS in North, Central and South regions. Concentrations of these compounds in the Bay displayed exponential decreasing trends, but with different shapes depending on region, compound, and compartment assessed. Nearly stable PFOA concentrations were reached after 50 years, while PFOS needed close to 500 years to stabilize in sediment and fish. Afterwards, concentrations stabilize between 4 and 23 pg/g in sediment, between 0.02 and 44 pg/L in water, and between 7 and 104 pg/g wet weight in fish, depending on compound and region. South Bay had the greatest final concentrations of pollutants, regardless of compartment. Fish consumption is safe for most scenarios, but due to model uncertainty, limitations in monthly intake could be established for North and South Bay catches.

Buzby, N.; Lin, D.; Sutton, R. 2020. Neonicotinoids and Their Degradates in San Francisco Bay Water. SFEI Contribution No. 1002. San Francisco Estuary Institute: Richmond, CA.

In the summer of 2017, open Bay water samples were collected during the RMP Status and Trends Water Cruise. Samples were analyzed for 19 neonicotinoids and metabolites. The only neonicotinoid detected was imidacloprid, an active ingredient used in both urban and agricultural applications. Imidacloprid was detected at a single site above the method detection limits (2.2-2.6 ng/L) in Lower South Bay at a level of 4.2 ng/L. This value is within the range of concentrations found in a separate RMP study in water samples collected from the South and Lower South Bay margins in 2017. Imidacloprid was detected at 3 of 12 of the margin sites at levels between 3.9 and 11 ng/L; no other neonicotinoids were detected. Of note, these RMP studies appear to represent the first evaluation of ambient neonicotinoid concentrations in an estuarine environment in the nation.

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Sun, J.; Sutton, R.; Ferguson, L.; Overdahl, K. 2020. New San Francisco Bay Contaminants Emerge. SFEI Contribution No. 931. San Francisco Estuary Institute: Richmond, CA.

In 2016, the RMP launched a novel investigation to detect new or unexpected contaminants in Bay waters, as well as treated sewage (or wastewater) discharged to the Bay. This study used non-targeted analysis, a powerful tool that provides a broad, open-ended view of thousands of synthetic and naturally-derived chemicals simultaneously. We identified hundreds of contaminants, and the results have opened our eyes to urban stormwater runoff as an important pathway for emerging contaminants to enter the Bay.

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Gilbreath, A.; Hunt, J.; Mckee, L. 2020. Pollutants of Concern Reconnaissance Monitoring Progress Report, Water Years 2015 - 2019. SFEI Contribution No. 987. San Francisco Estuary Institute: Richmond, CA.

Reconnaissance monitoring for water years 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018 and 2019 was completed with funding provided by the Regional Monitoring Program for Water Quality in San Francisco Bay (RMP). This report is designed to be updated each year until completion of the study. At least one additional water year (2020) is underway. An earlier draft of this report was prepared for the Bay Area Stormwater Management Agencies Association (BASMAA) in support of materials submitted on or before March 31st 2020 in compliance with the Municipal Regional Stormwater Permit (MRP) Order No. R2-2015-0049.

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Miller, E.; Sedlak, M.; Lin, D.; Box, C.; Holleman, C.; Rochman, C. M.; Sutton, R. 2020. Recommended Best Practices for Collecting, Analyzing, and Reporting Microplastics in Environmental Media: Lessons Learned from Comprehensive Monitoring of San Francisco Bay. Journal of Hazardous Materials . SFEI Contribution No. 1023.

Microplastics are ubiquitous and persistent contaminants in the ocean and a pervasive and preventable threat to the health of marine ecosystems. Microplastics come in a wide variety of shapes, sizes, and plastic types, each with unique physical and chemical properties and toxicological impacts. Understanding the magnitude of the microplastic problem and determining the highest priorities for mitigation require accurate measures of microplastic occurrence in the environment and identification of likely sources. The field of microplastic pollution is in its infancy, and there are not yet widely accepted standards for sample collection, laboratory analyses, quality assurance/quality control (QA/QC), or reporting of microplastics in environmental samples. Based on a comprehensive assessment of microplastics in San Francisco Bay water, sediment, fish, bivalves, stormwater, and wastewater effluent, we developed recommended best practices for collecting, analyzing, and reporting microplastics in environmental media. We recommend factors to consider in microplastic study design, particularly in regard to site selection and sampling methods. We also highlight the need for standard QA/QC practices such as collection of field and laboratory blanks, use of methods beyond microscopy to identify particle composition, and standardized reporting practices, including suggested vocabulary for particle classification.

Baumgarten, S.; Grossinger, R.; Bazo, M.; Benjamin, M. 2020. Re-Oaking North Bay. SFEI Contribution No. 947. San Francisco Estuary Institute: Richmond, CA.
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Richey, A.; Dusterhoff, S. D.; Baumgarten, S. A.; Clark, E.; Benjamin, M.; Shaw, S.; Askevold, R. A.; McKnight, K. 2020. Restoration Vision for the Laguna de Santa Rosa. SFEI Contribution No. 983. SFEI: Richmond, CA.

