Bay Area Ecosystems Climate Change Consortium

Affiliated Projects

One mechanism BAECCC uses to achieve its goals is fostering collaboration among BAECCC participants who are conducting projects relevant to the impacts of climate change on Bay Area ecosystems. Such projects, called “BAECCC-Affiliated Projects,” are featured in this section of the website.

More information about BAECCC affiliation, including how your project can become affiliated with BAECCC, is available here. The California Landscape Conservation Cooperative, a key partner with BAECCC, is funding several of the projects featured below.

Click on project titles below to expand

The San Mateo County Sea Level Rise Vulnerability Assessment

The San Mateo County Sea Level Rise Vulnerability Assessment

The San Mateo County Sea Level Rise Vulnerability Assessment will assess the vulnerability of the San Mateo County bayshore and coastline north of Half Moon Bay to sea level rise impacts. This asset-focused assessment will inventory all assets vulnerable to sea level rise under chosen scenarios, drill down into the specific vulnerabilities of 30 representative assets, and capture overarching planning issues and cross-cutting vulnerabilities to tell the story of sea level rise vulnerability throughout San Mateo County. The assessment is expected to wrap up in May 2016, and will provide the baseline data and momentum for the County and partners to take specific actions to prepare for sea level rise through a Phase 2 effort.

Forecasting Coastal Marsh Responses to Sea Level Rise using Models with Satellite Data

Forecasting Coastal Marsh Responses to Sea Level Rise using Models with Satellite Data

Map of suspended sediment concentration, an important parameter for the Marsh Equilibrium Model. Based on Landsat 8 satellite data.

The NASA Applied Sciences Ecological Forecasting program has funded USGS and NOAA National Estuarine Research Reserve System (NERRS) scientists to integrate remote sensing and in situ data to the Marsh Equilibrium Model (MEM), a model of tidal marsh elevation, to project how coastal marsh habitat and dependent species respond to sea level rise. With remote sensing inputs to MEM, scientists will be able to generate regional maps of coastal vulnerability and habitat suitability for a set of sea level rise scenarios. The objective of these maps and model outputs is to assist the NERRS and coastal managers with climate change adaptation planning, conservation and restoration decisions. This one-year feasibility study focuses research on a highly diverse brackish marsh, Rush Ranch in Suisun Bay, one of two sites in the San Francisco Bay NERR. Working at Rush Ranch, the research team found that Landsat 8 can be feasibly used to map two important MEM parameters – peak biomass and suspended sediment concentration. The benefits of using this satellite data include 1) the ability to apply MEM regionally, using the NERR as a reference marsh, 2) reduction of field data collection, and 3) reducing uncertainty in estimating these parameters.

The NERRS System-Wide Monitoring Program, the Sentinel Sites Program and other NOAA products will provide much of the data needed to run the MEM model and produce coastal habitat change maps. Benefits of this tool can include: increased use of NERRS monitoring data, development of data products for NERRS outreach, and increased support for habitat suitability assessments, land conservation and restoration decisions.

Fact Sheet: Forecasting Coastal Marsh Responses to Sea Level Rise using Models with Satellite Data [745 KB PDF]

Mud on the Move

Mud on the Move

The Mud on the Move project (known formally as "Improving management outcomes of sea level rise modeling through standardized sampling of a key model input: total suspended solids above tidal marshes.") is developing a standardized sampling protocol to assess suspended sediment concentrations above tidal marshes that will be user-friendly to land managers and scientists. This protocol can be used to increase the accuracy of suspended sediment concentrations used in models for predicting the future elevation of tidal marshes (i.e., their resilience to sea level rise). The project is being managed and implemented by the San Francisco Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve, with collaborators at other reserves in South Carolina and Alabama, with funding from the National Estuarine Research Reserve System Science Collaborative.

