The Wetlands Regional Monitoring Program for SF Estuary enters significant new phase
Apr 18, 2022
The Wetlands Regional Monitoring Program or WRMP is a broad, multi-organizational effort designed to produce coordinated and rigorous science about the baylands in the San Francisco Bay area. Through the power of diverse partnerships, a broad network of stakeholders are working rapidly to protect and restore wetlands that can provide flood protection, tribal, community and recreational benefits, water quality improvement, wildlife habitat, and other benefits for surrounding communities. To meet a regional target of 100,000 acres restored by 2030, close coordination is needed between managers, scientists, community groups, tribal partners, and regulators. However, this project-by-project approach to restoration monitoring has left our state, regional, and local decision makers effectively insensitive to the overall regional conditions that might bear direct influence over restoration success and failure. As the effects of climate change and sea level rise generate their own set of challenges, the WRMP will improve the success of wetland restoration projects by putting in place regionally coordinated monitoring that will increase the impact, utility and application of monitoring to inform adaptive management.
The coordinated monitoring fostered by the WRMP will support broader understanding of restoration successes and challenges than current approaches. This robust, science-driven, collaborative regional monitoring program includes:
- A comprehensive science framework
- A multifaceted monitoring site network (under development)
- An open data sharing platform (under development)
The WRMP is led by a diverse Steering Committee of state and federal agencies, NGOs, and Tribes, with additional support from a capable Technical Advisory Committee. The WRMP Program Plan and Program Charter provide the foundation for this program, which is staffed through a co-management partnership between the SF Estuary Institute (SFEI) and the SF Estuary Partnership (SFEP).
SFEI has played a scientific and technical role in the WRMP from its inception to its recent advancement as an emerging program. The robust collaboration between SFEI and SFEP has produced some noteworthy achievements as of late:
- The San Francisco Bay Restoration Authority (SFBRA), which is actively funding the restoration of thousands of acres of Bay wetlands, has recently funded a pilot implementation of the WRMP. This offers a golden opportunity to implement the features described in the WRMP Program Plan, leveraging the years of preparatory work and past investments from other funders, such as the USEPA.
- The Technical Advisory Committee and Steering Committee have approved the first technical document, a standard operating procedure for geospatial analysis, describing how best to map the region’s Baylands. This document, designed primarily for technical experts, represents broad alignment among multiple organizations regarding the creation of a comprehensive, standardized map of the distribution and abundance of the Bay Area’s baylands that will serve as the basemap for the WRMP’s science framework.
- SFEI has expanded its roster of active WRMP staff by adding several staff members including Letitia Grenier, Jeremy Lowe, Karen Verpeet, Cristina Grosso, Tony Hale, Melissa Foley, and Donna Ball. Other staff will be supporting the WRMP as the work expands later in the year.
In the coming months and years, WRMP staff from SFEI and SFEP will coordinate with the Program’s many organizational partners to implement the region’s first monitoring site network for our bay wetlands. The team will re-affirm and revise programmatic goals, establish monitoring standards, and produce additional standard operating procedures to ensure broad alignment across multiple organizations toward a common set of goals.
Programs and Focus Areas:
Clean Water Program
Environmental Informatics Program
Resilient Landscapes Program