 The Laguna de Santa Rosa, located in the Russian River watershed in Sonoma County, CA, is an expansive freshwater wetland complex that hosts a rich diversity of plant and wildlife species, many of which are federally or state listed as threatened, endangered, or species of special concern. The Laguna is also home to a thriving agricultural community that depends on the land for its livelihood. Since the mid-19th century, development within the Laguna and its surrounding watershed have had a considerable impact on the landscape, affecting both wildlife and people. Compared to pre-development conditions, the Laguna currently experiences increased stormwater runoff and flooding, increased delivery and accumulation of fine sediment and nutrients, spread of problematic invasive species, and decreased habitat for native fish and wildlife species. Predicted changes in future precipitation patterns and summertime air temperatures, combined with expanding development pressure, could exacerbate these problems. People who manage land and regulate land management decisions in and around the Laguna, including landowners; federal, state, and local agencies; and local stakeholders, are seeking a long-term management approach for the Laguna that improves conditions for the wildlife and people that call the Laguna home. The California Department of Fish and Wildlife and Sonoma Water funded the Laguna-Mark West Creek Watershed Master Restoration Planning Project to develop such a management approach, focusing on the need to identify restoration and management actions that enhance desired ecological functions of the Laguna, while also supporting the area’s agriculture and its local residents.

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Davis, J.; Foley, M.; Askevold, R.; Buzby, N.; Chelsky, A.; Dusterhoff, S.; Gilbreath, A.; Lin, D.; Miller, E.; Senn, D.; et al. 2020. RMP Update 2020. SFEI Contribution No. 1008.

The overarching goal of the Regional Monitoring Program for Water Quality in San Francisco Bay (RMP) is to answer the highest priority scientific questions faced by managers of Bay water quality. The RMP is an innovative collaboration between the San Francisco Bay Regional Water Quality Control Board, the regulated discharger community, the San Francisco Estuary Institute, and many other scientists and interested parties. The purpose of this document is to provide a concise overview of recent RMP activities and findings, and a look ahead to significant products anticipated in the next two years. The report includes a description of the management context that guides the Program; a brief summary of some of the most noteworthy findings of this multifaceted Program; and a summary of progress to date and future plans for addressing priority water quality topics.

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Brander, S. M.; Renick, V. C.; Foley, M. M.; Steele, C.; Woo, M.; Lusher, A.; Carr, S.; Helm, P.; Box, C.; Cherniak, S.; et al. 2020. Sampling and Quality Assurance and Quality Control: A Guide for Scientists Investigating the Occurrence of Microplastics Across Matrices. Applied Spectroscopy 74 (9) . SFEI Contribution No. 1012.

Plastic pollution is a defining environmental contaminant and is considered to be one of the greatest environmental threats of the Anthropocene, with its presence documented across aquatic and terrestrial ecosystems. The majority of this plastic debris falls into the micro (1 lm–5 mm) or nano (1–1000 nm) size range and comes from primary and secondary sources. Its small size makes it cumbersome to isolate and analyze reproducibly, and its ubiquitous distribution creates numerous challenges when controlling for background contamination across matrices (e.g., sediment, tissue, water, air). Although research on microplastics represents a relatively nascent subfield, burgeoning interest in questions surrounding the fate and effects of these debris items creates a pressing need for harmonized sampling protocols and quality control approaches. For results across laboratories to be reproducible and comparable, it is imperative that guidelines based on vetted protocols be readily available to research groups, many of which are either new to plastics research or, as with any new subfield, have arrived at current approaches through a process of trial-and-error rather than in consultation with the greater scientific community. The goals of this manuscript are to (i) outline the steps necessary to conduct general as
well as matrix-specific quality assurance and quality control based on sample type and associated constraints, (ii) briefly review current findings across matrices, and (iii) provide guidance for the design of sampling regimes. Specific attention is paid to the source of microplastic pollution as well as the pathway by which contamination occurs, with details provided regarding each step in the process from generating appropriate questions to sampling design and collection.

Dusterhoff, S.; McKnight, K.; Grenier, L.; Kauffman, N. 2020. Sediment for Survival: A Strategy for the Resilience of Bay Wetlands in the Lower San Francisco Estuary. SFEI Contribution No. 1015. San Francisco Estuary Institute: Richmond, CA.

The resilience of San Francisco Bay shore habitats, such as tidal marshes and mudflats, is essential to all who live in the Bay Area. Tidal marshes and tidal flats (also known as mudflats) are key components of the shore habitats, collectively called baylands, which protect billions of dollars of bay-front housing and infrastructure (including neighborhoods, business parks, highways, sewage treatment plants, and landfills). They purify the Bay’s water, support endangered wildlife, nurture fisheries, and provide people access to nature within the urban environment. Bay Area residents showed their commitment to restoring these critical habitats when they voted for a property tax to pay for large-scale tidal marsh restoration. However, climate change poses a great threat, because there may not be enough natural sediment supply for tidal marshes and mudflats to gain elevation fast enough to keep pace with sea-level rise.

This report analyses current data and climate projections to determine how much natural sediment may be available for tidal marshes and mudflats and how much supplemental sediment may be needed under different future scenarios. These sediment supply and demand estimates are combined with scientific knowledge of natural physical and biological processes to offer a strategy for sediment delivery that will allow these wetlands to survive a changing climate and provide benefits to people and nature for many decades to come. The approach developed in this report may also be useful beyond San Francisco Bay because shoreline protection, flood risk-management, and looming sediment deficits are common issues facing coastal communities around the world.

Mckee, L.; Lowe, J.; Dusterhoff, S.; Foley, M.; Shaw, S. 2020. Sediment Monitoring and Modeling Strategy. Sediment Monitoring and Modeling Strategy. SFEI Contribution No. 1016. San Francisco Estuary Institute: Richmond, CA.
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McKnight, K.; Lowe, J.; Plane, E. 2020. Special Study on Bulk Density. SFEI Contribution No. 975. San Francisco Estuary Institute: Richmond, CA. p 43.

