Ruth Askevold's picture

Ruth Askevold, MS

Design Manager
Design and Communications
Resilient Landscapes Program
510-746-7341

Ruth Askevold is Design Manager at the San Francisco Estuary Institute. She has over twenty years of experience in geographic information systems, remote sensing, and cartography. Her experience includes project management, spatial analysis, and information design. Ruth is also trained in graphic and cartographic design, working as a senior designer for Lonely Planet Publications. She is experienced in using historical maps and photographs to assist in visualizing the past, and designs historical ecology publications and educational material at SFEI. She has provided consultation and developed exhibit content for the Exploratorium and the Oakland Museum of California. She received her master's degree from San Francisco State University in Geography and Human Environmental Studies, where she specialized in geographic information systems and historical geography.

Related Projects, News, and Events

Next Generation Urban Greening (Project)

SFEI is working with partners across the Bay Area to design tools to help cities achieve biodiversity, stormwater, and climate benefits through multifunctional green infrastructure.

Ecology for Health (Project)

The Ecology for Health guide is based on an extensive review of ecological literature on the potential of cities to support native plants and wildlife, as well as research exploring the health benefits of access to biodiverse greenspace. Anyone making decisions about land use and urban design in cities across the world can benefit from the recommendations in this guide (including community-based organizations, local non-profits, local leaders and policymakers, city planners, urban designers, landscape architects, engineers, gardeners/horticulturists/arborists, residents, and landowners). 

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.

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. 

Laguna de Santa Rosa Master Restoration Plan (Project)

The Laguna de Santa Rosa is an expansive freshwater wetland complex that hosts a rich diversity of plant and wildlife species, and is also home to a thriving agricultural community. Since the mid-19th century, modifications to the Laguna and its surrounding landscape have degraded habitat conditions for both wildlife and people.

Restoration Plan for the Laguna de Santa Rosa Completed! (News)

SFEI completed a Restoration Plan for the Laguna de Santa Rosa in the Russian River watershed. SFEI, Sonoma Water, and the Laguna de Santa Rosa Foundation worked with technical advisors, stakeholders, tribal representatives, and local landowners to develop the Restoration Plan that provides a restoration planning framework and conceptual designs for  multi-benefit habitat restoration projects that support people and wildlife.

Recently completed “Sycamore Alluvial Woodland Restoration and Enhancement Suitability Study” (News)

The “Sycamore Alluvial Woodland Restoration and Enhancement Suitability Study” addresses distribution and regeneration patterns and restoration strategies of sycamore alluvial woodland (SAW) habitat, a unique and relatively rare native vegetation community adapted to California’s intermittent rivers and streams. The report was produced by SFEI and H. T.

Managing Open Space in Support of Net Zero (Project)

Protecting carbon stocks and increasing carbon sequestration can support climate change mitigation and maintain healthy, resilient ecosystems. To support SFPUC managers in making informed carbon management decisions, the Alameda Watershed Carbon Assessment offers scientific guidance on the watershed’s current and potential performance as a natural climate solution. This assessment was framed by two main objectives: to quantify current carbon stocks in the Alameda Watershed, and to evaluate opportunities to enhance carbon sequestration in its vegetation and soils.

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.

Delta Wetlands and Resilience: Blue Carbon and Marsh Accretion (Project)

Restoring wetlands in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta (Delta) can mitigate subsidence, sequester carbon, reduce GHG emissions, and provide habitat for wetland dependent species. These benefits–their magnitude, scope, and resilience to future sea level rise–depend on the type and siting of new wetlands; rates of carbon accumulation, GHG emissions, and vertical accretion; and opportunities for wetlands to migrate upslope.

Making Nature’s City Toolkit (Project)

In partnership with the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Urban Alliance, the San Francisco Estuary Institute (SFEI) has developed the Making Nature’s City Toolkit

Healthy Watersheds Resilient Baylands (Project)

Through the EPA-funded Healthy Watersheds Resilient Baylands project, SFEI and sixteen partner organizations are developing multi-benefit tools to enhance climate change resilience in San Francisco Bay. Healthy Watersheds Resilient Baylands has two major components: Multi-benefit Urban Greening and Tidal Wetlands Restoration. Through both components, we have developed strategies that inform  policy, planning, and design of innovative implementation projects.

Introducing the Making Nature's City Toolkit (News)

Making Nature’s City Toolkit (makingnaturescity.org) is an interactive, beautifully designed website that guides cities through an actionable, science-based approach to support biodiversity in cities. Based on SFEI’s 2019 report titled Making Nature’s City, the Toolkit is intended to make the report’s core urban biodiversity framework more accessible to actors and decision-makers in cities across the world. 

Ventura County Historical Ecology Study (Project)

This project investigated the historical ecological patterns and hydrological dynamics of most of lowland Ventura County.

RMP Update (Project)

The Regional Monitoring Program for Water Quality in San Francisco Bay is an innovative collaboration of the San Francisco Bay Regional Water Quality Control Board, the regulated discharger community, and the San Francisco Estuary Institute. It provides water quality regulators with the information they need to manage the Bay effectively. The RMP produces two types of summary reports: The Pulse of the Bay and the RMP Update. The Pulse focuses on Bay water quality and summarizes information from all sources.

Ecological Horticulture at the Presidio (Project)

Look at any urban landscape in the Bay Area and the imprint of horticulture can be readily seen: plants bred to grow well in urban conditions, to require little maintenance, and to fulfill a design aesthetic. While these plants are a triumph of the success of plant propagation, they often have little connection to local ecosystems, and they do not necessarily yield the best support for native biodiversity.

East Contra Costa County Historical Ecology Study (Project)

SFEI conducted a historical ecology assessment of natural resources in East Contra Costa County in partnership with Contra Costa County and the Contra Costa Watershed Forum. Through the study, SFEI collected and analyzed data to build understanding of the historical alignments of creeks, the natural pattern of riparian and dryland habitat types, and the locations of former seasonal and perennial wetlands.

Alameda Creek Historical Ecology Study (Project)

The Alameda Creek Historical Ecology Study assesses watershed conditions prior to significant Euro-American modification, as a basis for understanding subsequent changes in watershed structure and function, and potential options for future environmental management. The geographic focus is the floodplains, valleys, and alluvial plains adjacent to Alameda Creek (to the diversion dam) and its tributaries. This includes the Livermore and Amador valleys, Sunol Valley and Niles Canyon, and the Niles cone and adjoining baylands. A pilot portion of the project also focuses on documenting landscape changes in the uplands of the San Antonio Creek watershed.

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.

Trees, Hydrology, Urban-Greening, and Nature-Based Solutions (News)

Two key reports support nature-based solutions. Green stormwater infrastructure (GSI) and enhancements to the urban tree canopy offer benefits to stormwater management, urban ecological improvements, and complementary urban greening activities.

On KGO TV, these projects were featured on July 1, 2021.