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Report
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Gunther, A. J.; Blanchard, C.; Gardels, K. 1991. The Loading of Toxic Contaminants to the San Francisco Bay -Delta in Urban Runoff. SFEI Contribution No. 167. San Francisco Estuary Institue: Richmond, CA. p 82.
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Lowe, S.; Salomon, M.; Pearce, S. 2016. Lower Peninsula Watershed Condition Assessment 2016. Technical memorandum prepared for the Santa Clara Valley Water District - Priority D5 Project. SFEI Contribution No. 809. San Francisco Estuary Institute: Richmond, CA. p 49.

In 2016 The Santa Clara Valley Water District and its consultants conducted a watershed wide survey to characterize the distribution and abundance of the aquatic resources within the Lower Peninsula watershed wtihin Santa Clara County, CA based on available GIS data, and to assess the overall ecological condition of streams within the watershed based on a statistically based, random sample design and the California Rapid Assessment Method for streams (CRAM).

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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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Cohen, A. N.; Williams, E. H. 2002. Marine Exotic Species in the Caribbean: A Progress Report. University of Puerto Rico/Isla Magueyes Laboratory, La Parguera, Puerto Rico.
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Davis, J. A.; Heim, W. A.; Bonnema, A.; Jakl, B.; Yee, D. 2018. Mercury and Methylmercury in Fish and Water from the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta: August 2016 – April 2017. SFEI Contribution No. 908. Aquatic Science Center: Richmond, CA.

Monitoring of sport fish and water was conducted by the Delta Regional Monitoring Program (Delta RMP) from August 2016 to April 2017 to begin to address the highest priority information needs related to implementation of the Sacramento–San Joaquin Delta Estuary Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) for Methylmercury (Wood et al. 2010). Two species of sport fish, largemouth bass (Micropterus salmoides) and spotted bass (Micropterus punctulatus), were collected at six sampling locations in August and September 2016. The length-adjusted (350 mm) mean methylmercury (measured as total mercury, which is a routinely used proxy for methylmercury in predator fish) concentration in bass ranged from 0.15 mg/kg or parts per million (ppm) wet weight at Little Potato Slough to 0.61 ppm at the Sacramento River at Freeport. Water samples were collected on four occasions from August 2016 through April 2017. Concentrations of methylmercury in unfiltered water ranged from 0.021 to 0.22 ng/L or parts per trillion. Concentrations of total mercury in unfiltered water ranged from 0.91 to 13 ng/L.

Over 99% of the lab results for this project met the requirements of the Delta RMP Quality Assurance Program Plan, and all data were reportable. This data report presents the methods and results for the first year of monitoring. Historic data from the same or nearby monitoring stations from 1998 to 2011 are also presented to provide context. Monitoring results for both sport fish and water were generally comparable to historic observations.

For the next several years, annual monitoring of sport fish will be conducted to firmly establish baseline concentrations and interannual variation in support of monitoring of long-term trends as an essential performance measure for the TMDL. Monitoring of water will solidify the linkage analysis (the quantitative relationship between methylmercury in water and methylmercury in sport fish) in the TMDL. Water monitoring will also provide data that will be useful in verifying patterns and trends predicted by numerical models of mercury transport and cycling being developed for the Delta and Yolo Bypass by the California Department of Water Resources (DWR).

