Ellen Plane's picture

Ellen Plane

Environmental Scientist
Design and Communications
Resilient Landscapes Program
Shoreline Resilience

Ellen Plane joined SFEI’s Resilient Landscapes program as an Environmental Analyst in 2019. Ellen is primarily involved in sea-level rise and shoreline resilience work at SFEI. Areas of focus include nature-based shoreline adaptation strategies, tidal habitat restoration, rising groundwater, and collaborative adaptation planning. Ellen is experienced in geospatial analysis, cartography, and graphic design. She holds a BA in ecology from Dartmouth College and Master of City Planning and Master of Landscape Architecture in Environmental Planning degrees from the University of California at Berkeley. Her graduate studies included investigating the impacts of sea-level rise on shallow coastal groundwater and exploring ways to finance shoreline adaptation in the San Francisco Bay Area. Prior to joining SFEI, Ellen worked in Natural Resource Damage Assessment and Restoration at a Boston-area environmental consulting firm and on climate change adaptation at Golden Gate National Recreation Area.

Related Projects, News, and Events

Landscape Scenario Planning Tool (Project)

This project is a tool for planning scenarios of landscape-scale restoration. The tool is designed to inform ongoing and future restoration planning efforts. In particular, this tool will help inform implementation of restoration objectives as described in the Delta Plan, as well as the ongoing Ecosystem Amendment to Chapter 4.

Sunset Natural Resilience Project (Project)

The Sunset Natural Resilience Project (SNRP) consists of six individual but related projects to increase the ability of human and natural communities to adapt to and prepare for the impacts of climate change. The projects will further the biodiversity goals of the City of San Francisco while making a dense urban environment a more livable and enjoyable space. San Francisco Estuary Institute (SFEI), will support the development of each individual project in coordination with project partners.

Leveraging Wetlands for a Better Climate Future (Project)

In order to support broader inclusion of blue carbon in the California Air Resources Board (CARB) Climate Change Scoping Plan, this short report provides an overview of available coastal wetland datasets, methods, and scenario planning considerations. This report offers information and guidance on wetland mapping resources, greenhouse gas (GHG) and carbon accumulation data, and considerations regarding wetland vulnerability and resilience to sea-level rise, as well as specific suggestions for Scoping Plan scenarios.

Introducing the Landscape Scenario Planning Tool Version 2.0 (News)

In partnership with the Delta Stewardship Council, the San Francisco Estuary Institute has developed version 2.0 of the Landscape Scenario Planning Tool, a GIS-based analysis toolkit to evaluate user-designed land use and restoration scenarios for the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta and Suisun Marsh. This free mapping toolbox brings together ten years of science-based research and peer-reviewed methods for California’s Delta-Suisun region. 

Shallow Groundwater Response to Sea Level Rise (Project)

As sea levels rise and extreme storms become more frequent, communities are developing climate adaptation plans to protect housing, jobs, ecosystems, and infrastructure from flooding. However, these plans often neglect an important potential flood hazard – emergent groundwater. Shallow groundwater in coastal communities will rise as sea levels rise, increasing the risk of flooding communities from below. The threat of rising groundwater levels was identified by the Coastal Hazards Adaptation and Resiliency Group as a critical data gap in regional climate resilience planning.

Sunnyvale Shoreline Resilience Vision (Project)

The Sunnyvale Shoreline Resilience Vision is an ongoing collaborative effort between a group of organizations deeply invested in long term regional resilience and interested in coordinating across their individual planning efforts. Members of the group are landowners and land managers along the San Francisco Bay shoreline from Stevens Creek to San Tomas Aquino Creek, the “Sunnyvale Shoreline.” The group is focused on adaptation efforts to address climate change risks including sea-level rise, extreme precipitation, and extreme heat.

Preparing for the Storm (Project)

Catalyzed by the extensive damages caused by the Winter 2016-2017 storms and the opportunity to align flood response with major habitat improvement, Preparing for the Storm is an innovative public-private partnership to improve watershed health and resilience in the Alameda Creek watershed.

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.

New Life for Eroding Shorelines (Project)

The New Life for Eroding Shorelines project explores living shoreline approaches for sea level rise adaptation that can reduce erosion at the marsh edge and improve habitat quality for marsh species. Solutions explored include reestablishing marsh-fringing barrier beaches to attenuate waves at the marsh edge and reintroducing California Sea Blite (Suaeda californica), a rare and endangered plant with the ability to climb driftwood and other shoreline features, providing much-needed high-tide refuge for marsh wildlife.

Special Study on Bulk Density (Project)

Sediment bulk density is the total mass of mineral and organic sediment within a defined volume. It is a key variable in many research questions pertaining to Bay sediment studies but one that is often poorly quantified and can be misinterpreted. The motivation for this report comes from a recommendation by Schoellhamer et al. (2018) to compile more accurate estimates of bulk density of Bay sediments to convert between volume and mass with a higher level of certainty.

Sonoma Creek Baylands Strategy (Project)

The Sonoma Creek Baylands Strategy is a comprehensive high-level plan for landscape-scale restoration, flood protection, and public access in the tidal Lower Sonoma Creek portion of the San Pablo Baylands. 

The Strategy: