June 29, 2011 - 2:00am to 9:00am

The RMP convened a workshop of national and local experts on nutrients science at the David Brower Center in downtown Berkeley on June 29th, 2011. Concern for the possible impacts of nutrients on Bay phytoplankton and the ecosystem has increased in recent years. The workshop brought together regulators, scientific experts and stakeholders as a first step toward developing a strategy for providing the information needed by managers on this issue.



Much of the work that the USGS has conducted in recent years suggests that there are fundamental changes occurring in San Francisco Bay. Dr. Jim Cloern and his colleagues at USGS have shown an increase in baseline chlorophyll levels and in the frequency and strength of phytoplankton blooms in the Bay. Although San Francisco Bay has nutrient concentrations that are on par with highly productive east coast estuaries such as Chesapeake Bay, San Francisco Bay has historically been considered resilient to the effects of heavy nutrient loads. In part, this is attributable to the Bay being light-limited as a result of high suspended sediment concentrations. However, recent work by Dr. Schoelhammer and his colleagues at USGS has shown a decrease in suspended sediment concentrations in the Bay. In addition, the USGS has shown changes in the Bay’s ecology as a result of long-term climatic cycles affecting ocean currents, a decline in herbivores and an increase in predators. There is some concern that in the future, the San Francisco Bay may be unable to sustain its resiliency to the adverse impacts of continuing nutrient loads.

Programs and Focus Areas: 
Clean Water Program