­Ecological Scorecards

San Francisco Bay is a unique national treasure, home to hundreds of plant and animal species including many found nowhere else in the world. But what is the ecological condition of the Bay? Is it getting better or worse? Are crab and shrimp populations going up or down? Are fish caught in the Bay safe to eat?

The Bay Institute’s Ecological Scorecard Project produced the San Francisco Bay Index, the first comprehensive effort using scientific indicators to measure the health of the Bay. This unique “report card,” first released in 2003 and updated in 2005, helped inform people about how the Bay was doing, and helped all of us to track our progress in reducing pollution, conserving water, and restoring habitat.

In 2011, the San Francisco Estuary Partnership, created by the State of California and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, released “The State of San Francisco Bay 2011.” The new report was co-authored by scientists from the Bay Institute and the Partnership specifically acknowledged the importance of TBI’s Ecological Scorecard as the basis for many of the report’s indicators and a valuable model for a science-based assessment of the ecological health of the Bay.