9/28/11: Major New Report on Bay’s Health Released

On September 19, the San Francisco Estuary Partnership released a major new report on “The State of San Francisco Bay 2011,” at a press conference at Aquarium of the Bay. The report, which was co-authored by scientists from the Bay Institute and builds to a great degree on The Bay Institute’s Ecological Scorecard project, paints a mixed picture of efforts to protect and restore the estuary. The new results confirm The Bay Institute’s previous findings that Bay fisheries and the food web are continuing to deteriorate, along with freshwater flow conditions and open water habitat. But water quality continues to improve, dumping of dredged sediments has been sharply curtailed, and initiatives to restore wetlands and use water more efficiently are moving forward.

The report’s sections on fisheries, flows, and water use were written by The Bay Institute's former Chief Scientist Dr. Christina Swanson (now director of the Natural Resources Defense Council’s Science Center) and The Bay Institute's staff hydrologist Peter Vorster. The Partnership specifically acknowledged the importance of The Bay Institute’s Ecological Scorecard as the basis for many of the indicators in the new report and a valuable model for a science-based assessment of the ecological health of the Bay.

The Partnership was established by the state of California and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to create and oversee implementation of a plan to conserve and manage the Bay’s resources. The Bay Institute will continue to work with the Partnership to update the report’s indicators of the Bay’s ecological health over time. The text of the report can be downloaded at www.sfestuary.org.