F E A T U R E D A R T I C L E S
Keeping Salt Field at Bay II
By Robin Meadows
Just a year ago, our “wet” season was so dry that state water officials panicked. Water managers worried about the hot, dry months and if reservoirs could hold enough for freshwater releases to keep saltwater from pushing deep into the Delta, contaminating water supplies to cities and farms. They built a barrier to block the salt instead, and then monitored the effects. By this spring, they had some interesting results. READ ON
By Ariel Rubissow Okamoto
Whatever the “perturbation” coming our way — a flood, a drought, a weed or Donald Trump — our recovery, in the aftermath, depends on something ecologists call resilience. It’s a term everyone is pasting onto their management initiatives these days — resilient landscapes, resilient shorelines, resilient water supplies… But what exactly does it mean, and how is it different from other fashionable buzzwords that have galvanized Californians into thinking about the future? READ ON
By Joe Eaton
Side by side at a Redwood City marina, two vessels await their very different destinies. The Research Vessel Polaris, a classy 96-foot yacht, spent decades as the workhorse of the US Geological Survey’s San Francisco Bay science program. Her successor is a 67-foot aluminum catamaran called the RV David H Peterson. Once she’s refitted and the Polaris’ equipment transferred over, the Peterson will carry Bay science into the future. READ ON
Do the Pieces Fit?
By John Hart
This summer, the San Francisco Estuary Partnership publishes its new Comprehensive Conservation and Management Plan (CCMP) for the Bay-Delta Estuary. That word “comprehensive” stakes quite a claim. If the CCMP is the closest thing we have to a master vision for the future of these waters in the era of climate change, it is also just one in swarm of plans and planning efforts purporting to shape that future. How do they all get along? READ ON
MAGAZINE IN BRIEF
Waiting for the Big One
By Lisa Owens Viani
This March, when the first of El Niño’s bigger storms rained on the Bay Area, crews from the San Francisco Estuary Institute pulled on their parkas and dashed out to take water samples. Last September, stakeholders in the Regional Monitoring Program had decided they would be remiss if they did not try to measure some high priority pollutants during an El Niño year, and now the data gathering has begun. READ ON
By Joe Eaton
We used to blame malaria and other diseases on miasmas, mysterious vapors emanating from swamps and marshes. Once the role of marsh-breeding mosquitoes in disease transmission was established, draining their habitat became a public health imperative. But draining doesn’t have to mean destruction. Teaming up, various NGOs and resource agencies have replumbed a dysfunctional marsh near the mouth of Sonoma Creek, eliminating a mosquito hotspot while enhancing habitat for endangered wildlife and bolstering a wetland’s resilience against sea level rise. READ ON
By Daniel McGlynn
The last two years have been hard on restoration plantings that don’t rely on supplemental water. That’s why some projects that are concerned with establishing native plant footholds have been taking advantage of the recent wet weather window. The bulk of these, about 70,000, are being planted at the Oro Loma Horizontal Levee on the Hayward Shoreline. But Save the Bay volunteers are also planting gum plant, saltgrass, alkali heath, and creeping rye, and other species in transition zone habitats at Bair Island.
Vote for Beauty & Safety
By Kathleen M. Wong
As the icecaps melt and the seas rise, the Bay Area and its densely populated communities face a momentous choice. In one scenario, we could carry on as usual, adding incrementally to the muddy necklace of wetlands that ring its shores. In due time, this option could commit our region’s cities to erect ugly walls between themselves and the Bay. In an alternative scenario, we citizens could vote to approve a $12 per parcel tax this June 7, and move rapidly toward a safer, more beautiful shoreline in the future.