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2022
Applied Marine Sciences. 2022. 2021 RMP Water Cruise Report. SFEI Contribution No. 1098. Applied Marine Sciences: Livermore, CA.

This report details activities associated with the biannual Regional Monitoring Program for Water Quality in the San Francisco Estuary (RMP) water cruise. The RMP water sampling program was redesigned in 2002 to adopt a randomized sampling design at thirty-one sites in place of the twenty-six “spine of the Estuary” stations sampled previously. In 2007, the number of sites was decreased to twenty-two stations, combined probabilistic and historic, and it remains as such for 2021. 

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Davis, J.; Foley, M.; Askevold, R. A.; Sutton, R.; Senn, D.; Plane, E. 2022. 2022 Pulse of the Bay. SFEI Contribution No. 1095. San Francisco Estuary Institute: Richmond, California.

The theme of the 2022 Pulse is "50 Years After the Clean Water Act." Nine different individuals or groups have contributed perspectives on progress to date and challenges ahead. This Pulse also includes summaries, from a historical perspective, on the major water quality parameters of concern in the Bay.   

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Foley, M. M. 2022. 2022 RMP Multi-Year Plan. SFEI Contribution No. 1058. San Francisco Estuary Institute: Richmond, California.
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Moran, K.; Askevold, R. 2022. Microplastics from Tire Particles in San Francisco Bay Factsheet. SFEI Contribution No. 1074. San Francisco Estuary Institute: Richmond, CA.

As we drive our cars, our tires shed tiny particles

When it rains, stormwater runoff carries tire particles—and the toxic chemicals they contain—from city streets and highways to storm drains and fish habitat in creeks and estuaries like San Francisco Bay. Stormwater washes trillions of tire particles into the Bay each year.

How do tires affect wildlife?

A recent study found a highly toxic chemical (“6PPD-quinone”) derived from vehicle tires in Bay Area stormwater at levels that are lethal to coho salmon. New data indicate that steelhead, a salmon species still migrating through the Bay to surrounding watersheds, are also sensitive to this chemical.

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Shimabuku, I.; Chen, D.; Wu, Y.; Miller, E.; Sun, J.; Sutton, R. 2022. Occurrence and risk assessment of organophosphate esters and bisphenols in San Francisco Bay, California, USA. Science of the Total Environment 813 . SFEI Contribution No. 982.

Organophosphate esters (OPEs) and bisphenols are two classes of industrial chemicals that are ubiquitously detected in environmental matrices due to high global production and widespread use, particularly in the manufacture of plastic products. In 2017, water samples collected throughout the highly urbanized San Francisco Bay were analyzed for 22 OPEs and 16 bisphenols using liquid chromatography-electrospray ionization-Q Trap-mass spectrometry. Fifteen of the 22 OPEs were detected, with highest median concentrations in the order TCPP (42 ng/L) > TPhP (9.5 ng/L) > TBOEP (7.6 ng/L) > TnBP (7.5 ng/L) > TEP (6.7 ng/L) > TDCIPP (6.2 ng/L). In contrast, only two of 16 bisphenols, BPA and BPS, were quantified, with concentrations ranging from <0.7–35 ng/L and <1–120 ng/L, respectively. BPA and a few OPEs (EHDPP and TEHP) were primarily present in the particulate phase, while BPS and all other observed OPEs were predominantly found in the dissolved phase. Pairwise correlation analysis revealed several strong, positive correlations among OPEs, and few weak, negative correlations between OPEs and BPA, suggesting differences between the two classes with respect to their sources, pathways, and/or fate in the environment. Concentrations of OPEs and bisphenols observed in this study were generally consistent with reported concentrations in other estuarine and marine settings globally. TDCIPP exceeded existing predicted no-effect concentrations (PNECs) at some sites, and six other compounds (TCrP, IDDPP, EHDPP, TPhP, TBOEP, and BPA) were observed at levels approaching individual compound PNECs (not considering mixture effects), indicating potential risks to Bay biota. These results emphasize the need to control releases of these contaminants in order to protect the ecosystem. Periodic monitoring can be used to maintain vigilance in the face of potential regrettable substitutions.

Shimabuku, I.; Chen, D.; Wu, Y.; Miller, E.; Sun, J.; Sutton, R. 2022. Occurrence and risk assessment of organophosphate esters and bisphenols in San Francisco Bay, California, USA. Science of the Total Environment 813 . SFEI Contribution No. 982.

