State of the San Francisco Estuary Conference a Smash

The State of the San Francisco Estuary Conference, a biennial assessment of the ecological health of the San Francisco Bay-Delta Estuary, was held on September 20-21, 2011 in Oakland, California, and attracted more than 700 scientists, planners, policy and decision-makers and interested citizens.

Plenary sessions were held each morning of the conference and concurrent sessions on four topics were held each afternoon: 1) species/restoration, 2) management challenges, 3) water quality and 4) sustainable communities. The first plenary session focused on the recently released report, The State of San Francisco Bay 2011 with presentations on how indicators of Bay health were assessed and what they mean.

The State of San Francisco Bay 2011 developed by the San Francisco Estuary Partnership, highlights the importance of wetland restoration and fresh water inflows from upstream rivers to the Bay’s health. As climate changes and sea level rises, the Bay will need more wetlands around its perimeter to protect local communities from flooding. Another main finding in the report is that the Bay is suffering from inadequate fresh water flowing in from its rivers. The report concludes that dams and diversions have dramatically reduced the amount of fresh water that now reaches the Bay, cutting inflows by more than 50 percent in many recent years.

The Estuary Partnership will report on the state of the Bay on a regular basis, with the goal of educating the public and helping scientists and managers make decisions about how to best allocate resources to protect and restore the Bay.

The conference’s second plenary session focused on the long-term sustainable use of the Delta and Bay and included a talk from Delta Stewardship Council Chair Phil Isenberg, “Achieving the Delta Plan’s Coequal Goals”. The Delta and Bay plenary session was followed by two Delta-focused sessions, “The People Factor in Delta Ecosystem Restoration" and "Ecosystem Restoration in an Evolving Delta.”

For more information about the conference please click here.