Conversations About Landscape: Rebuilding a Living Shoreline in San Francisco Bay

Experiments with Oysters and Eelgrass

Thursday, May 29, 2014 • 6:00 p.m.

Exploratorium, Pier 15, Bay Observatory Gallery

Free; RSVP required*, email, or call 415.528.4444, and choose option 5.

All Ages

More than two million native Olympia oysters have settled at a constructed reef in the Bay near San Rafael, part of the California Coastal Conservancy’s San Francisco Bay Living Shorelines Project. This habitat restoration and climate change adaptation effort began in summer 2012 with the construction and monitoring of oyster reefs and planted eelgrass beds.

Today these reefs offer habitat for juvenile Dungeness crabs, bay shrimp, white sturgeon, and a diversity of other fish, birds, and wildlife. And initial data show that the reefs can reduce wave energy by 30 to 50%, suggesting that such reefs may help protect against the effects of sea level rise.

Join three key players in the Living Shorelines Project to learn about this collaborative effort, the first of its kind on the west coast. See how an oyster reef is built, and hear about the scientific and practical challenges of creating and monitoring shoreline habitats that can cope with a changing climate.

Marilyn Latta from the California Coastal Conservancy is project manager for the Living Shorelines Project, and has decades of experience in estuary habitat restoration. She’ll discuss the project’s goals and the collaborative participation of government agencies, nonprofits, and universities.

Katharyn Boyer is a coastal ecologist with San Francisco State University’s Romberg Tiburon Center, and the scientific lead on the Project. She’ll talk about how the oyster and eelgrass habitats were designed, and what we’ve learned from these restoration experiments.

Kevin Lunny, from Drakes Bay Oyster Company in Point Reyes, will describe how his oyster farm assisted by providing clean Pacific oyster shell, the best substrate for growing new oysters.


About the series

Conversations About Landscape brings together practitioners from the fields of geography, ecology, environmental arts and sciences, policy, and design to grapple with contemporary landscape questions. Speakers present their work and engage each other and the audience in conversation. The series is staged in the Exploratorium’s Bay Observatory Gallery, which explores environmental change in the Bay Area and beyond. An informal reception before each talk offers time to explore exhibits and engage with the speakers, Observatory staff, and other guests.

The series is funded by the Coastal Conservancy and the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation.

*There is no cost to attend the Conversations about Landscape program, but you must RSVP to reserve a seat. To RSVP, email, or call 415.528.4444, then select option 5.