Sediment bulk density is the total mass of mineral and organic sediment within a defined volume. It is a key variable in many research questions pertaining to Bay sediment studies but one that is often poorly quantified and can be misinterpreted. The motivation for this report comes from a recommendation by Schoellhamer et al. (2018) to compile more accurate estimates of bulk density of Bay sediments to convert between volume and mass with a higher level of certainty. Through funding and guidance from the Bay Regional Monitoring Program Sediment Work Group, this report is a first step towards compiling the available data on sediment bulk densities across Bay habitats and along salinity gradients to provide better information for resource managers and others working on sediment-related issues. This report discusses the need to know the bulk density of Bay soils to convert between sediment mass and soil volume; clarifies general definitions and common points of confusion related to sediment bulk density; compiles primary sources of bulk density measurements, secondary sources of bulk density estimates, and standard engineering estimates of bulk density for different habitats in San Francisco Bay; and, provides a database where practitioners can track, analyze, and share bulk density measurements.

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Grossinger, R. M.; Wheeler, M.; Spotswood, E.; Ndayishimiye, E.; Carbone, G.; Galt, R. 2020. Sports and urban biodiversity. . SFEI Contribution No. 1028.

SFEI collaborated with the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) and the International Olympic Committee (IOC) to create a guide to incorporating nature into urban sports, from the development of Olympic cities to the design and management of the many sport fields throughout the urban landscape. We applied the Urban Biodiversity Framework developed in Making Nature’s City to the world of sports, with case studies drawn from international sport federations, Olympic cities, and individual sport teams and venues around the world. The guide is part of IUCN’s ongoing collaboration with IOC to develop best practices around biodiversity for the sporting industry.

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Pearce, S.; McKee, L. 2020. Summary of Water Year 2017 precipitation, discharge, and sediment conditions at selected locations in Arroyo de la Laguna watershed, with a focus on Arroyo Mocho. SFEI Contribution No. 912. San Francisco Estuary Institute: Richmond, CA.

This report summarizes the precipitation, discharge, and sediment conditions observed from October 1, 2016 to September 30th, 2017 (Water Year (WY) 2017) in the Arroyo de la Laguna watershed, with a focus on the Arroyo Mocho watershed. This information was collected by the Zone 7 Water Agency to support operation and maintenance of their flood control facilities. Additionally, this and similar information collected in WY 2018 and 2019 will be utilized to update the Arroyo Mocho watershed sediment budget (Pearce et al, 2020).

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Livsey, D. N.; Downing-Kunz, M. A.; Schoellhamer, D. H.; Manning, A. J. 2020. Suspended Sediment Flux in the San Francisco Estuary: Part I—Changes in the Vertical Distribution of Suspended Sediment and Bias in Estuarine Sediment Flux Measurements. Estuaries and Coasts . SFEI Contribution No. 990.

In this study, we investigate how changes in the vertical distribution of suspended sediment affect continuous suspended sediment flux measurements at a location in the San Francisco Estuary. Current methods for measuring continuous suspended sediment flux estimates relate continuous estimates of suspended-sediment concentration (SSC) measured at-a-point (SSCpt) to discrete cross-section measurements of depth-averaged, velocity-weighted SSC (SSCxs). Regressions that compute SSCxs from continuous estimates of SSCpt require that the slope between SSCpt and SSCxs, controlled by the vertical distribution of SSC, is fixed. However, in tidal systems with suspended cohesive sediment, factors that control the vertical SSC profile—vertical turbulent mixing and downward settling of suspended sediment mediated by flocculation of cohesive sediment—constantly vary through each tide and may exhibit systematic differences between flood and ebb tides (tidal asymmetries in water velocity or particle size). We account for changes in the vertical SSC profile on estimates of SSCxs using time series of the Rouse number of the Rouse-Vanoni-Ippen equation combined with optical turbidity measurements, a surrogate for SSCpt, to predict SSCxs from 2009 to 2011 and 2013. Time series of the Rouse number were estimated by fitting the Rouse-Vanoni-Ippen equation to SSC estimated from optical-turbidity measurements taken at two elevations in the water column. When accounting for changes in the vertical SSC profile, changes in not only the magnitude but also the direction of cumulative sediment-flux measurements were observed. For example, at a mid-depth sensor, sediment flux estimates changed from − 319 kt (± 65 kt, negative indicating net seaward transport) to 482 kt (± 140 kt, positive indicating net landward transport) for 2009–2011 and from − 388 kt (± 140 kt) to 1869 kt (± 406 kt) for 2013–2016. At the study location, estimation of SSCxs solely from SSCpt resulted in sediment flux values that were underestimates on flood tides and overestimates on ebb tides. This asymmetry is driven by covariance between water velocity and particle settling velocity (Ws) with larger Ws on flood compared to ebb tides. Results of this study indicate that suspended-sediment-flux measurements estimated from point estimates of SSC may be biased if systematic changes in the vertical distribution of SSC are unaccounted for.

Rochman, C. M.; Munno, K.; Box, C.; Cummins, A.; Zhu, X.; Sutton, R. 2020. Think Global, Act Local: Local Knowledge Is Critical to Inform Positive Change When It Comes to Microplastics. Environmental Science & Technology . SFEI Contribution No. 1024.

Microplastic contamination in the marine environment is a global issue. Across the world, policies at the national and international level are needed to facilitate the scale of change needed to tackle this significant problem. However, sources and patterns of plastic contamination vary around the world, and the most pressing actions differ from one location to another. Therefore, local policies are a critical part of the solution; recognizing local sources will enable mitigations with measurable impacts. Here, we highlight how investigating the contamination comprehensively in one location can inform relevant mitigation strategies that can be transferred globally. We examine the San Francisco Bay in California, USA—the largest estuary on the West Coast of the Americas, and home to over 7 million people. The local contamination of microplastics in surface water, sediments, and fish from this urban bay is reportedly higher than many places studied to date.(1) This example demonstrates the value of local monitoring in identifying sources, informing local mitigation strategies and developing an array of solutions to stem the multifaceted tide of plastic pollution entering our global oceans.

