Science Elements of the Wetlands Regional Monitoring Program for San Francisco Bay

Aquatic Science Center
WRMP logo

All nine San Francisco Bay counties

Measure AA Program Category:

Safe, Clean Water and Pollution Prevention Program; Vital Fish, Bird and Wildlife Habitat Program; Integrated Flood Protection Program; Shoreline Public Access Program.


US Environmental Protection Agency Region 9, San Francisco Estuary Partnership, San Francisco Estuary Institute, San Francisco Bay Regional Water Quality Control Board


2023 UPDATE: The project team has identified and put together a network of priority sites and baseline indicators that will inform wetland monitoring in their subsequent phase. The project team has also identified 3 near-term monitoring priorities which include a baylands change basemap, CRAM assessments, and elevation change monitoring in wetlands. The team has met with Restoration Authority staff to align the monitoring outcomes to Restoration Authority Performance Measures. In additions, the People and Wetlands workgroup up and running and will be adding to the list of indicators related to communities that the WRMP and the Restoration Authority can add to their metrics.


This grant funds the Aquatic Science Center (ASC) to implement two elements of the Wetlands Regional Monitoring Program (WRMP) for the San Francisco Bay—implementing the monitoring site network and aligning Authority performance measures with WRMP indicators— over approximately three years and including support of the WRMP Lead Scientist for these two elements.

The overall purpose of the WRMP is to improve the protection and restoration of tidal marsh ecosystems in the Bay by collecting monitoring data at a regional scale and translating it into the information needed by tidal marsh restoration planners, designers, funders, and regulators. This includes addressing priority management questions through WRMP data and providing clear guidance for permit-driven monitoring in order to answer those questions.

Authority funding will (a) establish the WRMP monitoring site network in support of Authority restoration and management goals; and (b) develop performance metrics for habitat restoration to add to the Authority’s existing set of performance metrics. ASC is a joint powers authority made up of the State Water Resources Control Board and the Bay Area Clean Water Agencies (which is a joint powers authority made up of municipalities and special districts that provide sanitary sewer services). ASC is staffed by the San Francisco Estuary Institute (SFEI), a nonprofit organization.

The San Francisco Bay needs regional monitoring to support adaptive management of tidal wetlands restoration projects. Data collected under the WRMP will furnish the restoration community with a regional view of the status and trends of the baylands ecosystem in the short and long-term. This is particularly important for baylands restoration in the face of sea level rise and other climate change stressors that threaten these important habitats. The WRMP will improve wetland restoration project success by establishing regional-scale monitoring that is consistent and comparable across projects. This will increase the impact, utility, and application of permit-driven monitoring to inform science-based decision-making. Investments in a region-wide monitoring program can lead to cost and permitting efficiencies over time. Coordinated regional monitoring can yield benefits to reduce project-specific monitoring, as well as furnish resources for successful restoration design considerations. The program will fully be in place with the addition of a Lead Scientist to the staff, supported by funding from the Authority. Once in place, the WRMP will be a robust, science-driven, collaborative regional monitoring program that includes mapping changes to tidal marsh ecosystems, a monitoring site network, an open data sharing platform, and a comprehensive science framework.