Erin Beller's picture

Erin Beller

Environmental Scientist
Resilient Landscapes Program
510-746-7301

Erin Beller joined SFEI's Resilient Landscapes team as a historical ecologist in 2006. Her work focuses on documenting how California landscapes and ecosystems have changed over time, and using this information to guide the development of landscape-scale restoration and management strategies across the state. Erin received her B.S. in Geological and Environmental Sciences from Stanford University, where her studies emphasized landscape evolution and environmental history of the Western U.S. Prior to joining SFEI, Erin worked with a statewide environmental nonprofit on water and land use issues, and conducted architectural history research for the History, Architecture, and Landscapes branch of Yosemite National Park.

Related Projects, News, and Events

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.

SFEI Scientists collaborate on Building Resilience paper (News)

Erin Beller led the effort to publish this article in BioScience. This important collaborative effort outlines seven important dimensions to consider when attempting ecological restoration in highly modified urban and agricultural landscapes.

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.

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.

Photo courtesy of Canopy.org

SFEI partner Canopy plants oaks in East Palo Alto (News)

On Martin Luther King day, 170 volunteers came out to help plant oaks and other native landscaping at the St. Francis Assisi church in East Palo Alto. With guidance from SFEI, and funded through the Healthy Watersheds, Resilient Baylands project, the planting highlights the partnership between SFEI and the non-profit urban forestry group Canopy, based in Palo Alto.

Photo Courtesy of the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission

Peninsula Watershed Historical Ecology Study (Project)

The Peninsula Watershed, located in San Mateo County on the San Francisco Peninsula, is the site of three of the Bay Area’s largest reservoirs—San Andreas, Upper and Lower Crystal Springs, and Pilarcitos—which provide drinking water for residents throughout region. Encompassing the upper portions of San Mateo Creek and Pilarcitos Creek watersheds, the “Peninsula Watershed” also supports some of the largest intact remnants of contiguous habitat in the region, including extensive oak woodlands, old-growth Douglas Fir forests, serpentine grasslands, and chaparral.

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.

Historical Ecology and Landscape Change in the Central Laguna de Santa Rosa (Project)

This study synthesizes a diverse array of data to examine the ecological patterns, ecosystem functions, and hydrology that characterized a central portion of the Laguna de Santa Rosa during the mid-19th century, and to analyze landscape changes over the past 150 years. The primary purpose of this study was to help guide restoration actions and other measures aimed at reducing nutrient loads within this portion of the Laguna de Santa Rosa watershed.

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Announcing SFEI's first binational study: The Tijuana River Valley Historical Ecology Investigation (News)

A new report shows how the Tijuana River Valley, which straddles the boundary between Southern California and northern Mexico, looked and functioned prior to the existence of the border wall, the city of Tijuana, and the state of California.

Tijuana River Valley Historical Ecology Investigation Published (News)

The Tijuana River Valley Historical Ecology Investigation—completed in January 2017—synthesized hundreds of historical maps, photographs, and texts to reconstruct the ecological, hydrological, and geomorphic conditions of the Tijuana River valley prior to major European-American landscape modification.

SFEI work on Landscape Resilience and Urban Biodiversity featured in Google Blog and Fast Company Story (News)

Our partnership with Google to enhance the ecological resilience of urban landscapes is featured in a story by Fast Company, a Google Blog post, and an accompanying video.

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Tijuana River Valley Historical Ecology Investigation (Project)

The Tijuana River Valley Historical Ecology Investigation synthesized hundreds of historical maps, photographs, and texts to reconstruct the the ecological, hydrological, and geomorphic conditions of the valley prior to major European-American landscape modification.

Flood Control 2.0 (Project)

Flood Control 2.0 is an ambitious regional effort aimed at helping restore stream and wetland habitats, water quality, and shoreline resilience around San Francisco Bay. The project leverages local resources from several forward-looking flood control agencies to redesign major flood control channels so that they provide both future flood conveyance and ecological benefit under a changing climate. This timely project will develop a set of innovative approaches for bringing environmental benefits and cost-savings to flood protection efforts at the mouths of creeks that drain to San Francisco Bay.

Institute's Historical Ecology featured in the New York Times (News)

New York (January 25, 2016) – In today's New York Times, the San Francisco Estuary Institute and its scientists from the Resilient Landscapes program inspired the newspaper's broad readership to look back in time to see a clearer future.

U.S. Coast Survey. San Diego Bay, California. 1857.
Courtesy of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

How to “ReWild” San Diego’s Mission Bay (News)

SFEI's Resilient Landscape Program recently completed a "reconnaissance" historical ecology study of San Diego's Mission Bay. This targeted project collected high-priority historical data (such as maps, photographs, and texts) that shed light on how Mission Bay and the surrounding region looked and functioned prior to major landscape modification during the 19th and 20th centuries.

Mission Bay Historical Ecology Reconnaissance Study (Project)

The Mission Bay Historical Ecology Reconnaissance Study, completed in February of 2016, collected and organized data on the historical conditions of Mission Bay in San Diego County. The project was carried out in support of San Diego Audubon Society's ReWild Mission Bay project, a three-year planning effort exploring options to restoring wetlands in the northeast corner of the estuary.

South Santa Clara Valley Historical Ecology Study (Project)

This study assesses historical conditions and landscape change in the southern part of the Santa Clara Valley. It is designed to inform strategies for natural flood protection, habitat conservation and restoration, and other management challenges.

North San Diego County Lagoons Historical Ecology Study (Project)

The Northern San Diego County Lagoons Historical Ecology Investigation draws on hundreds of historical documents to analyze and reconstruct historical landscape conditions for six northern San Diego County estuaries prior to the major modifications of the late 19th and 20th centuries.

Historical Tidal-Terrestrial Transition Zone in South SF Bay (Project)

First there was the great salt marsh, with all its winding sloughs and creeks, covered with samphire grass [Salicornia] and tufts of Grindelia; next was a line of natural salt pan; next again was a strip of land of varying width, from a few hundred yards to one fourth mile, with a short wiry hard grass [Distichlis]… (Beardsley, in Cooper 1926)