Ariel Rubissow-Okamoto
About the author

Ariel Rubissow Okamoto is both today’s editor-in-chief and the founding editor of ESTUARY magazine (1992-2001). She enjoys writing in-depth, silo-crossing stories about water, restoration, and science. She’s a co-author of a Natural History of San Francisco Bay (UC Press 2011), frequent contributor of climate change stories to Bay Nature magazine, and occasional essayist for publications like the San Francisco Chronicle (see her Portfolio here). In other lives, she has been a vintner, soccer mom, and waitress. She lives in San Francisco close to the Bay with her architect husband Paul Okamoto.

Articles by Ariel Rubissow-Okamoto


Keeping the Salt Field at Bay

As the dry, warm days went on and on and on this winter, two guys intimate with California’s Sacramento San Joaquin River delta shifted gears. One reassigned staff from flood to drought response, and the other lay awake at night imagining barriers across various slough openings. By early February, some Sierra reservoirs were so low, and so close to “dead pool” level, that the water projects stopped pumping and delivering. Farmers had to retrench, communities realized they might only have enough drinking water for the next six weeks, and any salmon that succeeded in spawning upstream had no water to carry them down. Things got scary. The water projects asked state regulators to let them off the hook in meeting...
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Fish Down, Invasions Up, Flooding Soon

Whether you’re a fat salmon or a skinny smelt, life in the watershed of the San Francisco Estuary remains far from “natural.” Dams and levees block Estuary fish, alien clams compete for fish food, invasive weeds clog habitats, and exotic predators threaten life and fin. A few native species are holding their own, but others, like Delta smelt, have declined to such a degree that there are too few to count. Clearly, we have failed to stem the decline and ensure the recovery of native fish as we set out to do twenty years ago.
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Estuary News 2013

Estuary News: October 2013, CCMP 20th Anniversary Issue

It takes longer but the results are better. After two decades of listening, learning, and debating, most stakeholders from the San Francisco Bay watershed agree that the best way to do business is to work together. We save more species, build more habitat, use less water, spend less money. Partnerships make the water go round.
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Editor’s Pick One-of-a-Kind 1993-2013

Walk back through time with this selection of early stories from Estuary's first two decades of publication. Stories cover everything from regulating habitat to Sierra watershed management to SF Bay mud math and the San Luis Drain.
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