Letitia Grenier's picture

J. Letitia Grenier, PhD

Program Director
Senior Scientist
Resilient Landscapes Program
510-746-7342

Letitia Grenier co-directs SFEI's Resilient Landscapes Program. She is the science lead for the 2015 State of the Estuary Report (a SF Estuary Partnership project) and the 2015 update to the Baylands Ecosystem Habitat Goals (a California Coastal Conservancy project), heading a team of over 200 environmental scientists, managers, and regulators to develop science­ based recommendations for restoring and maintaining the health the Bay's tidal wetlands in the face of rising sea levels and other stressors. Letitia holds a PhD in Conservation Biology from the University of California at Berkeley and has previously worked on investigating bioaccumulation of contaminants in estuarine food webs, the condition of California’s wetlands, and other ecological questions about the Bay and Delta. Her focus now is to work with partners to conserve California's living resources by developing landscape-­scale, collaborative, science ­based visions and solutions.

Related Projects, News, and Events

Delta Landscapes Project (Project)

The Delta Landscapes Project, which began in 2012 and will run through 2016, has developed a body of work to inform landscape-scale restoration of the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta ecosystem.

Delta Landscapes Primary Production (Project)

Primary Production, the amount of tissue generated by photosynthetic organisms (e.g., plants and algae) over time, forms the basis of food webs. The Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta has unusually low primary productivity relative to other estuaries (Cloern et al. 2014, Jassby et al. 2002). Food availability has been identified as one contributor to the multi-stressor problem of pelagic organism decline in the Delta (Baxter et al. 2010).  But, the constraints on primary production and the relative importance of different production sources to the food web are major uncertainties in this system. Landscape configuration and hydrodynamics are major drivers of primary production dynamics, and understanding how the extensive historical changes in the Delta’s landscape have altered the system’s potential for supporting wildlife and human populations can inform restoration planning and management across the region. Investigating basics about primary production in the Delta can guide us towards better restoration and management decisions.

Building Cities to Better Support Biodiversity (News)

Erica Spotswood and a team of other SFEI scientists have developed a framework outlining the key elements for supporting biodiversity in urban environments. 

logo created for the San Francisco Estuary Partnership by SFEI

SFEI Provides Science Leadership and Support for State of the Estuary Report and Conference (News)

The San Francisco Estuary Partnership (SFEP) brings together the estuarine community every two years at the State of the Estuary Conference and, periodically, SFEP also reports on the State of the Estuary, summarizing the latest scientific findings about ecosystem health. This State of the Estuary Report is the only place where a holistic view of ecosystem function is provided across both the Bay and the Delta. This year, SFEI provided scientific leadership and technical support for the report, which focuses on the ties between social and ecological resilience for our estuary.

Making Nature's City (Project)

Cities will face many challenges over the coming decades, from adapting to a changing climate to accommodating rapid population growth. A related suite of challenges threatens global biodiversity, resulting in many species facing extinction. While urban planners and conservationists have long treated these issues as distinct, there is growing evidence that cities not only harbor a significant fraction of the world’s biodiversity, but also that they can also be made more livable and resilient for people, plants, and animals through nature-friendly urban design. 

Photo Credits: Micha Salomon (L), Dee Shea Himes (R)

Healthy Watersheds Resilient Baylands (Project)

Through the Healthy Watersheds Resilient Baylands project, SFEI and sixteen partner organizations is developing multi-benefit tools to enhance climate change resilience in San Francisco Bay. Healthy Watersheds Resilient Baylands has three major components: Making Nature’s City: a Science-based Framework for Building Urban Biodiversity, Tidal Wetlands Restoration and Implementation Projects.

Resilient Silicon Valley (Project)

Drawing on resilience science, regional data, and local expertise, we will develop the vision and tools that will allow stakeholders in the region ensure that local actions contribute toward the creation of a high-functioning and resilient Silicon Valley ecosystem.

New paper: Building resilience in highly modified California landscapes (News)

SFEI has released a new paper in the journal BioScience, "Building ecological resilience in highly modified landscapes." The paper, led by Erin Beller of the Resilient Landscapes team in collaboration with a group of international ecologists, presents a new framework for applying ecological resilience science to landscape-scale management, with examples from SFEI's work in urban and agricultural California landscapes.

SFEI is working with the Santa Clara Valley Water District to develop multi-benefit management tools (News)

In 2014, SFEI and the Santa Valley Water District launched a collaborative partnership aimed at sharing experience, knowledge and resources, and working toward a shared vision of watershed management. Through this partnership, the District has asked SFEI to develop a set of online tools to: 1) identify opportunities for multi-benefit management actions in and along the channels managed by the District; and 2) track the impacts of those actions towards meeting established management targets.