Organophosphate esters (OPEs) and bisphenols are two classes of industrial chemicals that are ubiquitously detected in environmental matrices due to high global production and widespread use, particularly in the manufacture of plastic products. In 2017, water samples collected throughout the highly urbanized San Francisco Bay were analyzed for 22 OPEs and 16 bisphenols using liquid chromatography-electrospray ionization-Q Trap-mass spectrometry. Fifteen of the 22 OPEs were detected, with highest median concentrations in the order TCPP (42 ng/L) > TPhP (9.5 ng/L) > TBOEP (7.6 ng/L) > TnBP (7.5 ng/L) > TEP (6.7 ng/L) > TDCIPP (6.2 ng/L). In contrast, only two of 16 bisphenols, BPA and BPS, were quantified, with concentrations ranging from <0.7–35 ng/L and <1–120 ng/L, respectively. BPA and a few OPEs (EHDPP and TEHP) were primarily present in the particulate phase, while BPS and all other observed OPEs were predominantly found in the dissolved phase. Pairwise correlation analysis revealed several strong, positive correlations among OPEs, and few weak, negative correlations between OPEs and BPA, suggesting differences between the two classes with respect to their sources, pathways, and/or fate in the environment. Concentrations of OPEs and bisphenols observed in this study were generally consistent with reported concentrations in other estuarine and marine settings globally. TDCIPP exceeded existing predicted no-effect concentrations (PNECs) at some sites, and six other compounds (TCrP, IDDPP, EHDPP, TPhP, TBOEP, and BPA) were observed at levels approaching individual compound PNECs (not considering mixture effects), indicating potential risks to Bay biota. These results emphasize the need to control releases of these contaminants in order to protect the ecosystem. Periodic monitoring can be used to maintain vigilance in the face of potential regrettable substitutions.

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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.

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Mckee, L.; Gilbreath, A.; Sabin, L. 2022. Small Tributaries Pollutants of Concern Reconnaissance Monitoring: Application of Storm-event Loads and Yields-Based and Congener-Based PCB Site Prioritization Methodologies. SFEI Contribution No. 1067.

Stormwater agencies in the San Francisco Bay Area are identifying watershed areas that are polluted with PCBs in order to prioritize management efforts to reduce impairment in the Bay caused by PCBs carried in stormwater. Water sampling during storms has been used to characterize PCB concentrations but management prioritization based on the comparison of concentrations between watersheds is made difficult due to variations in flow and sediment erosion between storms and in relation to varying land use. In addition, identifying PCB source areas within priority watersheds has proven complex and costly. To address these challenges, the San Francisco Bay Regional Monitoring Program (RMP) has developed two new interpretive methods based on storm-event PCB yields (PCBs mass per unit area per unit time) and fingerprints of Aroclors (commercial PCB mixtures) that make existing data more useful for decision-making. 

The objectives of this study were to: 

  • Apply the yield method to the regional stormwater dataset and provide new rankings, 
  • Estimate the presence of Aroclors in samples where congener data are available
  • Evaluate data weaknesses and recommend watersheds to resample, and
  • Classify watersheds into high, medium, and low categories for potential management.
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Jones, C.; Davis, J.; Yee, D. 2022. Strategy for In-Bay Fate Modeling to Support Contaminant and Sediment Management in San Francisco Bay. SFEI Contribution No. 1090. San Francisco Estuary Institute: Richmond, California.

This report presents a strategy and multi-year workplan for modeling polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), contaminants of emerging concern (CECs), and sediment in San Francisco Bay (the Bay). Robust in-Bay fate modeling is needed to address priority management questions that have been identified for these constituents.

The strategy for in-Bay modeling presented in this report is a major element of a broader, integrated strategy that is being developed across RMP Workgroups for modeling contaminants flowing from the Bay watersheds and other pathways into the Bay. The broader project is expected to yield an integrated strategy in 2022, followed by implementation of a pilot effort in 2023. Coordination of the in-Bay modeling effort with the broader integrated strategy and other modeling work (e.g., nutrient modeling under the Nutrient Management Strategy) will be critical to optimizing use of the funds allocated to modeling.

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Mendez, M.; Grosso, C.; Lin, D. 2022. Summary and Evaluation of Bioaccumulation Tests for Total Polychlorinated Biphenyls (PCBs) Conducted by San Francisco Bay Dredging Projects. SFEI Contribution No. 1092. San Francisco Estuary Institute: Richmond, California.