San Francisco Bay Living Shorelines Project

The San Francisco Bay Living Shorelines: Near-shore Linkages Project is a multi-objective habitat restoration pilot project. This is a pilot-level, experimental restoration project to learn more about best locations and techniques for native oyster and eelgrass restoration, gather information about fish, invertebrate, and bird use of the reefs, and assess whether the reefs can provide physical benefits such as reducing wave action and protecting adjacent shorelines. Oyster and eelgrass reefs were constructed at two sites in San Francisco Bay in July-August 2012 (larger and small experiment at the San Rafael Shoreline, and small experiment at Hayward near the Eden Landing Ecological Reserve). As of October 2013, more than two million native oysters have settled at the site, along with juvenile Dungeness crabs, bay shrimp, white sturgeon, and a wide diversity of other fish, birds, and wildlife.  Initial data shows that the reefs reduce wave action by 30% at certain water levels. More information about the project is available at

Terrestrial Biodiversity and Climate Change Collaborative

The Terrestrial Biodiversity and Climate Change Collaborative (TBC3) is a group of university, NGO and governmental researchers in the San Francisco Bay Area that conducts research, monitoring and outreach to enhance conservation and land management in the face of climate change. Current activities include: vegetation mapping and modeling, with field studies initiated at the Pepperwood Preserve (Sonoma Co.); mapping the distribution and frequency of fog coverage in the Bay Area; production and distribution of high resolution spatial coverages for historical and projected future climates; incorporation of climate change in strategic conservation planning; creation of a Bay Area BioAtlas, including contributions from citizen scientists through the iNaturalist project; production of decision-making tools and online GISresources providing access to climate and biodiversity information; and organization of workshops for resource and open space managers to address climate adaptation strategies for Bay Area conservation. TBC3 is coordinated by Lisa Micheli (Pepperwood Reserve) and David Ackerly (UC Berkeley).

Baylands Ecosystem Habitat Goals Report Technical Update

Our Coast-Our Future

The Technical Update aims to synthesize current scientific knowledge regarding climate change impacts on the Baylands and to develop recommendations for management actions to ameliorate those impacts. The San Francisco Baylands Ecosystem Habitat Goals report, produced in 1999, has been an inspiration for restoring and enhancing wetlands around the Bay's edge. Scientific guidance from the Goals report has contributed to the protection of 40,000 acres of Baylands, and has helped attract funding for acquisition, protection, and restoration projects. It is urgent that the impacts of climate change on the Bay's wetland ecosystems be incorporated into a technical update of the report.

The Technical Update will consider how climate change will influence the evolution of Baylands habitats, shoreline migration, the transition zone between Baylands and uplands, wildlife populations, carbon accounting, and the interface between the Baylands and the Bay. This scientific assessment of the projected impacts will provide an essential foundation for considering associated adaptation strategies. Scientific and managerial experts from across the region are developing the content of the update, similar to the process for the original Goals report, with oversight from a steering committee of environmental management and regulatory agencies and an independent science review panel.

Our Coast–Our Future: Planning for Sea Level Rise and Storm Hazards in the San Francisco Bay Area

Our Coast-Our Future

Climate change will increase sea levels, storm frequency and intensity, erosion, and flooding in many regions of the San Francisco Bay Area. To protect communities and ecosystems, managers and planners need locally relevant tools that help them understand vulnerabilities and plan for action. Our Coast—Our Future provides Bay Area natural resource managers, local governments and others with science-based decision-support tools to help understand, visualize, and anticipate local coastal climate change impacts.

SUNTANS-San Francisco Bay


This project, funded by the California Coastal Conservancy, is a collaborative effort between the Woods Institute at Stanford University and the University of California-Berkeley to develop a state-of-the-art three-dimensional hydrodynamic model for San Francisco Bay and apply it to characterize the effects of climate change on the Bay. SUNTANS is a public domain model that allows for flexible domain definition and resolution. The model domain extends 100 km into the Pacific Ocean in the west, includes all of South Bay and North Bay, and terminates at the confluence of the Sacramento and San Joaquin Rivers. Output from the model can be used to understand how future changes in shorelines, sea level, freshwater management and wind patterns will alter flow in San Francisco Bay with implications for the movement of sediment and plankton dynamics.