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Foley, M. 2019. 2019 Bay RMP Multi-Year Plan. SFEI Contribution No. 940. San Francisco Estuary Institute: Richmond, CA.
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Sigala, M. 2019. 2019 RMP Contaminant Concentrations in San Francisco Bay Sportfish Cruise Report. SFEI Contribution No. 968. Marine Pollution Studies Laboratory, Moss Landing Marine Laboratories: Moss Landing, CA.

This report contains information on the spring and summer field sampling efforts conducted by the Marine Pollution Studies Laboratory at Moss Landing Marine Labs (MPSL-MLML). The purpose of this field effort was to collect sportfish for an eighth season of data (in support of 1994, 1997, 2000, 2003, 2006, 2009, and 2014 surveys) in the ongoing study of Contamination in San Francisco Bay Sportfish. The work was contracted through the San Francisco Estuary Institute (SFEI) for the Regional Monitoring Program (RMP) for Water Quality. 

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Salop, P.; Herrmann, C. 2019. 2019 RMP Water Cruise Report. SFEI Contribution No. 967. Applied Marine Sciences: Livermore, CA.

This report details activities associated with the annual Regional Monitoring Program for Water Quality in the San Francisco Estuary (RMP) water cruise. The RMP water sampling program was redesigned in 2002 to adopt a randomized sampling design at thirty-one sites in place of the twenty-six “spine of the Estuary” stations sampled previously. In 2007, the number of sites was decreased to twenty-two stations and it remains as such for 2019.

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Foley, M. 2019. 2020 RMP Multi-Year Plan. SFEI Contribution No. 959. San Francisco Estuary Institute: Richmond, CA.
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Sutton, R.; Chen, D.; Sun, J.; Greig, D. J.; Wu, Y. 2019. Characterization of brominated, chlorinated, and phosphate flame retardants in San Francisco Bay, an urban estuary. Science of the Total Environment 652, 212-223 . SFEI Contribution No. 859.

Flame retardant chemical additives are incorporated into consumer goods to meet flammability standards, and many have been detected in environmental matrices. A uniquely wide-ranging characterization of flame retardants was conducted, including polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs) and 52 additional brominated, chlorinated, or phosphate analytes, in water, sediment, bivalves, and harbor seal blubber of San Francisco Bay, a highly urbanized estuary once considered a hot spot for PBDE contamination. Among brominated flame retardants, PBDEs remained the dominant contaminants in all matrices, though declines have been observed over the last decade following their phase-out. Hexabromocyclododecane (HBCD) and other hydrophobic, brominated flame retardants were commonly detected at lower levels than PBDEs in sediment and tissue matrices. Dechlorane Plus (DP) and related chlorinated compounds were also detected at lower levels or not at all across all matrices. In contrast, phosphate flame retardants were widely detected in Bay water samples, with highest median concentrations in the order TCPP > TPhP > TBEP > TDCPP > TCEP. Concentrations in Bay water were often higher than in other estuarine and marine environments. Phosphate flame retardants were also widely detected in sediment, in the order TEHP > TCrP > TPhP > TDCPP > TBEP. Several were present in bivalves, with levels of TDCPP comparable to PBDEs. Only four phosphate flame retardants were detected in harbor seal blubber: TCPP, TDCPP, TCEP, and TPhP. Periodic, multi-matrix screening is recommended to track contaminant trends impacted by changes to flammability standards and manufacturing practices, with a particular focus on contaminants like TDCPP and TPhP that were found at levels comparable to thresholds for aquatic toxicity.

Yee, D.; Wong, A.; Buzby, N. 2019. Characterization of Sediment Contamination in South Bay Margin Areas. SFEI Contribution No. 962. San Francisco Estuary Institute: Richmond, CA.

The Bay margins (i.e., mudflats and adjacent shallow areas of the Bay) are important habitats where there is high potential for wildlife to be exposed to contaminants. However, until recently, these areas had not been routinely sampled by the Regional Monitoring Program for Water Quality in San Francisco Bay (RMP) due to logistical considerations. In 2015, the RMP conducted a spatially-distributed characterization of surface sediment contamination and ancillary characteristics within the RMP-defined Central San Francisco Bay margin areas. This was repeated in 2017 within South Bay, which for this report refers to the area collectively encompassing Upper South Bay (usually just called the “South Bay” segment in the Bay RMP, “Upper” added here to distinguish from the combined area), Lower South Bay, and “Extreme” Lower South Bay (previously named “Southern Sloughs”) margin areas.

Ambient margins data in South Bay provide a context against which the severity of contamination at specific sites can be compared. The baseline data could also be useful in setting targets and tracking improvements in watershed loads and their nearfield receiving waters, or for appropriate assessment of re-use or disposal of dredged sediment. These spatially distributed data also provide improved estimates of mean concentrations and contaminant inventories in margins. Based on data from this study, contamination in the margin areas accounts for 35% of PCB mass in the upper 15 cm of surface sediments in South Bay, which is approximately proportional to the relative area of the margin (34% of the region). In contrast, margins only contain 30% of the mercury mass in South Bay, somewhat less than their proportional area.

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Whipple, A.; Grantham, T.; Desanker, G.; Hunt, L.; Merrill, A.; Hackenjos, B.; Askevold, R. A. 2019. Chinook Salmon Habitat Quantification Tool: User Guide (Version 1.0). Prepared for American Rivers. Funded by the Natural Resources Conservation Service Conservation Innovation Grant (#69-3A75-17-40), Water Foundation and Environmental Defense Fund. A report of SFEI-ASC’s Resilient Landscapes Program. SFEI Contribution No. 953. San Francisco Estuary Institute: Richmond, CA.

