The tidal marshes and tidal flats along the San Francisco Bay shoreline depend on sediment delivered by the tides. Healthy sediment supplies are essential for maintaining resilient marshes and tidal flats that can persist into the future and build up as sea level continues to rise. Currently, the sediment supply in the Bay is adequate to meet the sediment needed by tidal marshes and tidal flats. However, as sea level rise accelerates in the coming decades, the sediment needed for these habitats to survive will increase considerably. In addition, a healthy sediment supply will be needed to support the thousands of acres of restored tidal marsh that is being planned around the Bay. As sediment becomes an increasingly precious resource for habitat support and shoreline protection, it is essential to understand the future of sediment demand and develop an integrated strategy for long-term sediment management and monitoring.
The Sediment for Survival report provides a regional sediment strategy aimed at examining the future of sediment in the Bay and informing sediment management for the resilience of tidal marshes and tidal flats to climate change. The report analyses current data and climate projections to determine how much natural sediment may be available for tidal marshes and tidal flats and how much supplemental sediment may be needed under different future scenarios. These sediment supply and demand estimates are combined with scientific knowledge of natural physical and biological processes to offer a multi-benefit strategy for sediment delivery that will allow these wetlands to survive a changing climate and provide benefits to people and nature for many decades to come. The approach developed in this effort may also be useful beyond San Francisco Bay because shoreline protection, flood risk management, and looming sediment deficits are common issues facing coastal communities around the world.
Programs and Focus Areas:
Resilient Landscapes Program
Watershed Science & Management
Healthy Watersheds Resilient Baylands
Through the EPA-funded Healthy Watersheds Resilient Baylands project, SFEI and sixteen partner organizations are developing multi-benefit tools to enhance climate change resilience in San Francisco Bay. Healthy Watersheds Resilient Baylands has two major components: Multi-benefit Urban Greening and Tidal Wetlands Restoration. Through both components, we have developed strategies that inform policy, planning, and design of innovative implementation projects.