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 (1.13 MB)
McKnight, K.; Braud, A.; Dusterhoff, S.; Grenier, L.; Shaw, S.; Lowe, J.; Foley, M.; McKee, L. 2023. Conceptual Understanding of Fine Sediment Transport in San Francisco Bay. SFEI Contribution No. 1114. San Francisco Estuary Institute: Richmond, CA.

Sediment is a lifeblood of San Francisco Bay (Bay). It serves three key functions: (1) create and maintain tidal marshes and mudflats, (2) transport nutrients and contaminants, and (3) reduce impacts from excessive human-derived nutrients in the Bay. Because of these important roles, we need a detailed understanding of sediment processes in the Bay.

This report offers a conceptual understanding of how fine-grained sediment (i.e. silt and finer, henceforth called fine sediment) moves around at different scales within the Bay, now and into the future, to synthesize current knowledge and identify critical knowledge gaps. This information can be used to support Bay sediment management efforts and help prioritize funding for research and monitoring. In particular, this conceptual understanding is designed to inform future San Francisco Bay Regional Monitoring Program (RMP) work under the guidance of the Sediment Workgroup of the RMP for Water Quality in San Francisco Bay, which brings together experts who have worked on many different components of the landscape, including watersheds and tributaries, marshes and mudflats, beaches, and the open Bay. This report describes sediment at two scales: a conceptual understanding of open-Bay sediment processes at the Bay and subembayment scale (Chapter 2); and a conceptual understanding of sediment processes at the baylands scale (Chapter 3). Chapter 4 summarizes the key knowledge gaps and provides recommendations for future studies.

 (46.2 MB)
Plane, E.; Braud, A.; Lowe, J.; Iknayan, K.; Foley, M. 2023. Regional Analysis of Potential Beneficial Use Locations. Conducted for the San Francisco Bay Regional Dredged Material Management Plan. Prepared by the San Francisco Estuary Institute for the US Army Corps of Engineers, San Francisco District. SFEI Contribution No. 1178. San Francisco Estuary Institute: Richmond, CA.
 (12.17 MB)
McKee, L.; Peterson, D.; Braud, A.; Foley, M.; Dusterhoff, S.; Lowe, J.; King, A.; Davis, J. 2023. San Francisco Bay Sediment Modeling and Monitoring Workplan. SFEI Contribution No. 1100. San Francisco Estuary Institute: Richmond, CA.

This document was prepared with guidance gained through two RMP Sediment Workgroup workshops held in late 2022 and early 2023. Given the variety of participants involved, this Workplan encompasses interests beyond San Francisco Bay RMP funders. We thank the attendees for their contributions. 

In 2020, the Sediment Workgroup (SedWG) of the Regional Monitoring Program for Water Quality in San Francisco Bay (RMP) completed a Sediment Monitoring and Modeling Strategy (SMMS) which laid out a conceptual level series of data and information gaps and generally recommended the use of both empirical data collection and modeling tools to answer initial high priority management questions (McKee et al., 2020). At the time, the SMMS promoted the use of surrogates such as time-continuous turbidity measurements for cross-section flux modeling within the Bay without an understanding of existing Bay hydrodynamic models, their strengths, weaknesses, and potential uses for understanding coupled Bay-mudflat-marsh processes. Since then, the Wetland Regional Monitoring Program (WRMP, www.wrmp.org) has generally promoted the use of coupling monitoring and modeling techniques to inform wetlands sediment management decisions. In addition, he completion of the Sediment for Survival report (a RMPEPA funded collaboration) and the further development of sediment conceptual models has also advanced the need for a coupled dynamic modeling and monitoring program that has the capacity to explore more complex management questions (Dusterhoff et al., 2021; SFEI, 2023). Such a program will take time to develop, but will be more cost-efficient and adaptable and allow for more timely answers to pressing questions. 

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Zi, T.; Braud, A.; McKee, L. J.; Foley, M. 2022. San Francisco Bay Watershed Dynamic Model (WDM) Progress Report, Phase 2. SFEI Contribution No. 1091. San Francisco Estuary Institute: Richmond, California.

The San Francisco Bay total maximum daily loads (TMDLs) call for a 50% reduction in mercury (Hg) loads by 2028 and a 90% reduction in PCBs loads by 2030. In support of these TMDLs, the Municipal Regional Permit for Stormwater (MRP) (SFBRWQCB, 2009, SFBRWQCB, 2015, SFBRWQCB, 2022) called for the implementation of control measures to reduce PCBs and Hg loads from urbanized tributaries. In addition, the MRP has identified additional information needs associated with improving understanding of sources, pathways, loads, trends, and management opportunities of pollutants of concern (POCs). In response to the MRP requirements and information needs, the Small Tributary Loading Strategy (STLS) was developed, which outlined a set of management questions (MQs) that have been used as the
guiding principles for the region’s stormwater-related activities. In recognition of the need to evaluate changes in loads or concentrations of POCs from small tributaries on a decadal scale, the updated 2018 STLS Trends Strategy (Wu et al., 2018) prioritized the development of a new dynamic regional watershed model for POCs (PCBs and Hg focused) loads and trends. This regional modeling effort will provide updated estimates of POC concentrations and loads for all local watersheds that drain to the Bay. The Watershed Dynamic Model (WDM) will also provide
a mechanism for evaluating the impact of management actions on future trends of POC loads or concentrations.

As a multi-use modeling platform, the WDM is being developed to include other pollutants, such as contaminants of emerging concern (CECs), sediment, and nutrients and to be coupled with a Bay fate model to form an integrated watershed-Bay modeling framework to address Regional Monitoring Program (RMP) management questions. As this model is developed, flexibility to link with other models will be an important consideration.

 (3.56 MB)