Sep 21, 2015

Articles featuring the Pulse of the Bay, the State of the Estuary Report, and SFEI's work on microplastics saturate the news media since Sept 9, 2015.

Recent weeks have demonstrated the tremendous value that SFEI brings not only to the domain of environmental science but also to resource management and the public landscape. The deluge of articles covers a wide breadth of subjects, each with great urgency and relevance to issues of public importance.

San Francisco Chronicle, Sept 9, 2015

Peter Fimrite's Chronicle story on the Pulse kicked off the series of articles. Titled "S.F. Bay shows signs of progress in biennial report," Fimrite charts some of the progress achieved in S.F. Bay water quality, as documented in the latest edition of the Pulse, a product of the Regional Monitoring Program. Fimrite quotes SFEI's Jay Davis who also notes some of the lingering and persistent challenges: "“It seems there is a ring of contamination focused in certain areas, but concentrated on the edge of the bay."

San Francisco Chronicle, Sept 15, 2015

"Sink or Swim: Rising tides largely ignored in SF development" by the S.F. Chronicle's John King details the urgent need for Bay Area leaders to confront all of the hurdles presented by sea level rise. John King consults SFEI's executive director, Warner Chabot:

Chabot at the Estuary Institute is optimistic that the urgency will come.  “There’s no reason the Bay Area should not be a model, for the nation if not for the world,” Chabot said. “One can only hope that we have elected officials who want to be visionary civic leaders, not just good day-to-day leaders.”

San Jose Mercury News, Sept 17, 2015

Dennis Cuff of the San Jose Mercury News then 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 the 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."

Marin Independent Journal, Sept 20, 2015

Mark Prado applies the lessons learned from the State of the Estuary Report to Marin's shoreline in "Marin’s bay shores in better health, more work to be done, report finds." Josh Collins and Letitia Grenier are both quoted in the article on ecosystem health:

“In many regards the bay is as healthy as it has been in a long time...[b]ut some aspects of the bay are slower to heal,” [Collins] added. “There are still longer-lasting pollutants in the bay, but they are not being put in the system anymore.”


“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. Some progress has been made in restoring previously diked wetlands to tidal action.

Contra Costa Times, Sept 22, 2015

Rebecca Sutton, senior scientist at SFEI, describes the hazards presented by microplastics in the Bay's waters. "Plastic pollution: Billions of pieces of tiny plastic litter found in San Francisco Bay" by Paul Rogers reports on findings in a recently published study for which Rebecca Sutton serves as lead author. What the researchers discovered, the high degree of plastic contamination, surprised them:

In the study, the first of its kind to broadly document pollution from "microplastic" in the bay, researchers dragged tight-meshed nets along the surface of the water in nine areas of the bay, from Oakland and Treasure Island to locations near San Jose. They found on average 1 million pieces of tiny plastic per square kilometer -- an area of about 250 acres -- at the water's surface or a few inches below it in the South Bay, a concentration nine times higher than levels of similar plastics found in Lake Erie.

KQED News, Sept 17, 2015

KQED featured a brief soundbite from Letitia Grenier, describing the current state of the Estuary and the challenges to effective restoration.


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Paul Rogers
Programs and Focus Areas: 
Clean Water Program
Resilient Landscapes Program