The Dredged Material Management Office (DMMO) is responsible for annually approving dredging and disposal of millions of cubic yards of sediment to maintain safe navigation in San Francisco Bay. Dredged sediment is characterized for physical, chemical, and biological characteristics to ensure sediment disposed of in the Bay or at beneficial use locations does not cause adverse environmental impacts. Bioaccumulation thresholds and total maximum daily loads (TMDLs) have been established for several contaminant classes, including PCBs, and are used by the DMMO to determine whether sediment contaminant levels trigger subsequent bioaccumulation testing. Sediment with contaminant concentrations above any TMDL levels cannot be disposed of within the Bay but may be further evaluated for upland reuse and ocean disposal. The objective of this study was to evaluate PCB bioaccumulation data from navigational dredging projects to assess the existence of correlations between sediment chemistry and bioaccumulation test results. The motivation for this study was to determine whether the current PCB bioaccumulation trigger is effective in differentiating sediment bioaccumulation concerns. The DMMO may use the results of this study to inform evaluation requirements for PCBs, particularly in support of modifying the terms of the Long-term Management Strategy for San Francisco Bay (LTMS) programmatic Essential Fish Habitat (EFH) agreement concerning PCB bioaccumulation testing. 

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Wang, M.; Kinyua, J.; Jiang, T.; Sedlak, M.; McKee, L. J. .; Fadness, R.; Sutton, R.; Park, J. - S. 2022. Suspect Screening and Chemical Profile Analysis of Storm-Water Runoff Following 2017 Wildfires in Northern California. Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry . SFEI Contribution No. 1089.

The combustion of structures and household materials as well as firefighting during wildfires lead to releases of potentially hazardous chemicals directly into the landscape. Subsequent storm-water runoff events can transport wildfire-related contaminants to downstream receiving waters, where they may pose water quality concerns. To evaluate the environmental hazards of northern California fires on the types of contaminants in storm water discharging to San Francisco Bay and the coastal marine environment, we analyzed storm water collected after the northern California wildfires (October 2017) using a nontargeted analytical (NTA) approach. Liquid chromatography quadrupole time-of-flight mass spectrometric analysis was completed on storm-water samples (n = 20) collected from Napa County (impacted by the Atlas and Nuns fires), the city of Santa Rosa, and Sonoma County (Nuns and Tubbs fires) during storm events that occurred in November 2017 and January 2018. The NTA approach enabled us to establish profiles of contaminants based on peak intensities and chemical categories found in the storm-water samples and to prioritize significant chemicals within these profiles possibly attributed to the wildfire. The results demonstrated the presence of a wide range of contaminants in the storm water, including surfactants, per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances, and chemicals from consumer and personal care products. Homologs of polyethylene glycol were found to be the major contributor to the contaminants, followed by other widely used surfactants. Nonylphenol ethoxylates, typically used as surfactants, were detected and were much higher in samples collected after Storm Event 1 relative to Storm Event 2. The present study provides a comprehensive approach for examining wildfire-impacted storm-water contamination of related contaminants, of which we found many with potential ecological risk. Environ Toxicol Chem 2022;00:1–14. © 2022 SETAC

2021
Yee, D. 2021. 2019 RMP Data Quality Assurance Report. San Francisco Estuary Institute: Richmond, CA.

This memo provides a high-level summary of the quality assurance assessment for data reported by the RMP.  In 2019, fish tissue samples were collected from nine Bay/Delta areas and three additional wetland/slough areas for the Regional Monitoring Program for Water Quality in San Francisco Bay (RMP). General descriptions of the sample collection methods are provided in the RMP Quality Assurance Program Plan, cruise plans, cruise reports, and field sampling reports. These documents are available from the SFEI website (http://www.sfei.org/content/status-and-trends-monitoring-documents).

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2021. 2020-21 RMP North Bay Selenium Study. SFEI Contribution No. 1052. San Francisco Estuary Institute: Richmond, CA.

This report details activities associated with the Regional Monitoring Program North Bay Selenium Study in 2020 and 2021. The study was designed to monitor two sites for selenium (Se) in water and clam tissue six times annually between June and February. Due to the COVID pandemic, however, four sample collection events were completed. This report outlines the sampling activities, personnel, and site locations monitored for the project.

 

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2021. 2020 Bay Margins Sediment Study Cruise Plan. SFEI Contribution No. 1073. San Francisco Estuary Institute: Richmond, California.

This report details plans associated with sediment sampling for the Bay Margins Sediment Study for the Regional Monitoring Program for Water Quality in San Francisco Bay (RMP). Bay margins (i.e., mud flats and adjacent shallow areas of the Bay) are productive and highly utilized by biota of interest (humans and wildlife). This study will provide a spatially-distributed characterization of surface sediment contamination and ancillary characteristics within San Pablo Bay, Suisun Bay, and Carquinez Strait margin areas. This study builds on two previous studies to characterize surface sediment contamination in Central and South Bays.

