Copy   •   February  •   2020
Dear Colleagues,

The changing of the seasons — from the cold rain to the fierce winds — reminds us of our connections to our local environment. SFEI's recent science projects illuminate those connections and our desire to protect our natural and urban world.

From urban ecology to microplastics to wetland science, today's newsletter highlights the impacts, adaptations, and restorations SFEI’s team are performing across California. We welcome your engagement with these important projects and look forward to working with you to amplify their influence.


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.


F O L L O W  on  T W I T T E R F O L L O W on T W I T T E R
F O L L O W  on  F A C E B O O K F O L L O W on F A C E B O O K
V I S I T our W E B S I T E V I S I T our W E B S I T E

In this newsletter...

Groundbreaking San Francisco Bay Microplastics Study featured in Video and Multiple Media Outlets

Concurrent with a sold-out symposium on Oct 2nd and the release of a final project report, several media outlets, including the Mercury News, San Francisco Chronicle, and Los Angeles Times, released articles relating the alarming findings regarding the pervasive presence of microplastics in our surface waters. In December, an excellent video summary of the project was also released. The issue of microplastics is global in nature. However, major advances in understanding the magnitude of the problem are happening in our region through partnerships with 5 Gyres, the University of Toronto Trash Team, and other notable leaders.

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Project Tracker Assists with Regional Reporting

Project Tracker provides the data for the restored tidal wetlands updates in the State of the Estuary 2019 Update and The Pulse of the Bay. It tracks Restoration Authority funded and eligible projects and generates the South Bay Salt Pond Restoration Project maps. The San Francisco Bay Joint Venture tracks their habitat projects in Project Tracker so they can advance projects and generate summaries on progress towards meeting regional goals. Additionally, Project Tracker can assist with developing survey designs that target data collection near restoration sites.

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Editor’s Choice: SFEI Journal Article on Retention of PCBs, Mercury, and Microplastics in a Rain Garden

In November, the Journal of Sustainable Water in the Built Environment selected a SFEI article led by Alicia Gilbreath to be featured as an Editor’s Choice.  The chief editor of this journal selects a paper from the current issue to be featured in this manner. The paper is made free with registration for a period of three months.  The study documented the effectiveness of a bioretention rain garden in reducing PCBs, mercury, and microplastics in stormwater runoff.  The rain garden captured 90% of microplastics and PCBs and significantly reduced copper (68%) and mercury (37%).  SFEI was funded by the California Department of Water Resources to work with the San Francisco Estuary Partnership and Geosyntec on the project.

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Building Cities to Better Support Biodiversity

As part of the Healthy Watersheds Resilient Baylands Project, the new framework entitled Making Nature’s City synthesizes findings from decades of urban ecology research to inform innovative urban design. It identifies key elements to consider when designing cities for both people and nature while using Silicon Valley as a case study to illustrate opportunities and assets within each of these elements. 

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California Rapid Assessment Method for Wetlands (CRAM) Updates

CRAM Training sessions for 2020 have been posted on the CRAM website.

Within EcoAtlas, new updates to the CRAM Landscape Profile tool feature estimates of overall ecological condition of streams, estuarine, and depressional wetlands based on probability based ambient surveys that have been completed locally, regionally, or statewide.  Estimates of the proportion of wetland resources that are in good, fair, or poor ecological condition are summarized using Cumulative Distribution Function plots (CDFs).

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