Current Issue at a Glance


ENEWS June CoverThis issue of ESTUARY News magazine covers the latest on climate change adaptation with the watershed — from managing forests to increase snowpack above the San Joaquin Valley to reimagining a derelict urban shipyard and prioritizing shoreline investments based on new decision making tools. Other stories preview the 2016 CCMP and delve into its history, and touch on topics like offshore responses to global warming and innovations in pipe replacement for utilities struggling with aging infrastructure.

F E A T U R E D   A R T I C L E S

EBMUD Experiments With Pipe Replacement

By Nate Seltenrich

pipelinelowresOn average, underground water distribution pipes can last about 100 years. The East Bay Municipal Utility District owns and maintains roughly 4,200 miles of them. And it replaces about ten miles per year. At that rate it would take four centuries to replace the whole system: an approach one could charitably call unsustainable even if all the pipes were brand-new today. “We have a lot of pipe. About half of it is old. And it’s leaking,” says district spokesperson Andrea Pook. READ ON

Deliquescent Summit on Ocean Climate

By Ariel Rubissow Okamoto

OceanSummitThe water may be hotter in the Delta and colder in the Pacific, but scientists continue to reveal strong relationships and exchanges between the watershed, the estuary, and the ocean, and now, more than ever, with the atmosphere above them. Lots of things flow downriver and out the Golden Gate, or slosh back and forth between the Gulf of the Farallones and San Francisco Bay: nutrients, fish food, sediment, parcels of deoxygenated water, plastics, contaminants, juvenile crabs and flatfish, to name a few hitchhikers. Now all these things loom larger for water and resource managers,
 as rising sea levels prom
ise to thrust the ocean
 deeper than ever into the 
heart of California. A summit organized this May by the Greater Farallones National Marine Sanctuary reviewed climate change impacts on the ocean coast and what’s being done on the local level to prepare for them. READ ON

Buckler Brouhaha

By Joe Eaton

bucklerlowresWhile Bay Area voters showed their support for wetlands by passing Measure AA, an ironically different story has been playing out at the edge of the Suisun Marsh: what longtime observers call the largest intentional loss of tidal wetland in decades. READ ON



Change in the Valley

By Robin Meadows

SJvalleylowresOn a hot day in a dry year in the San Joaquin Valley, water is already so scarce that there isn’t enough to meet all the needs. And it will only get worse as climate change makes summers there even hotter and drier. “One of the biggest threats of climate change is that we will have even less water,” says Michelle Selmon, a state Department of Water Resources climate change specialist based in Fresno. “San Joaquin ecosystems are already stressed. There are only pockets of native habitat left.” READ ON

Softer Shoreline for India Basin

By Lisa Owens Viani

derelictlowresA derelict shipyard, an underused park, and a remnant wetland are the raw ingredients in a new conceptual design for a climate-adaptive park on San Francisco’s southeast shoreline. The challenge was to “re-imagine” India Basin as part of a 1.5-mile network of shoreline parks known as the Blue Greenway. “The big soft edge idea is coupled with the idea of bringing people down to experience the water,” says Shannon Nichol with design firm Gustafson Guthrie Nichol. READ ON

32-Actions for a Healthier Estuary

By Ariel Rubissow Okamoto

LotsOfBirdsAfter two and a half years work, by 70 organizations, the Estuary has a new Comprehensive Conservation and Management Plan. “It builds on our past work but is a new plan with a strong focus,” says Caitlin Sweeney, director of the San Francisco Estuary Partnership, which is championing the new plan. The plan has four broad goals, 12 objectives, and 32 actions. Each CCMP action includes tasks, measurable milestones, and a list of “owners” and collaborating partners. “It clearly documents what we and our partners will do to implement tasks, and who will help them,” says Sweeney. READ ON

Hope & Anxiety in Merger’s Wake

By Cariad Hayes Thronson

mergerlowresWill the upcoming transfer of the Association of Bay Area Government’s staff to the Metropolitan Transportation Commission be the first step toward a single body that can boost the integration of estuary-related issues into regional planning? Or will these priorities be sidelined? These are among the many questions raised by the move, which will reshape Bay Area planning in the years ahead. READ ON

Prioritizing Biointegrity

By Lisa Owens Viani

priority2With never enough money but plenty of uncertainty about climate change, how can planners and resource managers best prepare the Estuary to adapt? Perhaps with the help of CADS, aka Climate Adaptation Decision Support for San Francisco Bay. CADS is an analysis and modeling effort led by the San Francisco Bay Joint Venture to try to prioritize how resources (funding, staff, and equipment) might be allocated under two very different climate change scenarios. READ ON

An Eggfull of Estuary

By Lisa Owens Viani

EGGSlowresBirds’ eggs don’t lie. Just as thinning eggshells once revealed how DDT was affecting peregrines and pelicans, the eggs themselves are now telling scientists how long- lived some contaminants are in the Estuary and where they are the most problematic. A report just published by the Regional Monitoring Program for Water Quality in San Francisco Bay summarizes contaminant concentrations in eggs collected between 2002 and 2012 from two fish-eating species high in the Estuary food chain. READ ON


Two Hearts Beating Not Quite as One

By John Hart

Hearts as One CoverWe’re waiting now for the short plan with the long name: The Comprehensive Conservation and Management Plan for the San Francisco Estuary. That word “comprehensive” stakes quite a claim. If the CCMP, the work of the San Francisco Estuary Partnership, 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? ESTUARY asked well-known writer John Hart to investigate. READ ON