As part of the project, three prototype San Francisco Bay models are being developed: (1) A full bay model that has relatively uniform resolution throughout; (2) a "South Bay" model that covers the entire bay, but with higher resolution in South Bay; and (3) a "North Bay" model that also covers the entire bay, but with higher resolution in San Pablo and Suisun Bays.

CASCaDE: Computational Assessments of Scenarios of Change for the Delta Ecosystem

CASCaDE: Computational Assessments of Scenarios of Change for the Delta Ecosystem

CASCaDE is a model-based project developed by the USGS that is applying our scientific understanding to develop a holistic view of the Bay-Delta-River-Watershed system. CASCaDE I developed a set of linked models to assess Delta ecosystem response to climate change. CASCaDE II will refine and extend those modeling capabilities to assess Delta ecosystem response to changes in climate and physical configuration. With a new state-of-the-art hydrodynamic and sediment model at its core, CASCaDE II will link models ofclimate, hydrology, hydrodynamics, sediment, geomorphology, phytoplankton, bivalves, contaminants, marsh accretion, and fish.

The tools developed will provide an objective basis for anticipating and diagnosing Delta ecosystem responses to planned and unplanned changes. Experiments using the linked models are designed to address questions such as: How will climate change, together with new conveyance structures or increased flooded island habitat, alter water flow and drinking water quality? With projected changes in residence time, turbidity, temperature, and salinity, how will primary productivity, invasive bivalves, marsh processes, contaminant dynamics, and fish populations respond?

Determining Climate Change Indicators for the North-Central California Coast

Determining Climate Change Indicators for the North-Central California Coast

This project developed a monitoring inventory and an initial set of linked environmental and biological climate change indicators for the north-central California coast, extending from Bodega Head to Año Nuevo. A working group of the Gulf of the Farallones National Marine Sanctuary Advisory Council, with input from over 50 regional research scientists and resource managers, developed an indicators-based monitoring goal for the region and recommended objectives, strategies, and activities to meet this goal. This first-of-its-kind effort within the National Marine Sanctuary System also developed recommendations for the priority levels of the monitoring activities; compiled information about the best-available monitoring for each indicator; assessed knowledge gaps that improved indicator monitoring could fill; and provided case studies of potential management uses for each indicator.

Sea-Level Rise Modeling Across the California Salt Marsh Gradient for Resource Managers: Evaluation of Methodology

Sea-Level Rise Modeling Across the California Salt Marsh Gradient for Resource Managers: Evaluation of Methodology

This project, conducted by the USGS, uses bottom-up modeling at a parcel scale to measure the effects of sea-level rise on coastal ecosystems and tidal salt marshes. At selected tidal marshes within the California LCC, the project team will measure several parameters, including: 1) detailed elevation data; 2) inundation frequency and microclimate; 3) sediment supply; 4) plants and 5) vertebrates. These will be incorporated into ArcGIS models creating comparable datasets across the Pacific coast tidal gradient. The goal of this project is to provide science support tools for local adaptation planning from the bottom-up that may be implemented under a structured decision-making framework.

A Broad-Scale, Multi-Species Monitoring Protocol to Assess Wintering Shorebird Population Trends in Response to Future Land Use and Climate Change

A Broad-Scale, Multi-Species Monitoring Protocol to Assess Wintering Shorebird Population Trends in Response to Future Land Use and Climate Change

Shorebird populations in the Pacific Flyway have experienced recent declines due to environmental changes including habitat loss and degradation. The impacts of climate change will add even more pressures. Point Blue Conservation Science, along with partners, is developing a broad-scale monitoring program to detect trends and quantify habitat relationships for Pacific Flyway shorebird populations, the Pacific Flyway Shorebird Survey (PFSS). The PFSS has the primary goals of: (1) developing an efficient, sustainable yet statistically robust sampling design and monitoring protocol for the Pacific Flyway; (2) establishing a framework to capture, manage, analyze, and share these monitoring data; and (3) understanding critical associations between habitat management, habitat change, and spatial scale on the abundance of shorebirds. Our project will provide baseline data and ongoing evaluation of wintering shorebird trends and habitat use to update management recommendations and inform conservation actions in response to current and future land-use and climate-related changes.

