Jun 29, 2023

SFEI is the lead on three US Environmental Protection Agency Water Quality Improvement Fund grants totaling more than $7M. The projects will support Bayland creek health and resilience, community-driven green stormwater infrastructure planning and implementation, and development of multi-benefit San Francisco Bay water quality assessment and decision support tools. We are excited to be partnering with community and school groups in underserved areas in Richmond and Oakland to help build capacity and engagement around water quality. SFEI is also partnering with a disadvantaged North Bay community group to better understand the health implications of consumption of Bay fish. These projects are part of recently announced $52M in USEPA funding to restore San Francisco Bay.

Sediment Solutions

SFEI is leading the Sediment Solutions project, a large collaboration to support bayland and creek health and resilience. The project team aims to develop new data and tools using three approaches: pilot implementation of sediment reuse strategies in the North and South Bay, visioning and engagement with community stakeholders to reestablish creek-marsh connections, and detailed assessments of sediment processes under a range of climate and management scenarios. The effort includes a substantial outreach and communication component.

Project partners include the Regional Water Quality Control Board, San Francisco Estuary Partnership, Valley Water, Sonoma Water, Contra Costa County Flood Control and Water Conservation District, City of Petaluma, East Bay Regional Park District, Regional Monitoring Program for Water Quality in San Francisco Bay, Wetlands Regional Monitoring Program, Sonoma RCD, Friends of the Petaluma River, The Watershed Project, Sonoma Land Trust, and Ducks Unlimited–in addition to numerous additional stakeholders.

Sediment Solutions builds on SFEI’s previous successful WQIF-funded efforts, including Healthy Watersheds Resilient Baylands’ collaborative approach to creek-bayland restoration scenarios and Preparing for the Storm’s approach to the beneficial reuse of watershed sediment.

Green Stormwater Infrastructure by and for Communities

SFEI and our partners are leading Green Stormwater Infrastructure by and for Communities, a project that will build the capacity of East Oakland and Richmond residents to understand and influence local water quality. The project will engage communities in GSI implementation by employing a community-driven GSI planning process to co-build community capacity to design, create, and manage GSI locally. Capacity building work will include technical knowledge, hands-on experience, and exploration of relationships between green stormwater infrastructure (GSI) and environmental justice. Community participants will be invited to engage with planning and visualization tools, and participate in groundwork and monitoring activities at local GSI demonstration installations. Our collaborative effort will enhance existing green infrastructure along the Richmond Greenway, management of newly installed GSI in North Richmond and East Oakland, and implementation of new GSI by Skyline High School students in Oakland.

SFEI’s project partners include San Francisco Estuary Partnership (SFEP), Urban Tilth, and University of California, Berkeley (UCB), and the project team looks forward to engaging with many community leaders and members throughout the project.

Destination Clean Bay: Decision Support Tools for Multi-Benefit Water Quality Improvements

Destination Clean Bay: Decision Support Tools for Multi-Benefit Water Quality Improvements builds on the strong foundation established by the Regional Monitoring Program for Water Quality in San Francisco Bay (RMP) and the Nutrient Management Strategy (NMS) to identify the optimal path toward the multi-benefit management of pressing water quality issues. SFEI will work with the RMP and NMS stakeholders to monitor contaminants to support the development of models and decision support tools that provide managers with the information needed to evaluate nutrient management scenarios for a healthy Bay, identify PCB and emerging contaminant reduction opportunities to support aquatic life and human health, and prioritize sediment management needs for restoration and community resilience. The development of open-source, publicly available models will support analysis of future conditions for PCBs, CECs, sediment, and nutrients based on scenarios of management actions and climate-driven changes in the Bay Area. 

Project partners include the RMP, NMS, Regional Water Quality Control Board, and Bay Area Clean Water Agencies (BACWA).

Carquinez Strait Fish and Preservation Project 

In this project SFEI is collaborating with and supporting All Positives Possible, a non-profit grassroots community-based organization serving low-income disadvantaged communities.  The project will provide shoreline education, fish testing, garbage abatement, and preservation process that will engage members and train leaders of disadvantaged communities living on the shorelines near Vallejo, CA. The project will focus on training local residents of disadvantaged communities in Vallejo on skills related to climate change, sea level rise, environmental justice, and social media messaging, which is necessary to plan shoreline habitat, fishing collection/testing, cleanup, and preservation projects. The community participants will be trained in setting up and monitoring misting gardens in fishing hotspots, shoreline restoration, preservation, fish collection and testing (which has not occurred in the area in 30 years), and garbage cleanup. The project will support underserved communities through community-led activities that will lead to the development of multiple shoreline preservation and restoration projects bringing environmental and economic benefits in South Vallejo and other areas. SFEI is leading the fish monitoring element of the project, which will generate high-quality data on the exposure of subsistence fishers to mercury, PCBs, and PFAS to inform risk communication and cleanup efforts. 

Project partners include All Positives Possible, community fishers, SFEI, ICF International, Moss Land Marine Laboratories, SGS AXYS Analytical Services Ltd., and the RMP.