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Safran, S. M.; Baumgarten, S. A.; Beller, E. E.; Bram, D. L.; Crooks, J. A.; Dark, S. J.; Grossinger, R. M.; Longcore, T. R.; Lorda, J.; Stein, E. D. 2018. The Historical Ecology of the Tijuana Estuary & River Valley (Restore America's Estuaries 2018 Conference Presentation).

This talk was given at the 2018 Restore America's Estuary Conference in Long Beach, CA as part of a special session titled "Restoration Perspectives from the Tijuana River National Estuarine Research Reserve." It is based on information from the Tijuana River Valley Historical Ecology Investigation, a report published in 2017.


Though many areas of the binational Tijuana River watershed remain relatively undeveloped, land and water use changes over the past 200 years have resulted in significant ecological impacts, particularly in the more urbanized areas of the lower watershed. Drawing upon a diverse set of historical data, we reconstructed the ecological and hydrogeomorphic conditions of the lower Tijuana River valley prior to major Euro-American modification (ca. 1850) and documented major changes in habitat distribution and physical processes over this time. The river corridor, which was historically dominated by riparian scrub, today instead supports dense stands of riparian forest. The valley bottom surrounding the river corridor, which historically supported extensive seasonal wetlands, has largely been converted to drier habitat types and agricultural uses. The estuary, which historically supported large expanses of salt marsh and mudflat as well as seasonally dry salt flats, has retained much of its former extent and character, but has been altered by increased sediment input and other factors. The new information about the historical landscape presented here is relevant to a number of issues scientists and managers are dealing with today, including the conservation of endangered species, the fate of the valley’s riparian habitats after the recent invasion of invasive shot-hole borer beetles, and the effects on groundwater levels on native plant communities. We will also draw from other historical ecology studies conducted in Southern California to illustrate how the information about the past has been utilized to improve the functioning and resilience of nearby coastal ecosystems.

Presentation recording: available here.

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Safran, S. M. 2015. The Tijuana River Valley: An Ecological Look into the Past.

Hot springs in the Tijuana River? Antelope by the beach? Zip-lines over the international border?
Come find out what the Tijuana River Valley looked like in the not-so-distant past and how the river, estuary, and surrounding areas have changed over the past two centuries. Hear how researchers “recreated” the historical landscape and how this information helps us to better plan for the future.

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Safran, S. M.; Hagerty, S.; Robinson, A.; Grenier, L. 2018. Translating Science-Based Restoration Strategies into Spatially-Explicit Restoration Opportunities in the Delta (2018 Bay-Delta Science Conference Presentation).

In a previous report titled “A Delta Renewed” we offered a collection of guidelines for science-based ecological restoration in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta that emphasized restoring or emulating natural processes, anticipating future changes associated with climate change, establishing appropriate configurations of habitat types at the landscape scale, and utilizing a variety multi-benefit management strategies. In this talk, we present on our recent work to support regional restoration planning efforts by developing a repeatable process for using these guidelines to identify spatially-explicit restoration opportunities. The process is largely GIS-based and utilizes spatial data on existing land cover and conservation status, habitat configuration (including patch sizes and distances), surface elevations (including depth of subsidence), and future changes in tidal elevations associated with sea-level rise.  By distilling generalized guidelines into spatially-explicit opportunities, we hope to provide a practical tool for incorporating science into planning. To that end, these new methods are currently being piloted through planning efforts focused on the Central Delta Corridor and the McCormack Williamson Tract, and are also being used to assist with the quantification of ecological restoration potential in the Delta Plan Ecosystem Amendment.

Presentation recording: available here.

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Report
SFEI. 2001. 1993 - 1999 Pulse of the Estuary: Monitoring and Managing Contamination in the San Francisco Estuary. SFEI Contribution No. 101. San Francisco Estuary Institute: Oakland, CA.
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San Francisco Estuary Institute. 1994. 1993 Annual Report: San Francisco Estuary Regional Monitoring Program for Trace Substances. SFEI Contribution No. 4. San Francisco Estuary Institute: Richmond, CA.
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San Francisco Estuary Institute. 1996. 1994 Annual Report: San Francisco Estuary Regional Monitoring Program for Trace Substances. SFEI Contribution No. 189. San Francisco Estuary Institute: Richmond, CA.
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San Francisco Estuary Institute. 1997. 1995 Annual Report: San Francisco Estuary Regional Monitoring Program for Trace Substances. SFEI Contribution No. 21. San Francisco Estuary Institute: Richmond, CA.
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San Francisco Estuary Institute. 1998. 1996 Annual Report: San Francisco Estuary Regional Monitoring Program for Trace Substances. SFEI Contribution No. 219. San Francisco Estuary Institute: Richmond, CA.
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San Francisco Estuary Institute. 1999. 1997 Annual Report: San Francisco Estuary Regional Monitoring Program for Trace Substances. SFEI Contribution No. 37. San Francisco Estuary Institute: Richmond, CA.
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San Francisco Estuary Institute. 2000. 1998 Annual Results: San Francisco Estuary Regional Monitoring Program for Trace Substances. SFEI Contribution No. 334. San Francisco Estuary Institute: Oakland, CA.
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San Francisco Estuary Institute. 2001. 1999 Annual Results: San Francisco Estuary Regional Monitoring Program for Trace Substances. SFEI Contribution No. 351. San Francisco Estuary Institute: Oakland, CA.
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