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Estuary Blueprint August 2019 Newsletter
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Hello, Estuary Champions! This newsletter is your quarterly update on implementation progress of Estuary  Blueprint tasks and actions as well as useful information about project successes from across the Estuary. 
In This Issue

14th Biennial State of the Estuary Conference

On October 21-22, the Estuary Partnership hosted the biennial State of the Estuary Conference. Over 800 people attended the two-day conference held at the Scottish Rite Center along the shores of Lake Merritt in Oakland. The conference webpages have been updated with videos and photos of the event, as well as an announcement of the student poster awardees, the Jean Auer Environmental awardee, the Outstanding Environmental Project and Creative Environmental Project awardees, and other highlights. 


View the conference summary video

Maven’s Notebook provides excellent additional coverage of select presentations, for those who missed them:

Drone demonstration by Pete Kauhanen (SFEI) at the conference (photo: Noah Berger)
Video excerpts of the conference can be found here and here, and also on our Facebook page.

2019 State of the Estuary 
Report Released

Concurrent with the opening day of the State of the Estuary Conference on October 21, we released the 2019 State of the Estuary Report. This year’s report includes status and trends on urban water conservation, fish, freshwater flows, tidal marshes and beneficial floods. In addition, the report looks at “emerging indicators”; measures of landscape and community resilience across the Estuary, including vulnerabilities in terms of lands at and below sea level that are protected by berms and levees, and the resilience of our shorelines as measured by fully developed and engineered shorelines to fully nature-based wetland shores. The report also notes the human health benefits of access to green space and nature. 

You can hear from some of the authors themselves as part of our report playlist on YouTube.

Thank you to our partners at the San Francisco Estuary Institute who took on the lead scientist and overall science coordination roles, and the Delta Stewardship Council as a key funder and Steering Committee member. A full list of credits and acknowledgements, including contributing scientists and Steering Committee members, can be found in the report and on the website.

San Pablo Avenue Green Stormwater Spine Breaks Ground!

After many years of planning, raising funds, and moving through an array of challenges, the San Pablo Avenue Green Stormwater Spine project broke ground on September 23rd in Berkeley!  The Berkeley site groundbreaking was covered in several media outlets, including a lengthy article in Berkeleyside. This is the first of 4 planned landscape-based stormwater treatment retrofits to be completed along East Bay’s San Pablo Ave in the cities of Oakland, Emeryville, Berkeley, and El Cerrito.

The Oakland site groundbreaking was on November 18th with the remaining 2 sites to go forward after East Bay Municipal Utility District completes its relocation of waterlines. The completed project will cumulatively treat 6 acres of impervious surface runoff.

Congratulations to Project Manager Josh Bradt who with focused determination and considerable creative problem solving was able to keep this innovative project afloat for the many years it took before it finally broke ground. For more information contact Josh Bradt (Josh.Bradt@sfestuary.org).

SF Bay Wetland Regional Monitoring Program Milestone

Program Plan: The final San Francisco Estuary Wetlands Regional Monitoring Program Plan was approved by consensus of the Steering Committee on December 3rd. The Core Team still needs to incorporate some final edits and the document will be publicly available through the website in early 2020. 

Above: Steering Committee and Core Team members meet for the last Steering Committee of 2019. From left, back row: Brenda Goeden (BCDC), Mike Vasey (SF NERR), Matt Graul (EBRPD), Josh Collins (SFEI), Julian Wood (PBCS), Dave Halsing (SBSP Restoration Project); middle row: Jillian Burns (SFEP), Tony Hale (SFEI), Donna Ball (Save the Bay), Christina Toms (SFBRWQCB), Kaylee Allen (USFWS), Xavier Fernandez (SFBRWQCB); front row: Sahyre Cohen (USACE), Heidi Nutters (SFEP), Erika Castillo (Alameda County MAD), Aimee Good (SF Bay NERR). Photo: Aimee Good. 

What to Expect in Phase 2: Phase 2 of the WRMP will kick-off in January 2020 and run through 2021 with another round of funding from the EPA Wetland Program Development Grant. Phase 2 will focus on the following objectives:
  • Develop a program charter      
  • Form a Technical Advisory Committee in Spring 2020
  • Establish the benchmark site network      
  • Develop the data system      
  • Engage stakeholders

More Information
More information about the WRMP development process, including project contacts, is available at WRMP.org. Questions can be directed to Heidi Nutters or Jillian Burns at the San Francisco Estuary Partnership. The WRMP is funded by an EPA Region 9 Wetland Program Development Grant. The WRMP also sends out an occasional newsletter with updates. Read the latest issue here and subscribe here

ESTUARY News Magazine

The December issue of ESTUARY News is a deeper dive into our special coverage of the 2019 State of the Estuary conference. Check it out!

A Note From SFEP

Thank you! As we enter this holiday season, I want to take this opportunity to express my gratitude for all of you and your persistence, passion, and productivity. I’d like to particularly acknowledge the amazing collaborative work we all undertake to tackle the challenges facing our Estuary. The State of the Estuary Conference and the State of the Estuary Report are excellent examples of what we can accomplish when we work together for a common goal. As always, I was very impressed by the conference presentations and concurrent session discussions. I was similarly energized by all the engaging conversations happening in the hallways, around the lunch tables, and in front of the posters - I’d love to know how many creative collaborative projects were cooked up in those two days! Shortly following the conference, about 25 Implementation Committee members and SFEP staff spent an entire day sequestered in a room together to delve deep into the Estuary Blueprint and identify solutions to implementation barriers. That collaborative effort will help us overcome current challenges and set our collective regional future priorities, and I’m grateful for the time and focus our partners brought to that day.

One of the aspects of my job that I love the most is knowing I am part of a community of diverse and myriad partners. Not only do I take solace in knowing that so much expertise and skill is focused on making our Estuary healthy and resilient, but I also appreciate how much we all truly understand the old adage about the whole being greater than the sum of its parts. You all inspire me every day. Cheers to another year of collective successes!


-- Caitlin Sweeney
Director, San Francisco Estuary Partnership

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