Alison Whipple's picture

Alison Whipple, PhD

Environmental Scientist
Resilient Landscapes Program
Delta Science & Management
Watershed Science & Management
(510) 255-1506

Alison Whipple is an environmental scientist in the Resilient Landscapes program at the San Francisco Estuary Institute, with an interdisciplinary background in hydrologic sciences, floodplain restoration, landscape ecology, and climate change. Her work is motivated by the need to support diverse and productive ecosystems in a highly altered and changing world through science-informed land and water management. She completed her PhD in Hydrologic Sciences from the University of California at Davis in 2018, and her research addressed hydrologic and floodplain inundation regime characterization, hydrodynamic modeling, and spatial analysis to understand restoration potential. She worked with the San Francisco Estuary Institute prior to graduate school, focused on historical ecology of the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta. She receved her MS and BS from Stanford University in Earth Systems, with her thesis on low-flow characteristics of small coastal watershed streams of Northern California.

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.

Coyote Creek Native Ecosystem Enhancement Tool (Project)

The Coyote Creek Native Ecosystem Enhancement Tool (CCNEET, neet. 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.

Salmon Habitat Quantification Development (Project)

The Chinook salmon habitat quantification tool is a science-based approach for use by restoration planners to evaluate existing or potential habitat across spatially- and temporally-variable floodplain inundation conditions in the process of planning, designing, and implementing restoration and management activities.

Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta Historical Ecology Study (Project)

The San Francisco Estuary Institute-Aquatic Science Center, in collaboration with the California Department of Fish and Game, has completed a historical ecology study of the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta. The project improves understanding of what the Delta looked like and how it functioned prior to the significant modification that has occurred over the last 160 years.

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.

Delta Salmon Rearing (Project)

The objective of this project is to summarize existing research and knowledge around suitable rearing habitat for Chinook salmon in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta; identify areas of suitability for rearing salmon using a combined suitability analysis of four mapped habitat parameters; and to provide recommendations for types of restoration needed to improve or restore rearing habitat, as well as to identify where in the Delta these restoration efforts could be prioritized.

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.

KQED QUEST Highlights Delta Historical Ecology Study (News)


As detective stories go, this sunny, spring day in the Delta isn't a typical backdrop. In the distance, tractors move slowly through dry fields of row crops.

"Once he got lost, they were wandering all over," says Alison Whipple of the San Francisco Estuary Institute, a non-profit research group based in Richmond. Her colleague, Robin Grossinger, agrees. "They were all over this place." The two are trying to piece together the path of William Wright, a man who got hopelessly lost somewhere nearby.

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.