INSIDE

►    Coyote’s Intermittent Riches – Coyote Creek’s  extreme annual swings make it is a bastion of native biodiversity.

►    Test Results Oro Loma — An experimental levee in San Lorenzo, planted with freshwater natives and plumbed with treated wastewater, removes more than 95% of nitrate.

►    Resprout Photo Essay — View 25 intimate photos of life in the burn zone.

►    Ash and Water – When fire strikes upper watersheds like it did last October, responses can vary widely depending on land use.

►    Weevil Warden – Weevils, tiny herbivorous insects, aren’t as charismatic as knights in shining armor. For Julie Hopper of the Delta Stewardship Council, though, they are the superheroes.

►    Snail Trouble – Big Break’s Mike Moran got a call about a cluster of unusual eggs that looked like “a big wad of bubblegum.”

►    Wild Corners – The Bay Area landscape is rich in small but key natural features that support biodiversity.

►    Cold Curtain – For chinook salmon, cold water is the elixir of life

►    Public Sediment – A new bi-coastal design team working on the Resilient by Design challenge proposes designing with mud in mind.

►    Stubborn Chemicals – Though levels of some kinds of stain repellants and PFASs in seals and seabird eggs have declined in the last decade, others have not.

►    Problem Pumps – Aging urban pumps may not be up to the challenge of rising sea levels and  extreme precipitation events.

►    Snowy Plovers – Efforts to boost the plover’s breeding success have encountered unexpected challenges.

►    Marginal Zones – Projects aimed at mapping and restoring transition zones between marsh and upland are gathering steam at Bair Island and beyond.

►    One Water – Three districts spearhead integrated water management.

Magazine Features

Resprout Photo Essay

Spending time in the burned zones is an almost overwhelming assault on the senses; this is a familiar world inverted. The colors, textures, shapes, and smells are all unfamiliar. That which should be green is black. That which should be inside is out. That which should be standing has fallen. Nothing, it seems, can be taken for granted.

Nudging Natural Magic

“Miraculous” isn’t a term that comes easily to the lips of scientists and engineers. But the word, along with a quickly quelled gulp of incredulity, cropped up more than once in interviews concerning the preliminary results of the horizontal levee experiment on the San Lorenzo shore – including off the charts levels of removal of nitrogen and pharmaceuticals from wastewater passed through the system and growth of willows, cattails, and wet meadows. This pilot sea level rise adaptation project, led by the Oro Loma Sanitary District, combines precision engineering, native plants, irrigation via treated household wastewater, and a hump of bay mud, sand, and gravel. The idea is to test which ingredients –liquid, solid, vegetable –in what doses and combinations make the levee bulk up and leaf out fastest, and best “polish” (clean) the wastewater.

Coyote’s Cache of Intermittent Riches

There’s a common perception in California that more water is always better for fish. Yet many native species possess traits that allow them to persist through harsh, dry summers and cyclical drought. Over the long run, summer releases from reservoirs and urban runoff can harm local fish by laying out a welcome mat for non-native species adapted to perennial flows, Leidy says. “In areas where streams have been altered by humans, where the natural hydrograph has changed, that’s where you see invasives take a foothold.” Coyote Creek’s strictly seasonal flows, and those of other naturally intermittent streams in the state, by contrast, are so extreme in the winter and so sparse in the summer that non-natives simply can’t cope. “It’s physically too much for them, and they just can’t get established,” Leidy says. What’s more, intermittent streams that fragment or...
Peruse the back issues of this periodical with a 25-year track record of compelling, topical journalism

Back Issues

Read More...
Pearls in the ocean of information that our reporters didn’t want you to miss

A wedge of gravel, mud, and grasses irrigated by treated wastewater outperforms all expectations as a prototype for climate change adaptation.

Experts monitoring 16 months of plant growth on a humpbacked levee experiment on the San Leandro shore, a project led by the Oro Loma Sanitary District, found early weed colonization followed by rapid dominance of target native perennial vegetation. “Native vegetation outcompeted weeds,” says Peter Baye, who designed the planting palette for this multi-benefit infrastructure project....

ESTUARY News is the 25-year-old regional magazine of the San Francisco Estuary Partnership and its myriad partners around the Bay and Delta. Written by professional, independent journalists, it provides in-depth, silo-crossing coverage of the environmental, restoration, and climate adaptation issues of our time, and tells the stories behind the 2016 Estuary Blueprint.

NO