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. Climate change may also result in more large winter storms in the region, which could cause more sediment to get to baylands than they currently receive. The analyses within this effort will focus on scenarios that consider varying degrees of climate change, land use change, and restored bayland area to develop a likely range of future bayland sediment supply-sediment demand ratios around the Bay. The outcomes will help managers and restoration practitioners identify areas where natural sediment processes may not be enough to support baylands in the future. Initial findings were recently presented at the 2018 Bay Delta Science Conference in Sacramento.
This work is an element of an EPA-funded project called Healthy Watersheds, Resilient Baylands. The project seeks to help reestablish landscape functions by working with nature to improve water quality, create habitat, provide flood protection to threatened communities, and reduce maintenance costs.
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Healthy Watersheds Resilient Baylands (Project)
Photo Credits: Micha Salomon (L), Dee Shea Himes (R)
Through the 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 three major components: Making Nature’s City: a Science-based Framework for Building Urban Biodiversity, Tidal Wetlands Restoration and Implementation Projects.