Investigating the future of sediment in the San Francisco Bay (News)

SFEI scientists are currently working with regional partners and science advisors to assess the future sediment supply to the Bay and how that compares to the sediment needed for baylands to survive sea-level rise. Currently, baylands (tidal marshes and mudflats) are receiving enough sediment to keep pace with sea-level rise. However, sea-level rise is expected to accelerate in the coming decades, which could cause baylands to drown unless they get more sediment.

State of the Estuary Conference on Twitter (Event)

In an event convened by the San Francisco Estuary Partnership, SFEI contributed its own intellectual labor to the State of the Estuary Conference. Letitia Grenier served as the lead scientist for the State of the Estuary Report, unveiled at the gathering, and SFEI's scientists and technologists were featured prominently in the program on subjects ranging from nutrients to landscape resilience to green infrastructure to data and tools. By all measures, it was a successful conference.

Resilient By Design: Science Advisors (Project)

The challenges of accelerating sea level rise and aging shoreline infrastructure are creating a once-in-a-century opportunity to redesign the Bay shore. Originally constructed with little regard for the Bay, the future shoreline can more successfully integrate the natural and built environments to make a healthier shore for both the Bay and local communities. New shoreline design approaches must incorporate the complex ecological and physical processes of our urbanized estuary while anticipating the future challenges of climate change and extreme weather.

Petaluma Valley Historical Hydrology and Ecology Study (Project)

This project reconstructs the historical hydrology and ecology of the Petaluma River watershed prior to major Euro-American modification. It demonstrates the efficacy of historical hydrology and ecology in identifying and prioritizing multi-benefit restoration opportunities.

SFEI and Google share Award for Re-Oaking (News)

SFEI and Google have won the Arnold Soforenko Award from the non-profit Canopy for significant contributions to the urban forest. The award is for our work on Re-Oaking Silicon Valley: Building Vibrant Cities with Nature.

The award ceremony was held at Palo Alto City Hall on January 25, 2018.

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.

Photo credit: Kingmond Young

Flood Control 2.0 Wins an Outstanding Environmental Project Award! (News)

The Flood Control 2.0 project team was presented with an Outstanding Environmental Project Award at the 13th Biennial State of the Estuary Conference in Oakland, CA. The award is given by the Friends of the San Francisco Estuary to projects that benefit the San Francisco-Bay Delta Estuary and its watersheds.

Understanding Change in Primary Production at a Landscape Scale in the Delta (Project)

Constraints on primary production and the relative importance of different production sources to the food web remain major uncertainties in the Delta ecosystem. Newly available spatial data developed as part of the Delta Historical Ecology and Delta Landscapes projects make it possible to explore the effects of landscape configuration and hydrodynamics on primary production in a way that was not previously possible. Proposed order-of-magnitude calculations estimating primary production can ‘bookend’ the potential magnitude of production in the Delta, and inform what is possible in terms of restoration and management options.

Science Support for Resilient By Design Competition (News)

The challenges of accelerating sea level rise and aging shoreline infrastructure are creating a once-in-a-century opportunity to redesign the Bay shore. Originally constructed with little regard for the Bay, the future shoreline can more successfully integrate the natural and built environments to make a healthier shore for both the Bay and local communities. New shoreline design approaches must incorporate the complex ecological and physical processes of our urbanized estuary while anticipating the future challenges of climate change and extreme weather.

Photo by Shira Bezalel

Re-Oaking (Project)

“Re-Oaking” is an approach to reintegrating oaks and other native trees within the developed California landscape to provide a range of ecosystem services. The concept has emerged from SFEI's research into the distribution and characteristics of California's former valley oak savannas -- a distinctive, widespread habitat that was mostly lost a century ago. Now valley oaks and other native trees are being recognized for the benefits they did -- and could again – provide, as communities design the ecologically healthy and resilient landscapes of the future.

Announcing the release of Re-Oaking Silicon Valley: Building Vibrant Cities with Nature (News)

Could restoring lost ecosystems to cities play a role in building ecological resilience across landscapes? In Re-oaking Silicon Valley, a new report by SFEI, we explore this opportunity in our region. Both beautiful and functional, native oaks can be excellent choices for streetscapes, backyards, and landscaping. Requiring little water after establishment, oaks can save money by reducing irrigation requirements while sequestering more carbon than most other urban trees common to our region.