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Yee, D.; Wong, A.; Weaver, M. 2021. 2021 Quality Assurance Program Plan for the Regional Monitoring Program for Water Quality in San Francisco Bay. SFEI Contribution No. 1048. San Francisco Estuary Institute: Richmond, California.
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Foley, M.; Sutton, R.; Yee, D.; Salop, P. 2021. 2021 RMP Water Cruise Plan. SFEI Contribution No. 1050. San Francisco Estuary Institute: Richmond, California.

This report details plans associated with the annual Regional Monitoring Program for Water Quality in the San Francisco Estuary (RMP) water cruise. The RMP water sampling program was redesigned in 2002 to adopt a randomized sampling design at thirty-one sites in place of the twenty-six base program stations sampled previously. In 2007, the number of sites was decreased to twenty-two stations, and it remains as such for 2021. The analytes for 2021 have been modified based on the Status and Trends (S&T) Review process that started in 2020. The analytes that are being removed from the program include selenium and methylmercury (dissolved and particulate), while bisphenols and organophosphate esters (OPEs) have been added to S&T monitoring. 

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Overdahl, K. E.; Sutton, R.; Sun, J.; DeStefano, N. J.; Getzinger, G. J.; P. Ferguson, L. 2021. Assessment of emerging polar organic pollutants linked to contaminant pathways within an urban estuary using non-targeted analysis. SFEI Contribution No. 1107. Environmental Sciences: Processes and Impacts.

A comprehensive, non-targeted analysis of polar organic pollutants using high resolution/accurate mass (HR/AM) mass spectrometry approaches has been applied to water samples from San Francisco (SF) Bay, a major urban estuary on the western coast of the United States, to assess occurrence of emerging contaminants and inform future monitoring and management activities. Polar Organic Chemical Integrative Samplers (POCIS) were deployed selectively to evaluate the influence of three contaminant pathways: urban stormwater runoff (San Leandro Bay), wastewater effluent (Coyote Creek, Lower South Bay), and agricultural runoff (Napa River). Grab samples were collected before and after deployment of the passive samplers to provide a quantitative snapshot of contaminants for comparison. Composite samples of wastewater effluent (24 hours) were also collected from several wastewater dischargers. Samples were analyzed using liquid-chromatography coupled to high resolution mass spectrometry. Resulting data were analyzed using a customized workflow designed for high-fidelity detection, prioritization, identification, and semi-quantitation of detected molecular features. Approximately 6350 compounds were detected in the combined data set, with 424 of those compounds tentatively identified through high quality spectral library match scores. Compounds identified included ethoxylated surfactants, pesticide and pharmaceutical transformation products, polymer additives, and rubber vulcanization agents. Compounds identified in samples were reflective of the apparent sources and pathways of organic pollutant inputs, with stormwater-influenced samples dominated by additive chemicals likely derived from plastics and vehicle tires, as well as ethoxylated surfactants.

Davis, J.; Buzby, N. 2021. PCBs in Shiner Surfperch in Priority Margin Areas of San Francisco Bay. SFEI Contribution No. 1054.

Conceptual models developed for selected San Francisco Bay margin areas (referred to as priority margin units, or PMUs) have identified shiner surfperch as a crucial indicator of PCB impairment, due to their explicit inclusion as an indicator species in the PCBs TMDL, importance as a popular sport fish species, tendency to accumulate high PCB concentrations, site fidelity, and other factors. The conceptual models recommend periodic monitoring of shiner surfperch to track trends in the PMUs, and as the ultimate indicator of progress in reduction of impairment. The objectives of this study were to 1) establish baselines for long-term monitoring of PCB concentrations in shiner surfperch in four PMUs, and 2) understand local spatial variation in shiner PCB concentrations to support optimization of the long-term sampling design. This study also provided valuable information on the presence of shiner surfperch and other species in the PMUs. 

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Gilbreath, A.; McKee, L.; Hunt, J. 2021. Pollutants of Concern Reconnaissance Monitoring Progress Report, Water Years 2015-2020. SFEI Contribution No. 1061. San Francisco Estuary Institute: Richmond, CA.

