Estuary News

September 2020

Science-in-Short ~ Podcast

Conversations with scientists actively doing research in the San Francisco Estuary. 

Putting Nature, Not People, in the Path of Sea Level Rise, an Interview with Julie Beagle.

In this podcast, Estuary News reporter John Hart draws out Julie Beagle, a lead scientist at the San Francisco Estuary Institute, on ways of defending Bay shores in the era of sea level rise. Beagle describes several kinds of “nature-based” treatments that can delay and soften the onslaught; her special interest is in the placement of wave-absorbing “coarse beaches.” She also addresses the problem of scale. While individual local governments like cities are typically too small to grapple with shared flooding problems, a unified regional vision is an elusive dream. Beagle urges cooperation at a middle level, organized around logical reaches of shoreline called Operational Landscape Units. The concept is gaining acceptance. The Institute maintains an online Adaptation Atlas, suggesting a menu of treatments suited to each specific stretch of shore. Along the way, Beagle describes how her own focus widened from natural systems alone to the people likely to be displaced by rising tides and other effects of climate change. “These are wicked scary problems when it’s people’s lives on the line,” she says.

About Julie Beagle

Julie Beagle is the San Francisco Estuary Institute’s Deputy Program Director of the Resilient Landscapes Program, and a lead scientist for the organization’s climate adaptation efforts. Her work focuses on adaptation to sea level rise using nature-based strategies and integrating science and policy to provide short and long-term adaptation pathways for use in planning processes. After 10 years with SFEI, Beagle moves to a new position with the Army Corps of Engineers in early 2021.

More on Julie Beagle

Listen to other Science-in-Short Podcasts

Predation in Wetlands with David Ayers

Remote Sensing for Invasive Weeds with Shruti Khanna

SCIENCE IN SHORT is co-produced by Estuary News and Maven’s Notebook, with support from the Delta Stewardship Council. Music courtesy Joel Kreisberg & Art Swisklocki. We are experimenting podcasting. Bear with us while we learn!

Co-published here on Maven’s Notebook.

In an effort to make science more conversational, these podcasts include thoughts and opinions on the part of scientists that are occasionally personal or informal. As such, these podcasts do not reflect the opinions or goals of their employers, institutions, or funders. 

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About the author

John Hart is an environmental journalist and author of sixteen books and several hundred other published works. He is also the winner of the James D. Phelan Award, the Commonwealth Club Medal in Californiana, and the David R. Brower Award for Service in the Field of Conservation. For ESTUARY, he writes on groundwater, infrastructure, and California water politics and history.

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