Josh Collins's picture

Joshua N. Collins, PhD

Chief Scientist
Wetland Monitoring & Assessment
510-384-0740

Josh Collins is the Lead Scientist at SFEI. He oversees the development and integration of SFEI’s scientific work. Dr. Collins is a landscape ecologist and regional ecological planner with special expertise in mapping and assessing stream and wetland ecosystems. He received his Doctorate in Entomological Sciences at the University of California at Berkeley and did post-doctoral work in Geography and Ecology at the UC Berkeley and UC Davis. As an ecologist in the public utilities industry, Dr. Collins assessed the impacts of power plants on marine, estuarine, and riverine ecosystems. As a consulting ecologist in private practice, he designed stream and wetland restoration projects and developed methods to assess their performance. Since joining SFEI, Dr. Collins has initiated continuing programs in wetland science, watershed science, historical ecology, and regional GIS. He is a leader for a variety of efforts in the West to set long range ecological goals and he has been instrumental in the development of wetland and stream monitoring and assessment methods for California and the nation. Among his many current advisory roles, Dr. Collins chairs the technical team supporting California’s new wetland and riparian area protection policy.

Related Projects, News, and Events

EcoAtlas (Project)

EcoAtlas is a set of tools for generating, assembling, storing, visualizing, sharing, and reporting environmental data and information.

Flood Control Channel Classification Scheme for the San Francisco Bay Region (Project)

SFEI is working with the San Francisco Bay Regional Water Quality Control Board and a team of technical advisors on a pilot effort to develop a classification scheme for Bay Area creeks and rivers that are managed for flood conveyance (i.e., flood control channels). Focused primarily within Sonoma and Santa Clara Counties, this pilot effort investigates relationships between local stream health indicators and flood control channel composition and management activities.

California Aquatic Resource Inventory (CARI) (Project)

The California Aquatic Resources Inventory (CARI) is a Geographic Information System (GIS) based map of wetlands, streams, and riparian areas within California that is hosted online through EcoAtlas.

Russian River Watershed Projects at the San Francisco Estuary Institute (Project)

Our projects in the Russian River Watershed help us to understand our past, understand our present, and envision our future. Learn more about what SFEI is doing in partnership with others to advance our scientific understanding of this valuable landscape.

Sediment for Survival report released (News)

SFEI worked with local, state, and federal science experts to develop the new Sediment for Survival report. The 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.

Sediment for Survival (Project)

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.

Coastal Wetlands, Beaches and Watersheds Inventory (Project)

The Ocean Protection Council (OPC) and SFEI will develop an inventory of the wetlands and other surface waters of all California’s coastal HUC-8 watersheds,  including the inland Delta of the San Francisco Estuary, to help implement the OPC’s 2020-2025 Strategic Plan.  The inventory will include a dashboard and other online tools that enable the OPC and the public to track progress toward multiple OPC strategic targets, and to more generally summarize information about the current distribution, abundance, diversity, and condition of sur

Wetlands Regional Monitoring Project (Project)

This Prop 50 - funded project was a three-year effort to monitor and track changes in Bay Area wetland condition. This wetland monitoring toolkit meets basic information needs for managing wetlands: to develop a scientific framework with standard methods for monitoring wetlands and for interpreting the results, and to regularly report the findings to the public. These monitoring tools are intended to help provide a public measure of the environmental costs or benefits of most wetland management actions.

Coordinated Mapping: How various efforts can work together (News)

SFEI is coordinating the mapping for two inventories of surface waters, wetlands and other aquatic resources in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta and along California’s coast. Both efforts will apply the California Aquatic Resource Inventory (CARI) standardized mapping methods and the final map will be integrated into EcoAtlas and made publicly available.

Delta Aquatic Resource Inventory (Project)

DARI is the Delta Aquatic Resources Inventory of surface waters, wetlands and other aquatic resources in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta (Delta). The goal of the DARI project is to develop a geospatial inventory of aquatic resources that will be used as a common base map for the Delta. A similar mapping approach used to create the California Aquatic Resource Inventory (CARI) will be applied to provide a map of the aquatic resources and their associated attributes.

