San Francisco Bay Living Shorelines: Nearshore Linkages

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The San Francisco Bay is a global destination known for its diverse habitat, mild climate, and recreational opportunities. A team of academic, government, and private scientists, managed by the State Coastal Conservancy, are exploring a multi-objective subtidal restoration and climate change adaptation pilot project known as “Living Shorelines.” Living Shorelines are pioneering habitat restoration techniques to help manage the shoreline, reduce coastal erosion, and maintain coastal processes while protecting, enhancing, and creating natural habitat for fish, aquatic plants, and wildlife.

ESA is examining various Living Shoreline reef structures for their scour potential, sedimentation rates, and impacts to water quality. Our combined knowledge of structures and proven experience in the field studying waves, currents, and sediment dynamics informed the ideal configurations and scales of reef and eelgrass beds for habitat enhancement in the bay. We helped develop design criteria and project monitoring plans to ensure accurate results and to develop specific guidelines for San Francisco Bay reefs designed to reduce marsh erosion. With the project constructed during mid-2012, we are conducting field monitoring and data analysis on the physical and geological processes being affected by the reefs.

ESA is at the forefront of Living Shoreline reef design, monitoring, and design guidelines. Our work in the San Francisco Bay will protect, enhance, and create natural habitat for a healthier, sustainable shoreline.

This project was among six recognized in 2015 by the Friends of the San Francisco Estuary with an Outstanding Environmental Project award. 

Specialized Services

  • Design specifications and construction bid packages
  • Development feasibility (constraints/opportunities, due diligence)
  • Geomorphic assessments
  • Habitat restoration and enhancement
  • Hydrologic and hydraulic modeling
  • Monitoring
  • Sediment transport studies
  • Water quality analyses