Copy   •   Spring  •   2021
Dear friends and colleagues,

This new year is not without its challenges, of course, but we are here to share some good news with you. After several years of fieldwork, testing, and analysis, SFEI recently released the Trash Monitoring Playbook, a guide designed to inform the selection of monitoring methods to address trash management concerns. Some of the innovations contained in the Playbook were also featured in an article penned by Esri, a key partner.

We also share with you details regarding an appearance before the State Assembly featuring SFEI staff and science on the growing concerns regarding microplastic pollution.

Hidden Nature SF, a collaborative effort sharing the past, present, and future of nature in San Francisco, brought together over 400 people to learn more about ways that our knowledge of the past might inform our planning for the future. And a new paper published by SFEI and colleagues in BioScience shows how cities around the world can contribute to regional ecosystems.

These are truly unprecedented and challenging times. So we are especially grateful for the work of colleagues like you. If you support these scientific strides, we invite you to make a donation below.

Together, we can make 2021 a triumph for science and the people who depend on our insights.


Warner Chabot
Executive Director
San Francisco Estuary Institute


Our work is more important now than ever. Help SFEI to deliver visionary science that empowers people to revitalize nature in our communities.


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In this newsletter...

California Trash Monitoring Playbook now available

San Francisco Estuary Institute (SFEI) collaborated with the Southern California Coastal Waters Research Project (SCCWRP) to produce this practical report. The California Trash Monitoring Methods and Assessments Playbook offers guidance on the certainty, precision, and interoperability of results for four monitoring methods. As we look at the "big picture" of trash in California's creeks, streams, and wetlands, the variability in monitoring methods makes it very challenging to report, with any certainty, the amounts of trash overall and whether conditions are getting better or worse.

This guide aims to address those needs.

Read More

State Assembly committee hearing on microplastics highlights SFEI science

SFEI Senior Scientist Dr. Rebecca Sutton testified at a March 2nd informational hearing on microplastics convened by the California State Assembly Committee on Environmental Safety and Toxic Materials. The hearing featured ten international experts and addressed a number of topics relating to microplastic pollution, including what it is, where it is, where it comes from, and strategies for preventing its movement into and throughout the environment. Dr. Sutton provided an overview of major findings from the San Francisco Bay Microplastics Project to inform legislators as they consider an array of legislative efforts to address this complex water quality issue.

Additional information is available on the hearing website.

Read More

A conversation about the past, present, and future of nature in San Francisco

SFEI and its partners from the Exploratorium, the San Francisco Department of the Environment, and the Presidio Trust were joined live by over 400 participants for a conversation around the nature, both past and present, that is hidden in plain sight in San Francisco. On Wednesday, February 24th, SFEI unveiled its mapping of San Francisco’s historical ecology and shared stories that uncover the mysteries of San Francisco’s ecological past. We then explored how these stories about the city’s past  help us understand the ecology of the city today and reimagine a healthier and more resilient future. Visit our Hidden Nature SF project website to view the event recording and join us on our journey touring the past, present, and future of nature in San Francisco.

Read More

Cities can contribute to regional ecosystems

In a new article published in BioScience, Erica Spotswood and a team of scientists have established a new perspective on cities and nature. We investigated how cities interact with their surrounding landscapes, and the species that benefit from living in or near cities. We found substantial evidence that many species can and do benefit from cities, and we identify five ways these benefits can occur. This is not to say cities are all good for biodiversity -- we know there are many species that are harmed by urbanization. Rather, we argue that a strong emphasis on the negative impacts of urbanization has made us miss the story of why and how species do well in cities, and what that can teach us about how to make cities better.

Read More

Innovation in partnership with Esri, one of the world's leaders in geospatial software

SFEI's innovative work has recently been recognized not once, but twice by Esri! The geospatial information systems (GIS) company has been particularly excited to highlight the Institute's use of drones paired with machine learning for automated trash pollution detection, as well as the online atlas and story maps used to convey how cities might adapt to sea level rise.

How an Atlas of San Francisco Bay is Helping Deal with Sea Level Rise
This article highlights SFEI's Adaptation Atlas and its interactive web map which serve as a science-based tool tailored to communities who wish to develop climate adaptation plans. The Adaptation Atlas promotes resilient, nature-based strategies. 

Aquatic and Ecoscience Institute Improves Trash Monitoring in California with Drone Imagery, Artificial Intelligence, and Mapping Software
This article describes how SFEI has used drones paired with machine learning to demonstrate a scalable and cost effective method for municipalities to expand trash-pollution monitoring. This is critical as local communities work to assess whether they are meeting regulatory goals and initiatives. This is just part of the work that can be found in the recently released California Trash Monitoring Methods and Assessments Playbook.

Copyright © 2021 San Francisco Estuary Institute, All rights reserved.

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