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Yee, D. 2008. Mercury and Methylmercury in North Bay Tidal Marshes. RMP Mercury Coordination Meeting: Oakland,Ca.
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Slotton, D. G.; Jones, A. B. 1996. Mercury Effects, Sources, and Control Measures. SFEI Contribution No. 20. San Francisco Estuary Institute: Richmond, CA.
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Greenfield, B. K.; Jahn, A. 2010. Mercury in San Francisco Bay forage fish. San Francisco Estuary Institute: Oakland, Ca.
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Greenfield, B. K.; Ichikawa, G.; Stephenson, M.; Davis, J. A. 2002. Mercury in Sport Fish from the Delta Region (Task 2A). SFEI Contribution No. 252. San Francisco Estuary Institute / CALFED Final Project Report.: Oakland, CA. p 88 pp.
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Cohen, A. N.; Weinstein, A. 1998. Methods and Data for Analysis of Potential Distribution and Abundance of Zebra Mussels in California. SFEI Contribution No. 225. A report for CALFED and the California Urban Water Agencies. San Francisco Estuary Institute: Richmond CA.
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Jassby, A. D. 1996. Methods for Analysis of Spatial and Temporal Patterns. SFEI Contribution No. 18. San Francisco Estuary Institute: Richmond, CA.
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Jabusch, T.; Trowbridge, P. 2018. Microbial Water Quality at Minimally Human-Impacted Reference Beaches in Northern California. SFEI Contribution No. 858. San Francisco Estuary Institute : Richmond, CA.
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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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Sutton, R.; Sedlak, M. 2017. Microplastic Monitoring and Science Strategy for San Francisco Bay. SFEI Contribution No. 798. San Francisco Estuary Institute: Richmond, Calif.
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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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Safran, S. M.; Clark, E.; Beller, E. E.; Grossinger, R. M. 2016. Mission Bay Historical Ecology Reconnaissance Study: Data Collection Summary (Technical Report). SFEI Contribution No. 777.

The goals of the Mission Bay Historical Ecology Reconnaissance Study were to collect and compile high-priority historical
data about the Mission Bay landscape, identify sources that could help to develop a deeper understanding of early
ecological conditions, and to identify future possible research directions based on the available data. This technical
memorandum is intended to document the archives consulted during the reconnaissance study, summarize the collected
and compiled data, and to identify potential next steps. A separate technical presentation to project staff and advisors will
summarize the preliminary findings and questions generated from a review of the historical dataset. Ultimately, this
research is intended to support the San Diego Audubon Society’s Mission Bay Wetlands Conceptual Restoration Plan (CRP)
and the ReWild Mission Bay project.

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Cohen, A. N. 1998. Monitoring for Non-indigenous Organisms. SFEI Contribution No. 385. San Francisco Estuary Institute: Oakland, CA.
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Baumgarten, S.; Beller, E. E.; Grossinger, R. M.; Askevold, R. A. 2015. Mt. Wanda Historical Ecology Investigation. SFEI Contribution No. 743. San Francisco Estuary Institute - Aquatic Science Center: Richmond, CA. p 51.
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SFEI; Safran, S. M. 2014. Natural Flow Hydrodynamic Modeling Technology Support Phase 1 Technical Memorandum.

This technical memorandum summarizes the work to date carried out by the San Francisco Estuary Institute (SFEI) to generate a bathymetric-topographic digital elevation model (DEM) of the historical Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta (representative of early 1800s conditions). The historical DEM described in this document is an interim/draft product completed for Phase I of the Bay-Delta Natural Flow Hydrodynamics and Salinity Transport modeling project. It is expected that the product and methods described here will be refined during a second phase of the project.

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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. 2018. Non-Targeted Analysis of Water-Soluble Compounds Highlights Overlooked Contaminants and Pathways (Coming Soon). SFEI Contribution No. 905. San Francisco Estuary Institute: Richmond, CA.
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Robinson, A.; Slotton, D. G.; Lowe, S.; Davis, J. A. 2014. North Bay Mercury Biosentinel Project (December 2014 Report). SFEI Contribution No. 738. San Francisco Estuary Institute: Richmond, CA.
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Grieb, T.; Roy, S.; Rath, J.; Stewart, R.; Sun, J.; Davis, J. A. 2018. North Bay Selenium Monitoring Design. SFEI Contribution No. 921. San Francisco Estuary Institute : Richmond, CA.
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Beller, E. E.; Baumgarten, S.; Grossinger, R. M.; Longcore, T.; Stein, E. D.; Dark, S.; Dusterhoff, S. D. 2014. Northern San Diego County Lagoons Historical Ecology Investigation. SFEI Contribution No. 722. San Francisco Estuary Institute - Aquatic Science Center: Richmond, CA. p 215.
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Salomon, M.; Baumgarten, S.; Dusterhoff, S. D.; Beller, E. E.; Askevold, R. A. 2015. Novato Creek Baylands Historical Ecology Study. SFEI Contribution No. 740. San Francisco Estuary Institute - Aquatic Science Center: Richmond, CA.

