The Baylands Change Basemap will update the existing map of tidal marsh, tidal flats and diked baylands to incorporate the many changes in baylands distribution and abundance that have occurred over the last two decades. It will also include new information about land use and infrastructure that affects baylands restoration and management constraints and opportunities. To ensure the map is as up-to-date as possible, the project will develop procedures for ongoing local updates and change detection to cost-effectively maintain the basemap’s high value. 

The Baylands Basemap project will provide a new, comprehensive, standardized, public map of the distribution and abundance of the Bay Area baylands designed to support their restoration and protection. The new Baylands Basemap will be combined with the forthcoming Delta Aquatic Resource Inventory to create one seamless basemap of existing and potential intertidal habitats of the entire Estuary. The Bay Area Baylands Basemap will be a fundamental component of the San Francisco Estuary Regional Wetlands Monitoring Program (WRMP), and will serve as a common reference map to help coordinate baylands protection and restoration for all interests. It will be used commonly by public agencies to visualize and track baylands projects in EcoAtlas. Going forward, the Basemap can be updated by local and regional experts using new online editing tools. Training will be available to assure consistent use of standardized mapping procedures.

Why do we need a Baylands Basemap?

The existing map of tidal marsh, tidal flats and diked baylands illustrates the complex baylands ecosystem that is highly valued by a large community of public and private interests. The map is outdated, however, and does not represent the many changes in baylands distribution and abundance that have occurred over the last two decades. Nor does it include new information about land use and infrastructure that affects baylands restoration and management constraints and opportunities. The new basemap will address these information needs and others identified by the WRMP. Unlike the existing map, the new map would involve procedures for ongoing local updates to cost-effectively maintain its high value. None of the baylands exist in isolation. As integral parts of the Estuary ecosystem, they affect each other and have strong physical, ecological, and cultural relations to the rest of the Bay and its watersheds. For these and other reasons, the Baylands must be planned and managed together. This requires a common map of the Baylands and their surrounding areas. This new Basemap is necessary for the regional community of planners, regulators, managers, and scientists to assess the progress of restoration and protection efforts, relative to each other and over time, in the context of ongoing climate change. More specifically, the Baylands Basemap will:

  • Guide a regional approach to local baylands protection and restoration;
  • Improve the assessments of different project designs and management approaches;
  • Help distinguish the outcomes of baylands projects from the effects of climate change;
  • Inform the public about the nature, benefits, and accessibility of the baylands;
  • Build public support for continued investment in baylands protection and restoration.

What is the geographic extent of the map?

The map will update the Baylands portion of the Bay Area Aquatic Resource Inventory from the bayward limits of the intertidal zone to the landward limits of the Operational Landscape Units of the Estuary, downstream of the Delta Aquatic Resource Inventory, as guided by the SF Bay Conservation and Development Commission, California State Coastal Conservancy, and other agencies.

Dates: 
2020 to 2023
Programs and Focus Areas: 
Watershed Monitoring and Modeling
Environmental Informatics Program
Location Information
General Project Location(s): 
San Francisco Bay