The San Francisco Estuary contains some of California’s most important ecosystems, providing human communities with invaluable benefits ranging from commercial and sport fishing, pollutant filtration, strengthened shorelines, and habitat for diverse species, including many endangered and endemic species. The people of the San Francisco Bay Area value these benefits and, in an attempt to recover large-scale historical losses, have invested in the restoration of vast acres of baylands to tidal marsh and other productive habitats. Bay Area voters passing the Measure AA parcel tax in 2016 exemplifies the strong community support for protecting and restoring the Bay’s wetland habitats.
As the largest tidal wetland restoration project on the West Coast, the South Bay Salt Pond Restoration Project plays a critical role in protecting and restoring the Estuary. When complete, the Project will have restored 15,100 acres of industrial salt ponds to a rich mosaic of tidal wetlands and other habitats.
As the Project moves into construction of its Phase 2 actions, the potential effects of climate change are a primary issue of concern, and there is a pressing need to understand how climate change may affect the ability to achieve the above Project Objectives.
This Climate Change Synthesis is intended as a first step to address this need and is guided by three main goals:
1. To provide context for adaptive management as the Project moves forward,
2. To identify the anticipated key impacts of climate change to Project Objectives, and
3. To offer potential strategies or actions that address climate change impacts and could be implemented in the coming Project phases.
Our approach in developing this report was to build on existing summaries of climate change information that have been synthesized for the San Francisco Bay region and the Project by conducting a targeted literature review focusing on climate change factors that could inhibit achieving Project Objectives. Climate change information was summarized as part of the Phase 1 Studies Summary, so we have focused on synthesizing recent information not already discussed in detail.
This Climate Change Synthesis will, along with a Science Synthesis, be used to inform the Phase 2 Science Framework for the Project. The Science Framework will guide the prioritization of management decisions, including future studies and monitoring for the Project. The Phase 2 science will ultimately provide the scientific foundation for the types of implementation considered for future phases of the Project.