Sep 17, 2015

Dennis Cuff of the San Jose Mercury News wrote an article on the relationship between the region's wetlands and sea level rise. "Rising seas threaten San Francisco Bay and Delta wetlands and land" introduces Cuff's readers to theĀ State of the Estuary Report, a 100-page document produced by the San Francisco Estuary Partnership with scientific leadership from SFEI. Cuff quotes SFEI's senior scientist Letitia Grenier:

"We face a lot of problems if we lose our wetlands, and rising sea levels are making this an increasing challenge," said Letitia Grenier, scientist at the San Francisco Estuary Institute, an environmental research and policy group.

Josh Collins, Chief Scientist of the Institute, further describes the threats to wetlands in Cuff's article:

The threat to wetlands is manageable if the region can come up with a bold plan to replenish marsh areas with sediment, and designate some areas for wetlands to expand inland, said Josh Collins, chief scientist with the San Francisco Estuary Institute. "The balance between water and sediment has been thrown out of whack," he said. "Doing nothing is going to lead to very serious or catastrophic results. It takes a regional response."

The article describes the urgent need to restore the role played by sediment in creating and sustaining wetland habitats. There are many alternatives to re-establishing the flow of sediment, some of which is trapped behind dams, but Grenier argues that the best method, rather than transporting sediment vast distances, would be to restore the natural processes that routinely create, preserve, and nourish wetlands.

Dennis Cuff
Programs and Focus Areas: 
Resilient Landscapes Program