Kelly D. Moran's picture

Kelly D. Moran, Ph.D.

Senior Scientist
Clean Water Program
Bay Regional Monitoring Program
Contaminants of Emerging Concern
Watershed Monitoring and Modeling

Dr. Kelly Moran joined SFEI-ASC in late 2020 to investigate contaminants of emerging concern and microplastics in the San Francisco Bay and other regions of California. For the last 25 years Dr. Moran has worked at the interface of science and public policy, assisting government agencies with managing water pollution from consumer products. Dr. Moran specializes in identifying linkages between products and surface water quality and developing science-based approaches to prevent water pollution. Her work spans a range of pollutants, product types, and environmental transport pathways. She co-founded the Brake Pad Partnership, which conducted scientific studies that stimulated legislation phasing out copper use in vehicle brake pads to protect salmon populations. The Urban Pesticides Pollution Prevention Partnership that she founded brought scientific information to state pesticides regulators that caused them to develop new science-based systems to protect surface water quality. Dr. Moran has served on many advisory panels including the California Source Reduction Advisory Committee, the City of San Mateo Planning Commission, and the California Green Ribbon Science Panel, which she co-chairs. She received a B.S. in Chemistry with Honors from Stanford University and a Ph.D. in Chemistry from U.C. Berkeley.

Related Projects, News, and Events

SFEI’s Dr. Kelly Moran Receives 2023 Teng-chung Wu Pollution Prevention Award (News)

On October 8, 2023, the San Francisco Bay Regional Water Quality Control Board presented the 2023 Teng-chung Wu Pollution Prevention Award to the Bay Area Pollution Prevention Group Pesticides Subcommittee. The award honors both the subcommittee and the staff who have led its activities. SFEI’s Dr. Kelly Moran helped found the subcommittee and led its work to prevent pesticides water pollution for more than a decade, turning over leadership to her associates Stephanie Hughes, and Tammy Qualls in 2021. 

Vehicle Tires Threaten Water Quality (News)

Update: On October 1, 2023: California Department of Toxic Substance Control (DTSC) 6PPD regulations became effective, making it the first government in the world to regulate the chemical content of vehicle tires to protect salmon. DTSC is requiring tire manufacturers to identify alternatives to the tire preservative that is the source of the chemical toxic to coho salmon.

California Pesticides: A Data Visualization Tool to Link Pesticide Use and Management to Water Quality (Project)

Despite California's data-rich environment, there are still many obstacles when trying to access and understand pesticide data at the nexus of water quality, ecological effects, and human health. We recognize a need to fill data gaps, not necessarily by collecting new data, but by better leveraging information already technically in the public domain. The goal of this project is to bring pesticide reporting, occurrence, and toxicity data together in ways that yield insights and meet the expressed needs of stakeholders in clear, efficient, credible, and repeatable ways.

Dr. Kelly Moran Joins SFEI Staff (News)

SFEI is excited to announce that veteran RMP contributor Dr. Kelly Moran has recently joined the SFEI Clean Water team as a Senior Scientist, dramatically strengthening our capacity to provide management-relevant science on emerging contaminants and microplastics. Prior to joining SFEI staff, Dr. Moran served as an expert advisor on the Emerging Contaminants Workgroup as well as the RMP Sources, Pathways and Loadings Workgroup. 

Microplastic Pollution in San Francisco Bay (Project)

Plastic pollution is gaining global recognition as a threat to the resilience and productivity of ocean ecosystems. However, we are only just beginning to understand the scope and impacts of microplastic particles (less than 5 mm) on coastal and ocean resources, and the San Francisco Bay Area is no exception. A preliminary study of nine water sites in San Francisco Bay, published in 2016, showed greater levels of microplastics than the Great Lakes or Chesapeake Bay.

California moves towards sustainable pest management, phase out of highest-risk pesticides by 2050 (News)

On January 26, the Secretaries of the California Environmental Protection Agency (CalEPA) and California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) joined leaders from a diverse range of backgrounds to unveil a roadmap of ambitious goals and actions to accelerate California’s systemwide transition to sustainable pest management and eliminate prioritized high-risk pesticides by 2050.

Microplastic Pollution (Project)

The RMP has conducted initial studies of microplastic pollution in San Francisco Bay. Findings from a 2015 screening-level RMP study of microplastic pollution in our Bay show widespread contamination at levels greater than other U.S. water bodies with high levels of urban development, the Great Lakes and Chesapeake Bay. Wildlife consume microplastic particles; ingestion can lead to physical harm, and can expose aquatic organisms to pollutants like PCBs that the plastics have absorbed from the surrounding environment.

A Synthesis of Microplastic Sources and Pathways to Urban Runoff (News)

What do clothes dryers and car tires have in common? Both release microplastic pollution into the environment, according to a new investigation by scientists at the San Francisco Estuary Institute. 

SFEI Experts Assist California’s Safer Consumer Products Program (News)

Recent studies by the San Francisco Estuary Institute (SFEI) and the Regional Monitoring Program (RMP) have pinpointed chemical and microplastic contamination from tires as a rising concern in the Bay.  Tire ingredients of interest include zinc, which has many documented adverse health effects in wildlife, and 6PPD, a preservative

New Book Chapter: Pesticides in Our Homes Wash Down the Drain (News)

A state-of-the-science review of current-use pesticides in wastewater, led by SFEI senior scientist Dr. Rebecca Sutton, indicates this pollution pathway is significant and should not be overlooked. The book chapter provides a comprehensive conceptual model of all types of pesticides that have the potential to be washed down the drain and into wastewater. Conventional wastewater treatment technologies are generally ineffective at removing pesticides, so additional monitoring and modeling studies are needed to guide efforts to prevent pesticide pollution.

RMP Study in the News: “Dog and cat flea treatments suspected of polluting San Francisco Bay” (News)

As a result of summary information presented in the latest Pulse of the Bay (see below), the San Jose Mercury News published an article based on a RMP study of pesticide movement through Bay Area wastewater treatment plants.  Fipronil is an insecticide that is of moderate concern for the Bay because levels in sediment are in the range of toxicity thresholds for freshw