The Salmon Habitat Quantification Tool provides systematic, transparent, and consistent accounting of the spatial extent, temporal variability, and quality of salmon habitat on the landscape. It is part of the multi-species assessment of the Central Valley Habitat Exchange (CVHE, www.cvhe.org). The suitability criteria applied in the tool were established by Stillwater Sciences and the Technical Advisory Committee (TAC), and the Chinook salmon HQT habitat evaluation and User Guide development was led by American Rivers and the San Francisco Estuary Institute. The approach uses commonly-applied concepts for evaluating suitable habitat based on modeling, with methods adapted from the hydrospatial analysis approach developed by Alison Whipple (2018).

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Yee, D.; Gilbreath, A. N.; McKee, L. J. .; Davis, J. A. 2019. Conceptual Model to Support PCB Management and Monitoring in the San Leandro Bay Priority Margin Unit - Final Report. SFEI Contribution No. 928. San Francisco Estuary Institute: Richmond, CA.

The goal of RMP PCB special studies over the next few years is to inform the review and possible revision of the PCB TMDL and the reissuance of the Municipal Regional Permit for Stormwater, both of which are tentatively scheduled to occur in 2020. Conceptual model development for a set of four representative priority margin units will provide a foundation for establishing an effective and efficient monitoring plan to track responses to load reductions, and will also help guide planning of management actions. The Emeryville Crescent was the first PMU to be studied in 2015-2016. The San Leandro Bay PMU is second (2016-2018), Steinberger Slough in San Carlos is third (2018), and Richmond Harbor will be fourth (2018-2019).

This document is Phase Three of a report on the conceptual model for San Leandro Bay. A Phase One report (Yee et al. 2017) presented analyses of watershed loading, initial retention, and long-term fate, including results of sediment sampling in 2016. A Phase Two data report (Davis et al. 2017) documented the methods, quality assurance, and all of the results of the 2016 field study. This Phase Three report is the final report that incorporates all of the results of the 2016 field study, and includes additional discussion of the potential influence of contaminated sites in the
watershed, the results of passive sampling by Stanford researchers and a comparative analysis of long-term fate in San Leandro Bay and the Emeryville Crescent, a section on bioaccumulation, and a concluding section with answers to the management questions that were the impetus for the work.

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Yee, D.; Wong, A. 2019. Evaluation of PCB Concentrations, Masses, and Movement from Dredged Areas in San Francisco Bay. SFEI Contribution No. 938. San Francisco Estuary Institute: Richmond, CA.
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Spotswood, E.; Grossinger, R.; Hagerty, S.; Bazo, M.; Benjamin, M.; Beller, E.; Grenier, L.; Askevold, R. A. 2019. Making Nature's City. SFEI Contribution No. 947. San Francisco Estuary Institute: Richmond, CA.

Cities will face many challenges over the coming decades, from adapting to a changing climate to accommodating rapid population growth. A related suite of challenges threatens global biodiversity, resulting in many species facing extinction. While urban planners and conservationists have long treated these issues as distinct, there is growing evidence that cities not only harbor a significant fraction of the world’s biodiversity, but also that they can also be made more livable and resilient for people, plants, and animals through nature-friendly urban design. 

Urban ecological science can provide a powerful tool to guide cities towards more biodiversity-friendly design. However, current research remains scattered across thousands of journal articles and is largely inaccessible to practitioners. Our report Making Nature’s City addresses these issues, synthesizing global research to develop a science-based approach for supporting nature in cities. 

Using the framework outlined in the report, urban designers and local residents can work together to connect, improve, and expand upon city greenspaces to better support biodiversity while making cities better places to live. As we envision healthier and more resilient cities, Making Nature’s City provides practical guidance for the many actors who together will shape the nature of cities.

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Sedlak, M.; Sutton, R.; Miller, L.; Lin, D. 2019. Microplastic Strategy Update. SFEI Contribution No. 951. San Francisco Estuary Institute: Richmond, CA.

Based on the detection of microplastics in San Francisco Bay surface water and Bay Area wastewater effluent in 2015, the Regional Monitoring Program for Water Quality in San Francisco Bay (RMP) convened a Microplastic Workgroup (MPWG) in 2016 to discuss the issue, identify management information needs and management questions (MQs), and prioritize studies to provide information to answer these management questions. The MPWG meets annually to review on-going microplastic projects and to conduct strategic long-term planning in response to new information in this rapidly evolving field.

In this nascent field with new findings published almost daily, the Strategy is designed to be a living document that is updated periodically. This Strategy Update includes a short summary of recent findings from the San Francisco Bay Microplastics Project - a major monitoring effort in the Bay - and an updated multi-year plan based on the newly acquired knowledge and current management needs.

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Gilbreath, A.; McKee, L.; Shimabuku, I.; Lin, D.; Werbowski, L. M.; Zhu, X.; Grbic, J.; Rochman, C. 2019. Multi-year water quality performance and mass accumulation of PCBs, mercury, methylmercury, copper and microplastics in a bioretention rain garden. Journal of Sustainable Water in the Built Environment 5 (4) . SFEI Contribution No. 872.