Project Background

Over the past century and a half, lower Novato Creek and the surrounding tidal wetlands have been heavily modified for flood control and land reclamation purposes. Levees were built in the tidal portion of the mainstem channel beginning in the late 1800s to convey flood flows out to San Pablo Bay more rapidly and to remove surrounding areas from inundation. Following levee construction, the wetlands surrounding the channel were drained and converted to agricultural, residential, and industrial areas. These changes have resulted in a considerable loss of wetland habitat, reduced sediment transport to marshes and the Bay, and an overall decreased resilience of the system to sea level rise.
In addition to tidal wetland modification, land use changes upstream in the Novato Creek watershed have resulted in several challenges for flood control management. Dam construction and increased runoff in the upper watershed have resulted in elevated rates of channel incision, which have increased transport of fine sediment from the upper watershed to lower Novato Creek. Channelization of tributaries and construction of irrigation ditches have likely increased drainage density in the upper watershed, also potentially contributing to increased rates of channel incision and fine sediment production (Collins 1998). Downstream, sediment transport capacity has been reduced by construction of a railroad crossing and loss of tidal prism and channel capacity associated with the diking of the surrounding marsh. As a result of the increased fine sediment supply from the watershed and the loss of sediment transport capacity in lower Novato Creek, sediment aggradation occurs within the channel, which in turn reduces the flood capacity of the channel, necessitating periodic dredging.

Currently, the Marin County Department of Public Works (MCDPW) is coordinating the Novato Watershed Program, which includes Marin County Flood Control and Water Conservation District, Novato Sanitary District, and North Marin Water District. Within lower Novato Creek, the Program is seeking to implement a new approach to flood control that includes redirecting sediment for beneficial use, reducing flood channel maintenance costs, restoring wetland habitat, and enhancing resilience to sea level rise. Included as part of this goal is the re-establishment of historical physical processes that existed before major channel modification, which in turn will re-establish historical ecological functions and help to create a tidal landscape that is resilient to increasing sea level.

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Grossinger, R. M.; Dusterhoff, S. D.; Doehring, C.; Salomon, M.; Askevold, R. A. 2015. Novato Creek Baylands Vision: Integrating ecological functions and flood protection within a climate-resilient landscape. SFEI Contribution No. 764.

This report explores the potential for integrating ecological functions into flood risk management on lower Novato Creek. It presents an initial vision of how ecological elements could contribute to flood protection, based on a broad scale analysis and a one day workshop of local and regional experts. The Vision is not intended to be implemented as is, but rather adapted and applied through future projects and analysis. Other actions (e.g., floodwater detention basins) may also need to be implemented in the interim to meet flood risk objectives.

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Senn, D.; Novick, E. 2016. Nutrient Management Strategy Science Plan Report. SFEI Contribution No. 878. San Francisco Estuary Institute: Richmond, CA.
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Holleman, R.; MacVean, L.; Mckibben, M.; Sylvester, Z.; Wren, I.; Senn, D. 2017. Nutrient Management Strategy Science Program. SFEI Contribution No. 879. San Francisco Estuary Institute: Richmond, CA.
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Jabusch, T. W.; Trowbridge, P. 2016. Nutrient Monitoring Planning Workshop - Summary of Existing Nutrient Monitoring Programs, Data Gaps, and Potential Delta RMP “No Regrets” Monitoring Activities. Aquatic Science Center: Richmond, CA.

