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www.sfei.org   •   Summer  •   2019

“Knowledge itself is power.”
– Francis Bacon, 1597

Dear Colleagues:

Bacon, the father of the “Scientific Method” that turbo-charged the scientific revolution, would certainly appreciate SFEI’s innovative use of data and technology to monitor the health of our ecosystems.  

We’re using drones to monitor and help reduce trash in our waterways. We’ve created web-based tools to visualize shoreline flood threats in any SF Bay community.   We’re advising policy leaders on approaches to reduce pesticide pollution and to reduce chemicals in our consumer products. The projects in this newsletter reflect SFEI’s most recent efforts to create a healthier future for everyone.

Cheers,

Warner Chabot
Executive Director

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In this newsletter...

SFEI Expert Assists California’s Green Chemistry Program

SFEI senior scientist Dr. Rebecca Sutton serves on the Green Ribbon Science Panel that advises California’s Department of Toxic Substances Control on its Safer Consumer Products green chemistry effort. She provides guidance on a variety of technical topics, such as evaluating the ecological impacts of chemical mixtures. 
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Urban Ecological Planning Guide for Santa Clara Valley

SFEI partnered with Santa Clara Valley Open Space Authority to create a guide on how to support biodiversity across the urbanized Santa Clara Valley. Urban greening projects (e.g., street trees, bioswales, gardens) are developing in piecemeal fashion. Designing and linking projects with ecology in mind can better support biodiversity, which in turn can help cultivate a sense of place and human health benefits.

Integrating urban ecology science, landscape history, and data on local setting, this guide provides tools to design for local ecology. This project builds on SFEI’s body of work, including historical ecology studies, Re-oaking, and the Landscape Resilience Framework. This report can inform agencies, nonprofits, planners and others.

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New Book Chapter: Pesticides in Our Homes Wash Down the Drain

A state-of-the-science review of current-use pesticides in wastewater, led by SFEI senior scientist Dr. Rebecca Sutton, provides a comprehensive conceptual model of all types of pesticides that have the potential to be washed down the drain and into wastewater. 
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SFEI Developed the Bay Shoreline Flood Explorer for BCDC’s ART program, with More to Come

SFEI’s Environmental Informatics has crafted a powerful new Shoreline Flood Explorer web tool for the Bay Conservation and Development Commission's Adapting to Rising Tides program. The Bay Shoreline Flood Explorer is intended for regional planning, as well as to raise awareness of what housing, commercial interests, transportation, and other infrastructure could be at risk for impacts from sea-level rise. Current efforts work to expand on this successful work.
 

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Drones for the Environment

SFEI continues to leverage drones in innovative ways, such as to optimize trash detection, characterize landscape change, and facilitate restoration monitoring. The Institute has been making use of drones for a number of projects over the past few years. However, recently, within the Environmental Informatics program, SFEI has been using UAV (unmanned aerial vehicles) in particularly groundbreaking ways.
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SFEI's Journal Article on Green Stormwater Infrastructure Featured as the Editor's Choice

A team led by Dr. Jing Wu penned a paper in January on using Green Stormwater Infrastructure to protect the Bay from PCBs and other contaminants. "Optimal Selection and Placement of Green Infrastructure in Urban Watersheds for PCB Control" is now featured in the Editor’s Choice section of the Journal of Sustainable Water in the Built Environment for the American Society of Civil Engineers. 
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