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Climate Ready Estuaries San Francisco Estuary Pilot

The Unites States Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Climate Ready Estuaries (CRE) program, in collaboration with the San Francisco Estuary Partnership (SFEP), the Commission and the EPA’s Office of Research and Development’s Global Change Research Program conducted a pilot project to assess key vulnerabilities of the San Francisco estuary system to climate change. The CRE pilot project built upon significant work already underway in the San Francisco region, particularly on sea level rise, to support further analysis of climate drivers and ecosystem effects, as well as development of management recommendations that can increase resilience of estuary habitats to sea level rise. A key achievement of the project was testing a rapid assessment method that utilitizes existing scientific expertise to help identify robust adaptation strategies and associated trade-offs.

The initial phase of the San Francisco estuary pilot involved a workshop with regional technical experts to identify and describe known stressors in the estuary and potential climate change impacts. The project team then developed conceptual models for several key potential climate impacts. In March 2010 the team led an expert elicitation, which is the synthesis of opinions of experts on a subject about which there is uncertainty due to insufficient data, to evaluate ecosystem sensitivities to future climate scenarios, and to identify implications for management of the estuary in light of climate change.

The final report for the project is available at the EPA website.


The report on a parallel Climate Ready Estuaries effort in collaboration with the Massachusetts Bays Program can be accessed at http://cfpub.epa.gov/ncea/global/recordisplay.cfm?deid=241555

EPA's Climate Ready Water Utilities initiative provides resources for the water sector to adapt to climate change by promoting a clear understanding of climate science and adaptation options and by promoting consideration of integrated water resources management planning in the water sector.

Sara Polgar
Coastal Planner
San Francisco Bay Conservation and Development Commission
50 California Street, Suite 2600
San Francisco, CA 94111
(415) 352-3654