The San Francisco Bay polychlorinated biphenyl (PCB) and mercury (Hg) total maximum daily loads (TMDLs) call for implementation of control measures to reduce PCB and Hg loads entering the Bay via stormwater. In 2009, the San Francisco Bay Regional Water Quality Control Board (Regional Water Board) issued the first Municipal Regional Stormwater Permit (MRP). This MRP contained a provision aimed at improving information on stormwater pollutant loads in selected watersheds (Provision C.8.) and piloted a number of management techniques to reduce PCB and Hg loading to the Bay from smaller urbanized tributaries (Provisions C.11. and C.12.). To address C8, a previously developed fixed station loads monitoring technique was refined that incorporated turbidity and stage sensors recording at 5-15 minute intervals with the collection of velocity and water samples using both manual and auto sampling techniques to compute loads. In 2015, the Regional Water Board issued the second iteration of the MRP. “MRP 2.0” placed an increased focus on identifying those watersheds, source areas, and source properties that are potentially the most polluted and are therefore most likely to be cost-effective areas for addressing load-reduction requirements.

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Davis, J.; Foley, M.; Askevold, R.; Chelsky, A.; Dusterhoff, S.; Gilbreath, A.; Lin, D.; Yee, D.; Senn, D.; Sutton, R. 2021. RMP Update 2021. SFEI Contribution No. 1057.

The overarching goal of the Regional Monitoring Program for Water Quality in San Francisco Bay (RMP) is to answer the highest priority scientific questions faced by managers of Bay water quality. The RMP is an innovative collaboration between the San Francisco Bay Regional Water Quality Control Board, the regulated discharger community, the San Francisco Estuary Institute, and many other scientists and interested parties. The purpose of this document is to provide a concise overview of recent RMP activities and findings, and a look ahead to significant products anticipated in the next two years. The report includes a description of the management context that guides the Program; a brief summary of some of the most noteworthy findings of this multifaceted Program; and a summary of progress to date and future plans for addressing priority water quality topics.

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2021. San Francisco Bay North Bay Margins Sediment Report. Marine Pollution Studies Lab: Moss Landing, California.

This report contains information on the late summer/early fall field sampling efforts conducted
by the Marine Pollution Studies Lab at Moss Landing Marine Labs (MPSL-MLML) in support of
the San Francisco Bay Regional Monitoring Program (RMP) North Bay (San Pablo and Suisun
Bays) Margins study. The North Bay Margins is the third and final round of a larger San
Francisco Bay study collecting sediment and water in shallow margin areas of the bay. The first
round was conducted in Central Bay in 2015 and second round in South Bay in 2017. The work
was contracted through the San Francisco Estuary Institute (SFEI) to the San Jose State
University Research Foundation (SJSURF).
This report includes sample collections over a three week period (August 31st through September
16th) in 2020 encompassing two trips. A total of 40 sediment sites were sampled (Appendix A).
Duplicate sediment samples were collected at two sites (SPB039 and SUB25). Detailed sample
counts and protocols can be found in the 2020 RMP Bay Margins Sediment Cruise Plan prepared
by SFEI.

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2020
2020. 2019-20 RMP North Bay Selenium Study. 2019-20 RMP North Bay Selenium Study. SFEI Contribution No. 1051. San Francisco Estuary Institute: Richmond, CA.

This report details activities associated with the Regional Monitoring Program North Bay Selenium Study. The  study was designed to monitor two sites for selenium (Se) in clam tissues and water six times between June  2019 and February 2020. This report outlines the sampling activities, personnel, and site locations monitored for  the project. 

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2019
Yee, D. 2019. 2018 RMP Sediment Data Quality Assurance Report. San Francisco Estuary Institute: Richmond, CA.

In 2018, sediment samples were collected from 27 stations (7 historical sites, with the rest from the GRTS random draw panels) for the Regional Monitoring Program for Water Quality in San Francisco Bay. The details of the cruise and sample collection methods are described in the RMP Quality Assurance Program Plan, cruise plans, cruise reports, and field sampling reports. These documents are available from the SFEI website (http://www.sfei.org/content/status-and-trends-monitoring-documents).

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Yee, D. 2019. 2018 RMP Tissue Data Quality Assurance Report. San Francisco Estuary Institute: Richmond, CA.

In 2018, bivalve tissue samples were collected from six Bay/Delta stations and a reference site for the Regional Monitoring Program for Water Quality in San Francisco Bay. Bird egg tissue samples were collected from two sites for cormorants, and four sites for terns. General descriptions of the sample collection methods are provided in the RMP Quality Assurance Program Plan, cruise plans, cruise reports, and sampling reports. These documents are available from the SFEI website (http://www.sfei.org/content/status-and-trends-monitoring-documents)

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