20/20 Vision: E-News Coverage of SOE

100 Experts Take Stock of Estuary Health

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This special online issue of ESTUARY News magazine sums up two days of presentations and discussions on the health of the San Francisco Bay estuary. The October 28-30, 2013 State of the Estuary Conference drew more than 900 people to hear dozens of speakers describe everything from wetland restoration to contaminants of emerging concern, not to mention the latest politics of water development and conservation. Due to reduced federal funding in 2013, there will be no paper version of this issue but the SF Estuary Partnership hopes you will enjoy the comprehensive coverage provided here online and in the bare bones PDF. In 2014, we will publish four issues and improve online news coverage with the help of several new partners. In the meantime, special thanks to Kathleen M. Wong for guest editing this conference issue.

 See the Wild Side of the Conference!


minimum sea ice JPEGChoosing a Future for the Bay

It’s tempting to look at today’s healthier Estuary and call it a job well done. But surviving global warming will mean incorporating climate-smart conservation considerations into all aspects of land use practices and natural resource management. READ ON

South Bay aerialInvesting in Flood-Resistant Shorelines

Low-lying Silicon Valley is at the mercy of a rising Bay. South Bay businesses now have flood risk on their radar, while the region turns to natural habitat restoration for safety. READ ON

oneestuaryplenary panelOne Estuary, Many Plans

The state is poised to make major decisions on water allocation, habitat restoration, and climate change adaptations in the Delta. The leaders of state agencies charged with implementing these management plants discuss how they work together to ensure a healthier Estuary. READ ON

lifting ocean edgeTracking Next Generation Pollutants

San Francisco Bay appears to be losing its historic resistance to nutrient pollution. Recent state efforts to regulate chemical pollutants should help safeguard water quality, and could benefit from the experience of other countries that have already started down that road. READ ON



Porpoises Are In, Hybrid Spartina Out

Decades of improved environmental stewardship are helping native wildlife flourish while keeping invasive species in check. READ ON

When flooded during the rainy season, the agricultural fields of the Yolo Bypass provide a place for native fish to fatten and waterfowl to rest. Image credit: Carson Jeffres

Engineering the Delta Marshes of Tomorrow

Climate change will force us to choose how wetlands from Suisun Marsh to the Yolo Bypass will function in the future. READ ON

Among the thorniest problems facing the team restoring North Bay wetlands was how to remove the thick crust of salt atop former crystallizer beds without poisoning local waterways. Photo credit: Ducks Unlimited

Baylands Remodels Make Progress

All around the Bay, efforts to restore former salt ponds and infuse mudflats with new life are drawing native fish and fowl. READ ON


Mice and Sculpins Scope out New Habitat

Now that the bulldozers have departed, studies are revealing how landscapes are healing and wildlife uses newly restored habitat. READ ON[space height=”8″]

Plastic bitsIntercepting Toxic Plastic Trash

The peaceniks of the Bay Area are waging war on trash. New studies show plastics can inject toxins into the food web, while bag bans are lessening the litter load on streets and creeks. READ ON

Moran slide 14 aRestoring Water Quality with TMDLs

TMDLs (total maximum daily loads) are being integrated into toxic pesticide oversight of urban creeks of San Francisco Bay, the Central Valley, and the Delta. Meanwhile, TMDL controls on sediment runoff are aiding steelhead spawning in the Napa River. READ ON

Sedlak seal pic JPGManaging CECs: An Ounce of Prevention

The ever-increasing number of manufactured new chemicals, which include flame retardants and pharmaceuticals, often comes with little or no information on environmental risk. Such contaminants of emerging concern (CECs) are being found in local humans, seals and birds, sparking the development of regulatory and science guidelines to protect water quality. READ ON [space height=”8″]

more nutrients pic for main pageMore Nutrients, Less Sediment, New Water Quality Challanges

Since sewage treatment cleaned up the Bay, there have been few problematic algal blooms. But nutrient loads to the Bay are changing, and so are conditions. State efforts to develop water quality objectives and science plans are helping to quantify the Bay’s daily nutrient allowance. COMING SOON!


Building Resilient Baylands

Understanding the historical context of local landforms and processes can inform efforts to provide for human needs while conserving ecological functions. The Baylands Goals Update will produce a vision for restoring and maintaining the ecological integrity of the Baylands over the next century. READ ON

Chinook salmon

Delta Economics and Ecosystem Management

Some consider the Bay Delta Conservation Plan a long-awaited chance to save the Delta’s collapsing ecosystem; others view it as a ruinous boondoggle. Reconciling perspectives on this massive project will be critical to managing the distressed ecosystem of the Delta. READ ON

Delta smelt boat

One Delta, One Science

The Delta Science Plan creates a framework for making scientific information relevant and available to decision makers. Here, scientists and agency managers discuss both the “grand challenges” that need to be addressed and how to get the most out of Delta science efforts. READ ON

Bay satellite map exhibitSharing Our Stories of the Estuary

San Francisco Bay and Delta have a rich human history. Stories from the Bay’s indigenous inhabitants, builders of the Bay Bridge, and Delta communities are being shared via a new crop of museum exhibits, interpretive centers, and social media projects. READ ON

Rotary screw trapScaling up from Reach to Region

Zoom in on a reach of the Napa River, and details that come to the fore are redds and hatchling habitat; zoom out to the watershed, and topics such as flood control and multi-city cooperation become important. Each of these scales contributes valuable information that can improve watershed management. READ ON


Click here for text-only PDF of all conference summary stories.