The San Francisco Bay Area Conservation Commons

The San Francisco Bay Area Conservation Commons is an effort dedicated to making environmental information more accessible and useful for conservation of our region's natural resources. The goal of this project is to establish a common interface for finding, using, and communicating about San Francisco Bay Area environmental data. Services and shared data produced by this effort will support environmental conservation, research, and education. Recently the Commons effort received funding from the California Landscape Conservation Cooperative (CA-LCC) to build the Climate Adaptation Commons, a climate data sharing site that will serve the CA-LCC region.

Innovative Wetland Adaptation Techniques in Lower Corte Madera Watershed

This project is one of the first efforts along the San Francisco Bay shoreline examining how to reduce the vulnerability of tidal wetlands to sea level rise. Results from this project are expected to improve understanding of (1) the flood control and wave attenuation benefits of tidal wetlands, (2) the vulnerability of tidal wetlands to sea level rise, and (3) potential strategies that will improve the resiliency of tidal wetlands to sea level rise so that the flood control and wave attenuation benefits are maintained. The study, which is being managed by BCDC, is being performed along the Corte Madera shoreline in Marin County by researchers from the USGS, University of San Francisco and private consultants, in partnership with the Marin County Flood Control District.

How Do We Monitor the Ecological Consequences of Environmental Change? Developing an Environmental Change Network in the California LCC: Phase II

This project continues the effort to establish an Environmental Change Network (ECN) within the boundaries of the California Landscape Conservation Cooperative (LCC). An ECN is an integrated, multidisciplinary network of long-term environmental monitoring stations that gather information using standardized protocols. Users of this web portal can view predicted distributional changes in landbird, habitat, and climate under future climate conditions and find out general information on the progress and evolution of the network. The goal of the LCC ECN is to guide and prioritize conservation activities that benefit biodiversity while conserving ecosystems and ecosystem services.

San Francisco Bay Sea Level Rise: Climate Change Scenarios for Tidal Marsh Habitats

Baylands Ecosystem Habitat Goals Report

This on-line decision support tool for managers, planners, conservation practitioners, and scientists shows side-by-side maps of current and future tidal marsh and bird distribution for SF Bay. The models generating these maps are the first to take into account the ability of marshes to accrete, or keep up with, rising sea levels, for the entire San Francisco Bay Estuary. Developed as part of an assessment of future extent and quality of tidal marsh habitats, it allows users to select climate change scenarios, sediment supply assumptions, and data layers to make informed decisions about adaptation planning, restoration potential, and land acquisition.

A new project funded by the Landscape Conservation Collaborative of the US Fish and Wildlife Service ("Sustaining Healthy Ecosystems in the Face of Sea Level Rise") will allow improvements to this on-line tool to support the Baylands Ecosystem Habitat Goals Technical Update. The main goal of this project is to assure that the Technical Update uses the latest information about the current and future status of San Francisco Bay tidal marsh ecosystems, particularly in the context of sea-level rise. PRBO Conservation Science's work to describe the state of the Bay's tidal marsh habitats and their futures under the range of possible sea-level rise, sediment, salinity and organic materials scenarios has yielded many results of high relevance to the Goals Report.

Adapting to Rising Tides: Bay Area Communities Working Together

Adapting to Rising Tides

The bay is rising and this is projected to continue. In fact, today's flood is expected to be the future's high tide. Areas that currently flood every ten to twenty years during extreme weather and tides will begin to flood regularly. These areas are home to over 160,000 residents, critical infrastructure, diverse habitats, and valuable community resources.

Adapting to Rising Tides »