A multiyear water quality performance study of a bioretention rain garden located along a major urban transit corridor east of San Francisco Bay was conducted to assess the efficacy of bioretention rain gardens to remove pollutants. Based on data collected in three years between 2012 and 2017, polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) and suspended sediment concentrations (SSCs) were reduced (>90%), whereas total mercury (Hg), methylmercury (MeHg), and copper (Cu) were moderately captured (37%, 49%, and 68% concentration reduction, respectively). Anthropogenic microparticles including microplastics were retained by the bioretention rain garden, decreasing in concentration from 1.6 particles/L to 0.16 particles/L. Based on subsampling at 50- and 150-mm intervals in soil cores from two areas of the unit, PCBs, Hg, and MeHg were all present at the highest concentrations in the upper 100 mm in the surface media layers. Based on residential screening concentrations, the surface media layer near the inlet would need to be removed and replaced annually, whereas the rest of the unit would need replacement every 8 years. The results of this study support the use of bioretention in the San Francisco Bay Area as one management option for meeting load reductions required by San Francisco Bay total maximum daily loads, and provide useful data for supporting decisions about media replacement and overall maintenance schedules.

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Sutton, R.; Xie, Y.; Moran, K. D.; Teerlink, J. 2019. Occurrence and Sources of Pesticides to Urban Wastewater and the Environment. In Pesticides in Surface Water: Monitoring, Modeling, Risk Assessment, and Management. Pesticides in Surface Water: Monitoring, Modeling, Risk Assessment, and Management. American Chemical Society: Washington, DC. pp 63-88.

Municipal wastewater has not been extensively examined as a pathway by which pesticides contaminate surface water, particularly relative to the well-recognized pathways of agricultural and urban runoff. A state-of-the-science review of the occurrence and fate of current-use pesticides in wastewater, both before and after treatment, indicates this pathway is significant and should not be overlooked. A comprehensive conceptual model is presented to establish all relevant pesticide-use patterns with the potential for both direct and indirect down-the-drain transport. Review of available studies from the United States indicates 42 pesticides in current use. While pesticides and pesticide degradates have been identified in wastewater, many more have never been examined in this matrix. Conventional wastewater treatment technologies are generally ineffective at removing pesticides from wastewater, with high removal efficiency only observed in the case of highly hydrophobic compounds, such as pyrethroids. Aquatic life reference values can be exceeded in undiluted effluents. For example, seven compounds, including three pyrethroids, carbaryl, fipronil and its sulfone degradate, and imidacloprid, were detected in treated wastewater effluent at levels exceeding U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (US EPA) aquatic life benchmarks for chronic exposure to invertebrates. Pesticides passing through wastewater treatment plants (WWTPs) merit prioritization for additional study to identify sources and appropriate pollution-prevention strategies. Two case studies, diazinon and chlorpyrifos in household pesticide products, and fipronil and imidacloprid in pet flea control products, highlight the importance of identifying neglected sources of environmental contamination via the wastewater pathway. Additional monitoring and modeling studies are needed to inform source control and prevention of undesirable alternative solutions.

Wu, J.; Kauhanen, P.; Hunt, J. A.; Senn, D.; Hale, T.; McKee, L. J. . 2019. Optimal Selection and Placement of Green Infrastructure in Urban Watersheds for PCB Control. Journal of Sustainable Water in the Built Environment 5 (2) . SFEI Contribution No. 729.

San Francisco Bay and its watersheds are polluted by legacy polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), resulting in the establishment of a total maximum daily load (TDML) that requires a 90% PCB load reduction from municipal stormwater. Green infrastructure (GI) is a multibenefit solution for stormwater management, potentially addressing the TMDL objectives, but planning and implementing GI cost-effectively to achieve management goals remains a challenge and requires an integrated watershed approach. This study used the nondominated sorting genetic algorithm (NSGA-II) coupled with the Stormwater Management Model (SWMM) to find near-optimal combinations of GIs that maximize PCB load reduction and minimize total relative cost at a watershed scale. The selection and placement of three locally favored GI types (bioretention, infiltration trench, and permeable pavement) were analyzed based on their cost and effectiveness. The results show that between optimal solutions and nonoptimal solutions, the effectiveness in load reduction could vary as much as 30% and the difference in total relative cost could be well over $100 million. Sensitivity analysis of both GI costs and sizing criteria suggest that the assumptions made regarding these parameters greatly influenced the optimal solutions. 

If you register for access to the journal, then you may download the article for free through July 31, 2019.

DOI: 10.1061/JSWBAY.0000876

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Gilbreath, A.; Hunt, J.; Mckee, L. 2019. Pollutants of Concern Reconnaissance Monitoring Progress Report, Water Years 2015-2018. SFEI Contribution No. 942. San Francisco Estuary Institute: Richmond, CA.
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Kauhanen, P.; Lowe, S. 2019. Prioritizing Candidate Green Infrastructure Sites within the City of Ukiah: A Demonstration of the Site Locator Tool of GreenPlan-IT. Report prepared for the City of Ukiah Department of Public Works under Supplemental Environmental Project # R1-018-0024. San Francisco Estuary Institute: Richmond. CA.

This report describes the application of GreenPlan-IT’s Site Locator Tool to identify and rank candidate GI installation sites within the City of Ukiah.  The Site Locator Tool is the first (foundational) tool of the GreenPlan-IT toolkit, meaning that the outputs are required inputs for both the Hydrologic Modeling and Optimization tools.   The Site Locator Tool addresses the question: where are the best locations for GI implementation based on local planning priorities? 

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SFEI. 2019. The Pulse of the Bay 2019: Pollutant Pathways. SFEI Contribution No. 954. San Francisco Estuary Institute: Richmond, CA.
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Wu, J.; McKee, L. 2019. Regional Watershed Modeling and Trends Implementation Plan. SFEI Contribution No. 943. San Francisco Estuary Institute: Richmond, CA.
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Box, C.; Cummins, A. 2019. San Francisco Bay Microplastics Project: Science-Supported Solutions and Policy Recommendations. SFEI Contribution No. 955. 5 Gyres: Los Angeles, CA.

