Effective Estuary Restoration Symposium

Effective Estuary Restoration Symposium held on March 12, 2024

Exploring the design, methods, and monitoring of estuary restoration along the U.S. West Coast in the context of a changing climate.

This one day virtual symposium brought together experts in the field of estuary restoration along the U.S. West Coast to explore effective estuary restoration topics.

This was the first of three annual symposiums that will explore a wide range of pressing topics in estuary restoration including:

  • Design considerations and restoration methods
  • Climate change and estuary restoration
  • Monitoring estuary restoration
  • Documenting estuary restoration

The symposiums are designed to support estuary restoration practitioners and will include opportunities to share techniques, ask questions, and build a community of practice.

The first Symposium washeld virtually March 12, 2024 from 10:00AM to 3:00PM Pacific Time


View Symposium Agenda: Effective Estuary Restoration Virtual Symposium Agenda

Speaker profiles

Evolution of Estuary Restoration along the U.S. West Coast

Dr. Josh Collins, has worked with the San Francisco Estuary Institute (SFEI) and Aquatic Science Center since 1992. At SFEI, Josh initiated continuing programs in wetland science, watershed science, landscape ecology, historical ecology, and regional Geographic Information Systems. Josh’s career highlights include creating the San Francisco Estuary Baylands Ecosystem Habitat Goals Project; helping initiate the California Tidal Marsh Ecosystem Recovery Plan; inventing the EcoAtlas Information System, Wetland Riparian Area Monitoring Plan, and Rapid Assessment Method for Wetlands and Riparian Areas; chairing successful efforts to formally define streams, wetlands, riparian areas for CA state Government; developing the watershed approach to natural resource protection and restoration under the California Wetlands and Riparian Area Protection Policy; and authoring the Watershed Management Principles for the CA Ocean Protection Council and CA Water Quality Monitoring Council.



Designing for Climate Resilience

Ms. Fountain is the Director of the Tidal Wetland Program at the Elkhorn Slough National Estuarine Research Reserve, located along the edge of Monterey Bay, CA. The Tidal Wetland Program brings science to coastal decision makers using a collaborative and interdisciplinary approach that has regularly engaged over 100 stakeholders since 2004. Over the last ten years the Program’s focus has included fundraising, designing, permitting, and implementing several large-scale restoration projects in Elkhorn Slough.





History of Estuary Restoration Monitoring in California

Dr. Eric Stein is a head of the Biology Department at the Southern California Coastal Water Research Project .  Dr. Stein oversees a variety of projects related to in-stream and coastal water quality, ecohydrology, bioassessment, hydromodification, watershed modeling, and assessment of wetlands and other aquatic resources.   His research focuses on effects of human activities on the condition of aquatic ecosystems, and on developing tools to better assess and manage those effects.  Dr. Stein has authored over 150 journal articles, 75 technical reports, several book chapters and participates on numerous technical workgroups and committees at the federal and state levels related to water quality and wetland assessment and management. Prior to joining SCCWRP in 2002, Dr. Stein spent six years as a Senior Project Manager with the Regulatory Branch of the Los Angeles District Corps of Engineers, and four years with a private consulting firm.



Monitoring for multi-species benefits – TBD The Columbia Estuary Ecosystem Restoration Program: two decades of continually evolving an adaptative management framework

Jason Karnezis, Estuary Lead, Bonneville Power Administration, Fish and Wildlife department.  I’ve worked in and around the Lower Columbia River and Estuary since 2002, and has been in curmy rent position since 2015, working closely with colleagues at the US Army Corps of Engineers and NOAA Fisheries to implement and refine an adaptive management framework designed to engage restoration practitioners, researchers, regulators, and policy makers.  My goal is to improve the availability and accuracy of the sciences and practices employed in this region that contribute to effective, ecosystem based restoration projects.  You can find me enduring the firewalls of his own agency to successfully navigate a variety of online meeting platforms all in the name of coordinating state, tribal, non-profit, and private entities across the often complex landscape of bringing a project from concept to as-built designs.  On the best days, I’m in the field with these folks visiting new potential opportunities and/or revisiting completed projects to capture and communicate lessons learned from each one.


Evaluating Performance Metrics

Scott Heppell is a Professor in the Department of Fisheries Wildlife, and Conservation Sciences at Oregon State University. His interests include the physiological ecology and conservation of fishes, particularly how physiology, behavior, and life history traits affect the interactions between fish populations, their respective fisheries, and the environment. Scott is Vice Chair of the Habitat Committee for the Pacific Fishery Management Fishery Council, served as the chair of the Science and Data Committee for the Pacific Marine and Estuarine Fish Habitat Partnership and was president of the Oregon Chapter of the American Fisheries Society. He teaches classes in Fishery Biology, Salmon Biology and Management, Fish Physiology, an undergraduate, non-majors course called Food from the Sea, which explores the social, cultural, biological, environmental, and economic aspects how seafood ends up on our plates, and an international resource conservation and management summer field course in the island country of Palau. Scott earned a B.S. in Biology from the University of Washington and received MS and PhD degrees from North Carolina State University.


Using monitoring to assess restoration functions and ecosystem services: an example from the Nisqually River Delta, WA

Isa Woo is a biologist with USGS Western Ecological Research Center with over 20 years of experience designing, developing, and implementing science-based wetland restoration assessments for Federal, Tribal, State, and local agencies. She has a MS from Univ of Wisconsin-Madison and BS from UC Berkeley and her research interests are applied and management-oriented and include topics such as: assessing restoration performance and benefits to wildlife, benthic invertebrate prey availability and bioenergetics of estuarine habitat types, carbon sequestration and soil carbon storage in restoring wetlands, juvenile salmonid invertebrate prey dynamics, ecosystem services, and food webs for native fishes and birds. Ms. Woo co-established an Invertebrate Ecology Laboratory at the San Francisco Bay Estuary Field station, which process invertebrates in terms of energy production for food web analyses. She partnered with US Fish and Wildlife Service and the Nisqually Indian Tribe to establish a restoration monitoring and applied science program at the Nisqually River Delta, WA and produced several publications to assess restoration benefits and bioenergetic potential for juvenile Chinook salmon. 



Hosted by the Pacific Marine & Estuarine Fish Habitat Partnership (PMEP) with generaous support from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service