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2021
Moore, S.; Hale, T.; Weisberg, S. B.; Flores, L.; Kauhanen, P. 2021. California Trash Monitoring Methods and Assessments Playbook. SFEI Contribution No. 1025. San Francisco Estuary Institute: Richmond, Calif.

As municipalities and water-quality regulatory agencies have implemented programs and policies to improve management of the trash loading to storm drain conveyances, there has been increased interest in using a common set of methods to quantify the effectiveness of management actions. To create a foundation for developing a consistent, standardized approach to trash monitoring statewide, the project team performed a method comparison analysis, based on two seasons of fieldwork. This analysis facilitated the assessment of the accuracy, repeatability, and efficiency of some already developed trash monitoring methodologies already in use, as well as help to investigate a new, innovative method (cf. Fielding Testing Report on trashmonitoring.org). Methods developed by the Bay Area Stormwater Management Agencies Association (BASMAA) for use in the San Francisco Bay Area were compared to methods developed by the Southern California Stormwater Monitoring Coalition (SMC) for use in coastal southern California. One of the chief goals of these comparisons was to understand the similarities and differences between the already existing methods for detecting, quantifying, and characterizing trash in selected environments. Readers will find that the data bear out remarkable levels of accuracy and precision with quantitative metrics that help to align methods and management concerns. Furthermore, the degree of correlation among tested methods were especially high, offering greater opportunities for inter-method comparisons.


The findings of this project are intended for use by public agencies, non-profit organizations, private consultants, and all of their various partners in informing a statewide effort to adopt rigorous, standardized monitoring methods to support the State Water Board’s Trash Amendments. Over the next couple of decades, such public mandates will require all water bodies in California to achieve water quality objectives for trash.

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Moore, S.; Hale, T.; Weisberg, S. B.; Flores, L.; Kauhanen, P. 2021. Field Testing Report: California Trash Monitoring Methods. SFEI Contribution No. 1026. San Francisco Estuary Institute: Richmond, Calif.

Trash has received renewed focus in recent years as policy makers, public agencies, environmental organizations, and community groups have taken many steps towards trash quantification and management across California. The range of management actions is matched by the diversity of monitoring approaches, designed to determine key attributes associated with trash pollution on California’s lands and in its waterways.

This report describes the field testing associated with a project designed to validate the accuracy, precision, and practicality of several trash monitoring methods, practiced across the state. Additionally, the project measured the efficacy of a novel monitoring method designed to detect trash via remote sensing and machine learning. Readers will find details about each respective method -- the specific approach to
landscape characterization, the qualitative or quantitative measures undertaken, the team-based quality assurance for data collection -- as well as the approach that the testing team adopted to ensure efficient, accurate, and useful validation of the methods.

Because the validation efforts integrated multiple methods, using multiple teams at a selection of common sites, the field testing report yields useful statistical information not only about each method individually, but about the comparability of the results. The report illustrates the
correlation factor associated with different forms of trash metrics, associated with different methods practiced on the same assessment sites. The results illustrated a generally high degree of correlation among different methods, which promises opportunities to compare results meaningfully across methods.

Furthermore, this field testing report provides quantitative measures to illustrate the repeatability of each method, the differences and insights yielded by assessment site sizing criteria varying among methods, the transferability / teach-ability of each method among trash monitoring practitioners, and how the degrees of accuracy might aid programs in performing mass balance analysis of known sources
to trash detected in a given site.

Regarding innovation, the project team leveraged multiple on-the-ground methods and special testing scenarios to compare conventional and novel (aerial) assessments to measure the relative accuracy and precision of this emergent technology that might address some of the resource constraints that currently limit the broader or more frequent deployment of conventional trash assessment methods. The analyses captured in this field testing report offer specific quantitative measures of the accuracy (bias), precision (repeatability), practicality and cost associated with each method. This information is subsequently used to inform a companion summary analysis found in the Trash Monitoring Playbook, which is designed to evaluate the applicability of the monitoring methods to address classes of
monitoring questions.

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2019
Wu, J.; Kauhanen, P.; Hunt, J. A.; Senn, D.; Hale, T.; McKee, L. J. . 2019. Optimal Selection and Placement of Green Infrastructure in Urban Watersheds for PCB Control. Journal of Sustainable Water in the Built Environment 5 (2) . SFEI Contribution No. 729.