Plastics in our waterways and in the ocean, and more specifically microplastics (plastic particles less than 5 mm in size), have gained global attention as a pervasive and preventable threat to marine ecosystem health. The San Francisco Bay Microplastics Project was designed to provide critical data on microplastics in the Bay Area. The project also engaged multiple stakeholders in both science and policy discussions. Finally, the project was designed to generate scientifically supported regional and statewide policy recommendations for solutions to plastic pollution.

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Beagle, J.; Lowe, J.; McKnight, K.; Safran, S. M.; Tam, L.; Szambelan, S. Jo. 2019. San Francisco Bay Shoreline Adaptation Atlas: Working with Nature to Plan for Sea Level Rise Using Operational Landscape Units. SFEI Contribution No. 915. SFEI & SPUR: Richmond, CA. p 255.

As the climate continues to change, San Francisco Bay shoreline communities will need to adapt in order to build social and ecological resilience to rising sea levels. Given the complex and varied nature of the Bay shore, a science-based framework is essential to identify effective adaptation strategies that are appropriate for their particular settings and that take advantage of natural processes. This report proposes such a framework—Operational Landscape Units for San Francisco Bay.

Printed copies available for purchase from Amazon.

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Sun, J.; Davis, J. A.; Stewart, R.; Palace, V. 2019. Selenium in White Sturgeon from North San Francisco Bay: The 2015-2017 Sturgeon Derby Study. SFEI Contribution No. 897. San Francisco Estuary Institute: Richmond, CA.

This report presents the findings from a study evaluating selenium concentrations in white sturgeon (Acipenser transmontanus) tissues collected during the 2015-2017 Sturgeon Derby events in North San Francisco Bay. The goal of this study was to investigate the distribution of selenium among sturgeon tissues to inform the toxicological and regulatory interpretation of selenium measured in non-lethally collected tissues, including muscle plugs and fin rays. This technical report provides documentation of the study and presents its major findings.

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Sutton, R.; Lin, D.; Sedlak, M.; Box, C.; Gilbreath, A.; Holleman, R.; Miller, L.; Wong, A.; Munno, K.; Zhu, X.; et al. 2019. Understanding Microplastic Levels, Pathways, and Transport in the San Francisco Bay Region. SFEI Contribution No. 950. San Francisco Estuary Institute: Richmond, CA.

Microplastics (particles less than 5 mm) are ubiquitous and persistent pollutants in the ocean and a pervasive and preventable threat to the health of marine ecosystems. Microplastics come in a wide variety of shapes, sizes, and plastic types, each with unique physical and chemical properties and toxicological impacts. Understanding the magnitude of the microplastics problem and determining the highest priorities for mitigation require accurate measures of microplastic occurrence in the environment and identification of likely sources.

To develop critical baseline data and inform solutions, the San Francisco Estuary Institute and the 5 Gyres Institute have completed the first comprehensive regional study of microplastic pollution in a major estuary. This project supported multiple scientific components to develop improved knowledge about and characterization of microparticles and microplastics in San Francisco Bay and adjacent National Marine Sanctuaries, with the following objectives:

  1. Contribute to the development and standardization of sample collection and analysis methodology for microplastic transportation research.
  2. Determine a baseline for future monitoring of microplastics in San Francisco Bay surface water, sediment, and fish, and in ocean waters outside the Golden Gate.
  3. Characterize pathways by which microplastics enter the Bay, including urban stormwater and treated wastewater effluent.
  4. Investigate the contribution of Bay microplastics to the adjacent National Marine Sanctuaries through computer simulations.
  5. Communicate findings to regional stakeholders and the general public through meetings and educational materials.
  6. Facilitate evaluation of policy options for San Francisco Bay, with recommendations on source reduction.

This document presents the findings of this three-year project. A companion document, “San Francisco Bay Microplastics Project: Science-Supported Solutions and Policy Recommendations,” has been developed by 5 Gyres using the findings of this study (Box and Cummins, 2019).

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Hagerty, S.; Spotswood, E.; McKnight, K.; Grossinger, R. M. 2019. Urban Ecological Planning Guide for Santa Clara Valley. SFEI Contribution No. 941. San Francisco Estuary Institute: Richmond, CA.

This document provides some of the scientific foundation needed to guide planning for urban biodiversity in the Santa Clara Valley region, grounded in an understanding of landscape history, urban ecology and local setting. It can be used to envision the ecological potential for individual urban greening projects, and to guide their siting, design and implementation. It also can be used to guide coordination of projects across the landscape, with the cooperation of a group of stakeholders (such as multiple agencies, cities and counties). Users of this report may include a wide range of entities, such as local nonprofits, public agencies, city planners, and applicants to the Open Space Authority’s Urban Open Space Grant Program.
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Lowe, S. 2019. West Valley Watershed Assessment 2018: Baseline Ecological Condition Assessment of Southwest San Francisco Bay Creeks in Santa Clara County; Calabazas, San Tomas Aquino, Saratoga, Sunnyvale East and West. Salomon, M., Pearce, S., Josh Collins, Titus, D., Eds.. SFEI Contribution No. 944. San Francisco Estuary Institute: Richmond.

This report describes baseline information about the amount and distribution of aquatic resources, and evaluates the overall ecological conditions of streams using the California Rapid Assessment Method (CRAM), for the West Valley watershed in Santa Clara County; consisting of Sunnyvale East and West Channels, Calabazas Creek, San Tomas Aquino and Saratoga creeks, and many smaller tributaries.

