Letitia Grenier's picture

J. Letitia Grenier, PhD

Program Director
Senior Scientist
Resilient Landscapes Program
Delta Science & Management
Terrestrial Ecology
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.

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. 

Mercury News: Earth Day after 50 Years - Still Plenty of Challenges (News)

SFEI's Letitia Grenier appears in a San Jose Mercury News article by Paul Rogers, describing the 50th anniversary of Earth Day and the challenges we still face: "After generations of filling and paving, by 1970 there were only about 35,000 acres of tidal marsh left around San Francisco Bay. Today restoration projects have increased that to 53,000 acres, with plans underway to restore another 21,000 acres, said Letitia Grenier, a senior scientist with the San Francisco Estuary Institute. The eventual goal is to get to 100,000 acres — roughly half the total from 200 years ago — for fish, birds, human recreation and a much cheaper form of flood control than building concrete walls."

Care in the Time of Corona (News)

We offer you a simple tool that we created for our 75-person “work community” to help each other that yours might also find helpful. This is a mapping tool, which we call Care in the Time of Corona. It helps us locate and efficiently provide the support that our SFEI staff might offer one another. Quite simply, it facilitates assistance within our organization so that people can help their colleagues deal with challenges of this unprecedented situation. The errands, food, medicine, or even compassionate discussion they need can be addressed through a convenient and filterable map. We hope this guidance and the spirit behind it will help support your community and sustain a sense of well-being as we meet this challenge head on together.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

Flood Control 2.0 Completed! (News)

SFEI and several agency partners recently completed a multi-year, EPA funded project called Flood Control 2.0. The goal of the project was to develop information that is useful for integrating habitat restoration into flood management at the Bay edge. Project outputs are now available at floodcontrol.sfei.org.

A multi-partner project to create placed-based sea-level rise adaptation strategies (News)

As sea level rise accelerates in the San Francisco Bay, scientists, planners, and decision makers will need to re-envision and adapt our complex shoreline to provide ecological and social resilience. Although there are many efforts currently underway in the region to assess climate change vulnerabilities, the region lacks a coherent science-based framework for guiding and evaluating climate adaptation strategies appropriate to our diverse shoreline settings.

Lower Walnut Creek Vision Just Released! (News)

SFEI recently released a resilient landscape vision for lower Walnut Creek that incorporates habitat restoration actions into flood risk management. The vision, developed in coordination with a team of regional science experts, highlights opportunities for restoring and sustaining vital tidal wetland habitats around lower Walnut Creek while supporting a high level of flood protection under rising San Francisco Bay water levels.

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.

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.

City Visions on KALW: How the Bay Area is Tackling the Threat of Sea Level Rise (Event)

Join the conversation as host Ethan Elkind and guests discuss new reports indicating that sea levels may be rising at a faster pace than predicted.  Are popular destinations like the Ferry Building and essential infrastructure like the airport in danger of flooding?  What parts of the Bay Area are at the greatest risk, and what is being done to protect against the dangers posed by accelerated sea level rise?

Editorial in SF Chronicle: Work to save San Francisco Bay only just begun (News)

The San Francisco Chronicle features SFEI and Senior Scientist Letitia Grenier in their latest editorial advocating for renewed attention on SF Bay restoration. The editorial staff argues that the Baylands Goals provides a solid roadmap to guide restoration of the Bay's habitats and critical processes.

The Baylands and Climate Change (Event)

Matt Gerhart of the California Coastal Conservancy and Letitia Grenier of SFEI will be speaking at the SPUR Urban Center about the Baylands Goals and the implications for restoration in the face of climate change. How do we use natural features and natural processes to offer greater protection against rapid climatic changes and sea-level rise? This new report sheds some light on this critical subject:

KQED Forum: Bay Area Infrastructure, Communities at Risk Without Wetlands Restoration (News)

On KQED Forum, Michael Krasny interviewed SFEI's Letitia Grenier and the State Coastal Conservancy's Sam Schuchat about the release of the new Science Update Report and its findings regarding the urgency to restore wetlands in advance of accelerating sea-level rise. As offered on KQED's website, "the new report reveals that 42,000 acres of wetlands in the Bay Area must be restored over the next 15 years to mitigate the effects of climate change. Rising sea levels, swelling tides and strong storms threaten billions of dollars worth of businesses, homes and infrastructure."