Baylands Ecosystem Habitat Goals Project (Project)

SFEI's Letitia Grenier served as lead scientist of the Baylands Ecosystem Habitat Goals Project, which yielded a report called The Baylands and Climate Change: What We Can Do. The report is an update to the 1999 Baylands Ecosystem Habitat Goals, which for the first time set comprehensive restoration goals for the San Francisco Bay estuary. Produced by a collaborative of 21 management agencies working with a multi-disciplinary team of over 100 scientists, it synthesizes the latest science—particularly advances in the understanding of climate change and sediment supply—and incorporates projected changes through 2100 to generate new recommendations for achieving and sustaining healthy baylands ecosystems.

Coyote Creek Native Ecosystem Enhancement Tool (Project)

The Coyote Creek Native Ecosystem Enhancement Tool (CCNEET, neet. ecoatlas.org) is an online decision-support tool to identify opportunities to improve ecological conditions. CCNEET was inspired by the need for a watershed approach to environmental resource management. Available ecological and environmental information is synthesized by objectives, management questions, and enhancement actions to identify and justify potential habitat improvements along the creek corridor. The overarching goal of CCNEET is to help coordinate habitat conservation and enhancement along so that multiple projects and limited funding can result in meaningful ecological improvement.

South Baylands Mercury Project (SBMP) (Project)

We have developed biosentinel species indicators for wetlands to help the SBMP management team make decisions relative to mercury risk about where and how to restore salt ponds to wetlands. 2008 was the third and last year of a project to characterize and monitor bio-available mercury and its uptake into local food webs of the South Bay managed ponds and intertidal habitats, focusing initially on Pond A8 and Alviso Slough. Results indicated that this approach can be used to guide management decisions about wetlands restoration locations.

Head of Tide (Project)

SFEI completed a pilot study focused on creating a framework for a rapid protocol that can be used to delineate the current and future head of tide zone for San Francisco Bay tributaries using both “desktop” and field investigations.

SF Estuary Wetlands Regional Program Plan Released! (News)

The Wetland Regional Monitoring Program (WRMP) Plan has been released! The WRMP will improve wetland restoration project success by putting in place regional-scale monitoring increasing the impact, utility and application of permit-driven monitoring to inform science-based decision-making.

RipZET: A GIS-based Tool for Estimating Riparian Zones (Project)

The Riparian Zone Estimator Tool (RipZET) is a decision support tool developed by the San Francisco Estuary Institute and Aquatic Science Center for the California Riparian Habitat Joint Venture and the California Water Resources Control Board to assist in the visualization and characterization of riparian areas in the watershed context.

Visualizing and Sharing Intensive Data Assessments (Project)

With California's drought rapidly changing the outlook for natural resources, decision-makers must be equipped with information and tools that facilitate clear and rapid decisions. The proposed grant would fund the standardization, visualization, and sharing of Level 3 data. 

North Bay Mercury Biosentinel Monitoring (Project)

In 2011-2014 SFEI and UC Davis developed and implemented a multi-species biosentinel monitoring approach as an effective and efficient way of monitoring methylmercury exposure in wetland restoration projects across the North Bay. The monitoring design for this project was developed with input from a Science Advisory Group (SAG) of regional and national experts and input from local stakeholders, in order to build a design that would address questions of management concern.

Montezuma Technical Review Team (Project)

The Montezuma wetland restoration project is returning ~2,000 acres of diked baylands to tidal, seasonal, and managed wetlands in an eastern portion of Suisun Bay near the town of Collinsville, California in Solano County.

Statewide Wetland Tracking, Science, and Policy Development Support (Project)

SFEI’s Wetland Science Focus Area’s Director, Josh Collins, is a leader in the coordination of statewide science advisory teams and acquiring funding to develop monitoring and assessment tools that support the State’s Wetland and Riparian Area Protection Policy.