San Francisco Bay and its watersheds are polluted by legacy polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), resulting in the establishment of a total maximum daily load (TDML) that requires a 90% PCB load reduction from municipal stormwater. Green infrastructure (GI) is a multibenefit solution for stormwater management, potentially addressing the TMDL objectives, but planning and implementing GI cost-effectively to achieve management goals remains a challenge and requires an integrated watershed approach. This study used the nondominated sorting genetic algorithm (NSGA-II) coupled with the Stormwater Management Model (SWMM) to find near-optimal combinations of GIs that maximize PCB load reduction and minimize total relative cost at a watershed scale. The selection and placement of three locally favored GI types (bioretention, infiltration trench, and permeable pavement) were analyzed based on their cost and effectiveness. The results show that between optimal solutions and nonoptimal solutions, the effectiveness in load reduction could vary as much as 30% and the difference in total relative cost could be well over $100 million. Sensitivity analysis of both GI costs and sizing criteria suggest that the assumptions made regarding these parameters greatly influenced the optimal solutions. 

If you register for access to the journal, then you may download the article for free through July 31, 2019.

DOI: 10.1061/JSWBAY.0000876

2018
Hale, T.; Sim, L.; McKee, L. J. 2018. GreenPlan-IT Tracker.

This technical memo describes the purpose, functions, and structure associated with the newest addition to the GreenPlan-IT Toolset, the GreenPlan-IT Tracker. It also shares the opportunities for further enhancement and how the tool can operate in concert with existing resources. Furthermore, this memo describes a licensing plan that would permit municipalities to use the tool in an ongoing way that scales to their needs. The memo concludes with a provisional roadmap for the development of future features and technical details describing the tool’s platform and data structures.

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2017
Hale, T.; Grosso, C. 2017. Applied Aquatic Science: A Business Plan for EcoAtlas. San Francisco Estuary Institue: Richmond, CA.

The following plan is intended to ensure the continued vitality of the toolset. The plan’s success will depend upon the continued collaboration of the public agencies that have supported the toolset thus far, but it must also integrate principles of resilience as it accounts for the tensions that arise as organizations move in different strategic directions.

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2016
Hale, T.; Grosso, C. 2016. An Introduction to EcoAtlas: Applied Aquatic Science. San Francisco Estuary Institute: Richmond, CA. p 16 pages.

This memo was developed by SFEI to introduce the EcoAtlas tools, their intended (target) user community, and the short- and long-term intended applications. 

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2015
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Hale, T.; Azimi-Gaylon, S.; Fong, S.; Goodwin, P.; Isaac, G.; Osti, A.; Shilling, F.; Slawecki, T.; Steinberg, S.; Tompkins, M.; et al. 2015. Enhancing the Vision for Managing California's Environmental Information. SFEI Contribution No. 792. Delta Stewardship Council: Sacramento, CA.

The Environmental Data Summit, convened under the auspices of the Delta Stewardship Council’s Delta Science Program in June 2014, witnessed remarkable participation from experts across California, the nation, and even the world. Summit attendees from the public, private, federal, and non-profit sectors shared their views regarding the urgent needs and proposed solutions for California’s data-sharing and data-integration challenges, especially pertaining to the subject of environmental resource management in the era of “big data.” After all, this is a time when our data sources are growing in number, size, and complexity. Yet our ability to manage and analyze such data in service of effective decision-making lags far behind our demonstrated needs.

In its review of the sustainability of water and environmental management in the California Bay-Delta, the National Research Council (NRC) found that “only a synthetic, integrated, analytical approach to understanding the effects of suites of environmental factors (stressors) on the ecosystem and its components is likely to provide important insights that can lead to enhancement of the Delta and its species” (National Research Council 2012). The present “silos of data” have resulted in separate and compartmentalized science, impeding our ability to make informed decisions. While resolving data integration challenges will not, by itself, produce better science or better natural resource outcomes, progress in this area will provide a strong foundation for decision-making. Various mandates ranging from the California Water Action Plan to the President’s executive order demanding federal open data policies demonstrate the consensus on the merits of modern data sharing at the scale and function needed to meet today’s challenges.

This white paper emerges from the Summit as an instrument to help identify such opportunities to enhance California’s cross-jurisdictional data management. As a resource to policymakers, agency leadership, data managers, and others, this paper articulates some key challenges as well as proven solutions that, with careful and thoughtful coordination, can be implemented to overcome those obstacles. Primarily featured are tools that complement the State’s current investments in technology, recognizing that success depends upon broad and motivated participation from all levels of the public agency domain. Executive Summary

This document describes examples, practices, and recommendations that focus on California’s Delta as an opportune example likely to yield meaningful initial results in the face of pressing challenges. Once proven in the Delta, however, this paper’s recommended innovations would conceivably be applied statewide in subsequent phases.

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