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. April Robinson and Letitia Grenier led the work, and Katie McKnight, Emily Clark, Matt Benjamin, Sam Safran, Erica Spotswood, and Julie Beagle authored indicator analyses. SFEI staff also were instrumental is organizing conference sessions relating to the report, contaminants of emerging concern, nutrients, sediment and urban greening.
The 2019 State of the Estuary Report is a brief update that checks in on five indicators of ecosystem health (freshwater inflows, tidal marsh extent, native fish communities, beneficial floods, and urban water use). The report also brings a new focus on the human dimensions of restoring the Estuary, particularly how human health depends on ecosystem health and how ecosystem health and resilience depends on human choices. Three new emerging indicators are proposed---these are innovative approaches to assessing landscape resilience that could be refined into quantitative, scored indicators in future reports. The emerging indicators evaluate subsided lands that are disconnected from the Bay and Delta by levees, the relative resilience of hundreds of miles of shoreline, and whether urban green space is distributed equitably. Several narratives also highlight the perspectives of individuals who are providing leadership in the area of social-ecological resilience.
SFEI made significant contributions to the planning of the Conference. Melissa Foley and Jay Davis worked with Tom Mumley of the Water Board to plan a session on contaminants of emerging concern, which includes presentations by Melissa Foley and Diana Lin, and a session on nutrients, including an overview by Dave Senn. Letitia Grenier helped organize a session on the State of the Estuary Report. Other SFEI presentations will include talks by Jeremy Lowe and Erica Spotswood; session introductions by Tony Hale, Julie Beale, and Micaela Bazo; and a drone demonstration by Pete Kauhanen.
Related Projects, News, and Events:
Journalist Mark Prado's article in the Marin Independent Journal reports the mixed picture of health in the San Francisco Estuary. He writes:
“In many regards the bay is as healthy as it has been in a long time,” said San Anselmo native Josh Collins, chief scientist with the San Francisco Estuary Institute. “But some aspects of the bay are slower to heal,” he added. “There are sill longer-lasting pollutants in the bay, but they are not being put in the system anymore.”