This report was prepared as a briefing document for a September 2016 workshop held in Sacramento by the Delta Regional Monitoring Program. The purpose of the workshop was to plan how to invest in nutrients-related studies in order to inform better management of Delta waterways. First, the report compiles information about the major existing nutrient monitoring programs in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta. Next, it outline options for “no regrets” actions for workshop participants to review. The report summarizes interviews with representatives of Delta monitoring and resource management programs, describes current monitoring efforts in the Delta, and presents the conclusions and recommendations from recently completed data syntheses.

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Jarman, W. M.; Davis, J. A. 1997. Observations on trace organic concentrations in RMP water samples. SFEI Contribution No. 210. San Francisco Estuary Institute. pp 67-77.
Grosso, C.; Hale, A.; Williams, M.; May, M. 2014. Online 401: From Pilot to Production. San Francisco Estuary Institute: Richmond, CA.
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Oram, J. J.; Greenfield, B. K.; Davis, J. A.; David, N.; Leatherbarrow, J. E. 2006. Organochlorine Pesticide Fate in San Francisco Bay. SFEI Contribution No. 433. San Francisco Estuary Institute: Oakland, CA. p 48.
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Cohen, A. N. 2005. Overview of 2004/05 Rapid Assessment Shore and Channel Surveys for Exotic Species in San Francisco Bay. SFEI Contribution No. 452. San Francisco Estuary Institute: Oakland, CA.
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Davis, J. A. 2002. A PCB Budget for San Francisco Bay. SFEI Contribution No. 376. San Francisco Estuary Institute: Oakland, CA.
Leatherbarrow, J. E.; Yee, D.; Davis, J. A. 2001. PCBs in effluent. SFEI Contribution No. 237.
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Oros, D. R. 2005. Pelagic Organism Decline. SFEI Contribution No. 511.
Sedlak, M.; Sutton, R.; Wong, A.; Lin, D. 2018. Per and Polyfluoroalkyl Substances (PFAS) in San Francisco Bay: Synthesis and Strategy. SFEI Contribution No. 867. San Francisco Estuary Institute : Richmond, CA.
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Baumgarten, S.; Clark, E.; Dusterhoff, S.; Grossinger, R. M.; Askevold, R. A. 2018. Petaluma Valley Historical Hydrology and Ecology Study. SFEI Contribution No. 861. San Francisco Estuary Institute: Richmond, CA.

This study reconstructs the historical landscape of the Petaluma River watershed and documents the major landscape changes that have taken place within the watershed over the past two centuries. Prior to Spanish and American settlement of the region, the Petaluma River watershed supported a dynamic and interconnected network of streams, riparian forests, freshwater wetlands, and tidal marshes. These habitats were utilized by a wide range of plant and animal species, including a number of species that are today listed as threatened or endangered such as Ridgway’s Rail, Black Rail, salt marsh harvest mouse, California red-legged frog, Central California Coast steelhead, and soft bird’s beak (CNDDB 2012, SRCD 2015). Agricultural and urban development beginning in the mid-1800s has significantly altered the landscape, degrading habitat for fish and wildlife and contributing to contemporary management challenges such as flooding, pollutant loading, erosion, and sedimentation. While many natural areas and remnant wetlands still exist throughout the watershed—most notably the Petaluma Marsh—their ecological function is in many cases seriously impaired and their long-term fate jeopardized by climate change and other stressors. Multi-benefit wetland restoration strategies, guided by a thorough understanding of landscape history, can simultaneously address a range of chronic management issues while improving the ecological health of the watershed, making it a better place to live for both people and wildlife.

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David, N.; Shonkoff, S. B.; Hayworth, J. 2004. Phase 2 (2003) Bioassessment of Waterbodies Treated with Aquatic Pesticides. SFEI Contribution No. 117. San Francisco Estuary Insitute: Oakland, CA.
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McKee, L. J. .; Pearce, S.; Shonkoff, S. 2006. Pinole Creek Sediment Source Assessment: Pavon Creeks Sub-basin. SFEI Contribution No. 515. San Francisco Estuary Institute. p 67.
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