Sam Safran's picture

Sam Safran

Associate Environmental Scientist
Resilient Landscapes Program
(510) 746-7383

Sam joined SFEI's Resilient Landscapes program in 2012. His work focuses on understanding how ecosystems functioned in the past and how best to use this knowledge to inform present-day landscape-scale restoration and management. Along the way he relies heavily on geospatial analysis and landscape ecology. He also enjoys cartography and other forms of data visualization. Sam received his joint B.A. in Biology and Environmental Studies from Middlebury College in Vermont.

Related Projects, News, and Events

Delta Landscapes Project (Project)

The Delta Landscapes Project, which began in 2012 and will run through 2016, has developed a body of work to inform landscape-scale restoration of the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta ecosystem.

EcoAtlas (Project)

California's EcoAtlas provides access to information for effective wetland management. EcoAtlas is a set of tools for generating, assembling, storing, visualizing, sharing, and reporting environmental data and information. The tools can be used individually or together, and they can be adjusted or tuned to meet the specific needs of environmental planners, regulators, managers, scientists, and educators. The maps and tools can be used to create a complete picture of aquatic resources in the landscape by integrating stream and wetland maps, restoration information, and monitoring results with land use, transportation, and other information important to the state’s wetlands.

Operational Landscape Units for SF Bay: Using Nature's Jurisdictions to Plan for Sea Level Rise (Project)

In partnership with SPUR, The Operational Landscape Units project , funded by the SF Bay Regional Water Quality Control Board, will create a new way of looking at the Bay.

Understanding Change in Primary Production at a Landscape Scale in the Delta (Project)

Constraints on primary production and the relative importance of different production sources to the food web remain major uncertainties in the Delta ecosystem. Newly available spatial data developed as part of the Delta Historical Ecology and Delta Landscapes projects make it possible to explore the effects of landscape configuration and hydrodynamics on primary production in a way that was not previously possible. Proposed order-of-magnitude calculations estimating primary production can ‘bookend’ the potential magnitude of production in the Delta, and inform what is possible in terms of restoration and management options.

Science Support for Resilient By Design Competition (News)

The challenges of accelerating sea level rise and aging shoreline infrastructure are creating a once-in-a-century opportunity to redesign the Bay shore. Originally constructed with little regard for the Bay, the future shoreline can more successfully integrate the natural and built environments to make a healthier shore for both the Bay and local communities. New shoreline design approaches must incorporate the complex ecological and physical processes of our urbanized estuary while anticipating the future challenges of climate change and extreme weather.

Resilience Atlas (News)

The Resilience Atlas is an interactive mapping platform that visualizes the past, present and future conditions of the Bay’s edge and surrounding watersheds by combining layers of information, such as shoreline infrastructure, shoreline change over time, and sea level rise. 

A multi-partner project to create placed-based sea-level rise adaptation strategies (News)

As sea level rise accelerates in the San Francisco Bay, scientists, planners, and decision makers will need to re-envision and adapt our complex shoreline to provide ecological and social resilience. Although there are many efforts currently underway in the region to assess climate change vulnerabilities, the region lacks a coherent science-based framework for guiding and evaluating climate adaptation strategies appropriate to our diverse shoreline settings.

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Announcing SFEI's first binational study: The Tijuana River Valley Historical Ecology Investigation (News)

A new report shows how the Tijuana River Valley, which straddles the boundary between Southern California and northern Mexico, looked and functioned prior to the existence of the border wall, the city of Tijuana, and the state of California.

Tijuana River Valley Historical Ecology Investigation Published (News)

The Tijuana River Valley Historical Ecology Investigation—completed in January 2017—synthesized hundreds of historical maps, photographs, and texts to reconstruct the ecological, hydrological, and geomorphic conditions of the Tijuana River valley prior to major European-American landscape modification.

"A Delta Renewed" report released at the 2016 Bay-Delta Science Conference (News)

The San Francisco Estuary Institute (SFEI) released A Delta Renewed – A Guide to Science-Based Ecological Restoration in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta.

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Tijuana River Valley Historical Ecology Investigation (Project)

The Tijuana River Valley Historical Ecology Investigation synthesized hundreds of historical maps, photographs, and texts to reconstruct the the ecological, hydrological, and geomorphic conditions of the valley prior to major European-American landscape modification.

U.S. Coast Survey. San Diego Bay, California. 1857.
Courtesy of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

How to “ReWild” San Diego’s Mission Bay (News)

SFEI's Resilient Landscape Program recently completed a "reconnaissance" historical ecology study of San Diego's Mission Bay. This targeted project collected high-priority historical data (such as maps, photographs, and texts) that shed light on how Mission Bay and the surrounding region looked and functioned prior to major landscape modification during the 19th and 20th centuries.

Mission Bay Historical Ecology Reconnaissance Study (Project)

The Mission Bay Historical Ecology Reconnaissance Study, completed in February of 2016, collected and organized data on the historical conditions of Mission Bay in San Diego County. The project was carried out in support of San Diego Audubon Society's ReWild Mission Bay project, a three-year planning effort exploring options to restoring wetlands in the northeast corner of the estuary.

Lower Novato Creek Vision Just Released! (News)

SFEI recently released a resilient landscape vision for lower Novato Creek that incorporates habitat restoration actions into flood risk management. The vision, developed in coordination with a team of regional science experts, highlights opportunities for restoring and sustaining vital tidal wetland habitats around lower Novato Creek while supporting a high level of flood protection under rising San Francisco Bay water levels.

EcoAtlas: New Map Enhancements (News)

The latest release of EcoAtlas (v4.1) includes two new map enhancements:

EcoAtlas: New CARI Editor and Modern Delta Habitat Types (News)

An accurate basemap is fundamental to watershed planning and assessments. The California Aquatic Resources Inventory, or CARI, offers such a basemap for aquatic resource identification and classification. But to keep it current and enhance its details, SFEI-ASC must leverage local knowledge. The new CARI Editor promotes regional stewardship and allows users to submit updates, deletions or new features for streams and wetlands.