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King, A. 2019. Wind Over San Francisco Bay and the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta: Forcing for Hydrodynamic Models. SFEI Contribution No. 937. San Francisco Estuary Institute: Richmond, CA.
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Yee, D. 2018. 2017 RMP Bay Margins Sediment Samples Quality Assurance Report. San Francisco Estuary Institute: Richmond, CA.
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Yee, D. 2018. 2017 RMP Water Samples Quality Assurance Report. San Francisco Estuary Institute: Richmond, CA.
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Trowbridge, P. 2018. 2018 Bay RMP Multi-Year Plan. SFEI Contribution No. 860. San Francisco Estuary Institute : Richmond, CA.
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Salop, P.; Shimabuku, I.; Davis, J.; Franz, A. 2018. 2018 Bivalve Retrieval Cruise Report. SFEI Contribution No. 920. San Francisco Estuary Institute : Richmond, CA.
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Davis, J. 2018. 2018 Regional Monitoring Program Update. SFEI Contribution No. 906. San Francisco Estuary Institute : Richmond, CA.
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Trowbridge, P.; Wong, A.; Davis, J.; Ackerman, J. 2018. 2018 RMP Bird Egg Monitoring Sampling and Analysis Plan. SFEI Contribution No. 891. San Francisco Estuary Institute: Richmond, CA.
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Shimabuku, I.; Trowbridge, P.; Salop, P. 2018. 2018 RMP Bivalve Deployment Cruise Plan. SFEI Contribution No. 892. San Francisco Estuary Institute: Richmond, CA.
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Salop, P. 2018. 2018 RMP Bivalve Deployment Cruise Report. SFEI Contribution No. 903. San Francisco Estuary Institute : Richmond, CA.
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Shimabuku, I.; Trowbridge, P.; Salop, P. 2018. 2018 RMP Bivalve Retrieval Cruise Plan. SFEI Contribution No. 893. San Francisco Estuary Institute: Richmond, CA.
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Shimabuku, I.; Trowbridge, P.; Salop, P.; Franz, A. 2018. 2018 RMP Bivalve Retrieval Cruise Plan. SFEI Contribution No. 893. San Francisco Estuary Institute : Richmond, CA.
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Salop, P.; Franz, A. 2018. 2018 RMP Sediment Cruise Report. SFEI Contribution No. 907. San Francisco Estuary Institute : Richmond, CA.
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Franz, A.; Trowbridge, P.; Salop, P. 2018. 2018 RMP Sediment Sampling and Analysis Plan. SFEI Contribution No. 904. San Francisco Estuary Institute: Richmond, CA.
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Lin, D.; Sutton, R. 2018. Alternative Flame Retardants in San Francisco Bay: Synthesis and Strategy. SFEI Contribution No. 885. San Francisco Estuary Institute : Richmond, CA.
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Jabusch, T.; Trowbridge, P.; Wong, A.; Heberger, M. 2018. Assessment of Nutrient Status and Trends in the Delta in 2001–2016: Effects of drought on ambient concentrations and trends. SFEI Contribution No. 865. Aquatic Science Center: Richmond, CA.

Nutrients and the effects of nutrients on water quality in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta is a priority focus area for the Delta Regional Monitoring Program (Delta RMP). The Program’s first assessment question regarding nutrients is: “How do concentrations of nutrients (and nutrient-associated parameters) vary spatially and temporally?” In this analysis, we confirmed previously reported declining trends in the San Joaquin River for nutrient concentrations at Vernalis and chlorophyll-a concentrations at Buckley Cove and Disappointment Slough. A slight increasing trend for dissolved oxygen at Buckley Cove was also detected which could be confirmation that management actions for the San Joaquin River Dissolved Control Program are having the desired effect. Finally, at stations in Suisun Bay, the Confluence region, and Franks Tract, chlorophyll-a showed modest increasing trends, which were not evident in previous analyses. The new analyses presented in this report and the findings from earlier reports constitute encouraging early progress toward answering the Delta RMP’s assessment questions. Specifically, due to the existence of long-term data sets and synthesis efforts, spatial and temporal trends in the concentrations of nutrients and nutrient-related parameters are reasonably well understood and so are the magnitudes of the most important sources of nutrients from outside the Delta. However, additional synthesis work could be done to understand the factors behind these trends. Large knowledge gaps remain about nutrient sinks, sources, and processes within the Delta. The mechanistic, water quality-hydrodynamic models being developed for the Delta may be able to address these questions in the future.

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Shimabuku, I.; Trowbridge, P.; Sun, J. 2018. Bay 2017 Bay RMP Field Sampling Report. SFEI Contribution No. 849. San Francisco Estuary Institute : Richmond, CA.
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Gilbreath, A.; Pearce, S.; Shimabuku, I.; McKee, L. 2018. Bay Area Green Infrastructure Water Quality Synthesis. SFEI Contribution No. 922. San Francisco Estuary Institute : Richmond, CA.
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Beller, E. E.; Spotswood, E.; Robinson, A.; Anderson, M. G.; Higgs, E. S.; Hobbs, R. J.; Suding, K. N.; Zavaleta, E. S.; Grenier, L.; Grossinger, R. M. 2018. Building Ecological Resilience in Highly Modified Landscapes.

Ecological resilience is a powerful heuristic for ecosystem management in the context of rapid environmental change. Significant efforts are underway to improve the resilience of biodiversity and ecological function to extreme events and directional change across all types of landscapes, from intact natural systems to highly modified landscapes such as cities and agricultural regions. However, identifying management strategies likely to promote ecological resilience remains a challenge. In this article, we present seven core dimensions to guide long-term and large-scale resilience planning in highly modified landscapes, with the objective of providing a structure and shared vocabulary for recognizing opportunities and actions likely to increase resilience across the whole landscape. We illustrate application of our approach to landscape-scale ecosystem management through case studies from two highly modified California landscapes, Silicon Valley and the Sacramento–San Joaquin Delta. We propose that resilience-based management is best implemented at large spatial scales and through collaborative, cross-sector partnerships.

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